As spinach is a healthy vegetable, some of us may be wondering whether it is the same for cats? In this article, we shall be answering all such questions in detail, including should you serve it raw or cooked, how much you should be giving, and whether it is even suitable for cats?
Although spinach is full of nutrients for humans, it may have some adverse effects on cats that you need to consider. You must know the answer Can Cats eat spinach?
Generally, anything leafy and green is considered healthy to eat. However, as cats are carnivores, leafy green vegetables are not what their digestive system prefers. Even though spinach is not a good or filling replacement for meats, it is beneficial. Hence, it can still be used as an ingredient in many cat foods.
Can Cats eat spinach?
There is no direct answer to this question. There are a lot of factors that contribute to spinach being healthy or harmful for cats. It depends on whether you serve it raw or cooked and also on the amount of spinach being given to the cats.
Is Spinach Good for Cats?
Spinach can be suitable for cats, as it contains many healthy nutrients. This is also why cat food manufacturers use recommended amounts of spinach in their products. Here are some of the reasons why spinach is considered suitable for cats in a moderate amount:
- Vitamins and Minerals
Spinach is considered healthy because of having high levels of vitamins such as Vitamin K, A, E, B2, and C. Spinach also has good nutritional value because it contains minerals such as calcium, folate, magnesium, potassium, and others.
Spinach contains a good amount of fiber in it. Spinach helps relieve health issues such as constipation and abdominal pain for cats, as it is rich in fiber. Although it will not help solve these issues completely, it still helps ease the digestion of food for smaller cats.
- Fewer Calories
One of the reasons spinach is considered healthy to eat is because it has very few calories. Hence, eating it more does not affect body weight. It is an excellent ingredient to add to your cat’s diet in a recommended amount if your pet has been gaining weight lately.
- Healthy Fats
Spinach contains healthy fats such as omega 3 fatty acids. Although the amount may not be as much compared to another omega 3 fatty acid-rich foods, it is still a good idea to serve spinach for a moderate intake of healthy fats.
Now that we have discussed all the advantages, let us look at all the frequently asked questions regarding spinach and cats:
Can cats eat raw spinach leaves?
Cats can eat raw spinach; however, its amount should be monitored. It should be given in smaller amounts and not regularly. Raw spinach packs the highest amount of nutrients; hence feeding your cats uncooked spinach will ensure that your cats get maximum benefits. However, raw spinach contains large amounts of oxalates, so it should not be given to cats with a history of kidney or urinary tract infections.
Is raw spinach safe for cats?
Yes, raw spinach is as safe as cooked spinach. However, as discussed above, it’s crucial to give raw spinach to your cats in moderation. Raw spinach contains high levels of oxalates, which can be a big problem. For cats who have had palate stones at some point in their life, eating raw spinach can prove to be very harmful.
Overeating raw spinach can also result in cats developing oxalate stones or kidney stones. Sometimes, pet owners do not even know what their pets suffer from. They may have an underlying disease that you are unaware of, and feeding them raw spinach will only increase the risk.
Hence, if your cats show the following symptoms, please stop feeding them raw spinach immediately and consult a vet. The symptoms include:
- Urinating at odd timings or having irregular urine flow.
- Showing signs of nausea.
- Regular vomiting.
- Loss of appetite for even favorite foods.
- Having fevers regularly.
- Spots of blood in their stool.
- Pain in the lower abdominal area.
- Having urinary tract infections frequently.
- Noticing weight loss which might be due to appetite loss.
- Lazy and inactive.
Can cats eat cooked spinach?
Yes, cats can eat cooked spinach. However, the risk of high levels of oxalates in it is still a concern. These oxalates can prove harmful and cause kidney stones or increase the chances. It has been proven through research that cooking does reduce the number of oxalates in it. Hence, feeding cooked spinach to your cats is a better option.
However, it should be noted that spinach is not cooked with excessive amounts of oil or spices, as this can cause an adverse reaction in your cat. Lightly cooking spinach in low salt is better. The best option is steaming it, requiring little to no oil. However, boiling spinach is not a good idea, as the nutrients get extracted into the water, and eating the boiled spinach does not have beneficial effects.
Adding small amounts of cooked spinach to your cat’s diet is recommended as it can help in digestion, provide good nutritional value, and is also pretty low in calories.
Can cats eat baby spinach?
Baby spinach is generally sweeter than regular spinach and looks like tiny leaves. Hence, your cat will love to nibble and chew on them. However, the same precautions have to be kept in mind. This includes giving them baby spinach in smaller amounts, as it still contains high levels of oxalates.
Why does my cat like spinach?
All cats love to nibble on grass or any fluttery green leaves. They are attracted to them because of their color and because they like to chew them out of boredom. Though cats are hardcore carnivores, they still love to eat leafy greens like grass, lettuce, spinach, etc., because it helps them in digesting other food.
After nibbling on them, they throw up indigestible food like bones, feathers, etc. It is a way of trying to maintain good digestive health. Chewing leafy greens also helps the cats in relieving stress. If your cat constantly keeps on nibbling spinach, then consult a doctor as your cat may be stressed.
How much spinach can a cat have?
How much spinach is healthy for the cat to eat is common. As discussed above, a cat should always be fed spinach moderately in precise and small portions to reduce the risk of any health hazards. Please be careful regarding portion size and never serve it in larger amounts.
If you are trying to incorporate it into your cat’s diet due to its nutrients, you must first incorporate it in smaller amounts. This will allow you to test whether your cat likes it or not. If you notice any changes in their health or behavior, like laziness, appetite loss, urinary infections, fevers, etc., stop feeding them spinach immediately.
Due to high levels of oxalates in spinach, it might be harmful to some cats. If your cat has problems related to the kidney or urinary tract, then never feed spinach to your cats. We recommend that you consult a doctor before adding anything new to your cat’s diet.
The cat’s digestive system and diet are quite the opposite of humans. It is essential to read and learn about it first before feeding any type of food to your cats. Although some foods may look healthy enough to be fed to your cats, such as spinach, there are many precautions that you have to take.
In conclusion, spinach is indeed a very healthy vegetable for your cats but in moderate quantities. Spinach is only beneficial for healthy cats in smaller amounts, but for cats who are sick regularly, you should consult a doctor first.
Hi, Dr. Louise Cosgrove from Queensland, Australia. A veterinarian for 10+ years. I and my husband Jason Gray running a veterinary business at eevs.com.au. decided to create a blog about cats. I wanted to create a – what you can call a cat-o-pedia for people who don’t have a veterinary partner and often need to rely on the internet for quick and useful information about cats.