Cats are curious beings. They are often attracted to foods that are not beneficial for them. The owner’s job is to ensure the cat only eats safe and healthy fruits and vegetables. With so much information out there, it can be daunting. But don’t worry; we are here to help you out.

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about parsnips and whether can cats eat parsnips or not. We will also highlight the differences between regular and poisonous parsnips.

Can Cats Eat Parsnips? What Happens If A Cat Eats Parsnips?

Can Cats Eat Parsnips?

There are two kinds of parsnips: regular parsnips and poisonous parsnips. Cats can consume a small amount of regular parsnip in cooked and uncooked forms. However, they can not eat poisonous parsnips or cowbane as they are highly toxic and can be fatal for your cat. It can result in symptoms like abdominal pain, seizures, tremors, and diarrhea. 

Are Parsnips Toxic To Cats?

Certain kinds of parsnips are toxic to cats. The cowbane or water hemlock, also known as the poison parsnip plant, can be quite dangerous for cats. It contains certain toxic substances like cicutoxin that can result in cardiac dysfunction, diarrhea, fear, and tremors in your cat. 

How Do I Differentiate Parsnips From Poisonous Parsnips?

Poison parsnips are usually 2.5 m tall and are perennial herbaceous plants. They usually grow in temperate regions of Europe and North America and are rarely found in the rest of the world. They can often be mistaken for common parsnips. Moreover, they share similarities with other plants in the Apiaceae family. They are also often confused with other edible and poisonous plants. 

Some familiar names of the poisonous plant include spotted cowbane, spotted water hemlock, spotted parsley, and water hemlock. The scientific name is Cicuta Maculata. So as soon as you see your cat anywhere near this plant, pull them out. 

Why Do You Need To Look Out For Poisonous Parsnips?

Poisonous parsnips do not have an unpleasant taste or smell, unlike many other toxic plants, making them more attractive to cats. This is why it is common for cats to eat poisonous parsnips in large amounts.  

What Happens If A Cat Eats Parsnips?

Cats are drawn to both regular and poisonous parsnips. In case they are found eating any of the two types without supervision, you should immediately consult a vet. Waiting for stronger symptoms to appear can decrease your cat’s chances of survival. 

Poisonous parsnips contain cicutoxin that can result in diarrhea, tremors, bloating, and dilated pupils. Moreover, it can also result in severe abdominal pain and fever in cats. Sometimes the cats also experience seizures which are hard to control. If left untreated, the symptoms can get out of hand. Your cat may also experience respiratory depression within 15 minutes and die. 

Some Common Symptoms To Look Out For:

  • Seizures
  • Abdominal pain
  • Respiratory problems
  • Diarrhea
  • Tremors
  • Dilated pupils
  • Bloating
  • Fever
  • Respiratory depression
  • Death (if left untreated)

When Do Symptoms Kick-In?

With most cats, symptoms can appear after 5 minutes of parsnip consumption. As time passes, the symptoms worsen and get more severe. However, certain breeds of cats are more resilient and don’t exhibit any symptoms for up to an hour. 

But regardless of the situation, if you want to avoid your cat experiencing severe trauma or death, take it to the vet at the first sign of any distress. 

Can Cats Eat Cooked Parsnip?

Cats are more drawn to cooked parsnips than the uncooked parsnip plant. However, overeating either of these is unhealthy. Since cats, like humans, cannot break down hard plant cell walls, they find uncooked food hard to digest. Therefore, it is recommended that you slice the parsnips and cook or steam them. 

Alternatives To Cooked Parsnips

If you want your cat to consume healthy vegetables, here are some amazing alternatives to cooked parsnips. These vegetables will add much nutritious value to your cat’s diet.

  • Chopped carrots are rich in beta-carotene and contain high amounts of vitamin E and K. Moreover, they are rich in folate, fiber, and magnesium. 
  • Broccoli- is packed with many antioxidants that help reduce the number of free radicals in the body. It also helps regulate the bowel movement of your cat.
  • Green beans-they make for great treats for cats. They are also very rich in fiber and vitamins.
  • Spinach- is low in calories but has a high fiber content. Moreover, it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Peas-they are great for your cat’s eyes, nerves, skin, bones, and muscles. They are also full of manganese, iron, and potassium.

FAQs

Do Cats Like Parsnips?

It is different for each breed and cat; some owners were shocked to find out how much their cats liked parsnips, whereas others complained that their cats hated it. Parsnips are generally hard to chew, and cats are not too fond of them. However, the poisonous parsnip doesn’t come with a foul smell or taste. Hence there is a huge possibility of cats liking them too.  

Are Parsnips Good To Cats?

Parsnips are rich in vitamin C and contain a good amount of potassium. This helps regulate and improve your cat’s heart function. Moreover, parsnips also balance the blood pressure of your cats. Cats are only advised to take a minimal amount of the regular parsnip. As an owner, you can get all these nutritional benefits from other safer options like carrots and beans. 

Are Parsnips Safe To Cats?

Like all other vegetables in this category of plants, ensure your cat does not consume a lot of the normal parsnip. Feed your cat only a tiny amount of vegetables like parsnips, carrots, peas, and Brussels sprouts. Moreover, remember not to add any seasoning or butter to the parsnips. This can add taste to the vegetable and make your pet consume more of it. 

Are Parsnips Bad To Cats?

Whether parsnips are bad for cats depends on the type of parsnip you are consuming. Regular parsnip can be consumed in tiny amounts in both cooked and raw forms. However, the poison parsnip plant, also known as cowbane, is highly toxic. It can cause tremors, seizures, and severe abdominal pain in cats. So make sure your cats are nowhere near poisonous parsnips. 

Conclusion

  • Some cats like regular parsnips, but most don’t.
  • Cats can consume regular parsnips but cannot consume poisonous parsnips.
  • Cats can consume alternatives to parsnips like carrots, beans, and sprouts. 
  • If your cat consumes poisonous parsnips, take them to a vet immediately.

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