Last week, my friend asked me if it’s okay to feed her cat some baked carrots. It seemed like she cooked way more than what she can eat that day, typical Jennifer. So I took the liberty to research on it and help out a fellow cat-owner.
It seems like carrots are more of a bunny thing. Have you ever seen a show of cats munching on those orange vegetables? I bet that you haven’t. Animated shows, movies and story books have made us believe that carrots are only for a rabbit’s consumption. This notion has reached a point that humans actually find it weird to see or even think of other animals eating the vegetable.
So today we’re going to address the question, “Can Cats Eat Carrots?”
Cats and Carrots
When we were young we were taught that cows gnaw grass, cats eat fish, and chickens peck on grains. But the most popular animal and food stereotype is that of rabbit and carrots. So why are we asking ourselves if cats can eat carrots?
This is because a lot of cats love carrots, too! In fact, the association of carrots to rabbits is one of the most famous diet myths. But I don’t want stay on that topic for long. We’re all here to know more about carrots and cats, am I right?
So let’s go straight to that.
Carrots are just so delicious! If you are a carrot fan like Jennifer, you would also want your cat to experience the sweet and fruity taste of it. And don’t get me started on how cute baby carrots are. The bright orange color of the vegetable surely makes a dish more appetizing just by the sight of it. So it looks good and tastes great. What more can we ask? Well, carrots do not only stop there. It is also a vegetable superstar when it comes to nutrition.
Carrots are rich in beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant and also the reason why it has their orange color. (Trivia: There are carrot varieties in the color purple, red, yellow white and even black!) When beta-carotene is absorbed, the digestive system is able to turn it into Vitamin A which is good for cats. As a matter of fact, carrot has the highest levels of Vitamin A among all the other vegetables. I mean, wow! Aside from this, carrots also contain Vitamin K and Vitamin E. It also has fiber, potassium, folate, manganese, phosphorous, magnesium and zinc.
Cats could really use all these nutrients in his body. But then again, carrots do not have the most important thing cats need in order to live their nine lives. Do you know what it is?
Yes, you guessed it right.
Carrots do not have protein in them.
Cats are obligate carnivores. This means that it is their biological necessity to feed on meat and live under a strict animal-based diet. Carrot is a vegetable (obviously) meaning it would not be able to provide the nutrients animal flesh can give to our pet cats. We cannot use carrots as a substitute to their main diet.
Even so, can we still feed our cats some Daucus carota subsp. Sativus or what is commonly known as, carrots?
Can Cats Eat Carrots?
Yes, cats can eat carrots!
I have to tell Jennifer about his answer.
Carrots can be fed to cats without the risk of being poisoned. It is also not likely to result to allergic reactions that you fear whenever you introduce your cat to new stuff. Aside from this, carrots are not very addictive like tuna. If your concern is for your cat to become a carrot-obsessive pet, rest assured that this is not going to happen. Cats can eat carrots without resulting to any serious health issues.
But don’t go building a carrot garden for your cat.
As I have said, cats can safely eat carrots and they would most probably find it delightful. However, it is not ideal to feed your cats a lot of carrots in a regular basis. If you’re thinking of skipping on the meat for some carrot-y meal, think again.
Remember, what your cat really needs is a lot of protein. And as to what I have mentioned before, carrots are not a source of this stuff. You can give your cats some high-quality beef with carrots on the side, though. If you want to, you can give it to your kitty as a treat or an occasional snack. Surely, he would appreciate that.
How to Feed Carrots the Safe Way
Now that we know that cats can eat carrots, let us discuss how we can prepare the vegetable so our cats can consume them safely.
There are a lot of creative ways to serve carrots in our food. As humans, we appreciate presentation in the dishes. It is always fun for our eyes to see our carrots cut or sliced in different shapes and sizes.
Cats, on the other, hand may not be thinking about that. I’m not very sure though. My cat has spent all his life with me and I could never completely understand what goes on in that furry little head of his. What I am certain for is that food must be prepared in a way that it would be safe for your cat’s consumption. I mean, they do not really have the hands to slice the vegetable themselves. Oh those tiny little furry paws!
- My number 1 tip is, always served the carrots cooked. It could be baked, steamed or boiled but it is safer than feeding your cats raw carrots. Do you want to know why?
- Well first of all, raw carrots can pose some very serious choking hazard. Carrots are hard vegetables when uncooked and although your cats may have strong teeth, he may not be able to properly ingest a mouthful of carrots.
- Second, raw carrots are hard to digest. Feeding your cats a lot of uncooked carrots may cause some tummy problems.
- Number two. Always slice your cat’s carrots into tiny pieces. The reason for this is the same as the ones mentioned above.
- Number three. There actually exists canned cat food which contains carrots in their formula. This kind of food is specially made for your cats so you would not have to worry about nutrient deficiency. If you happen to see one at the store, grab one and see if your cat likes it!
- Number four. Never feed your cats carrots and just carrots. Cats need high-quality protein in order to be healthy. If you continue giving him food which does not have protein, your cats will be deprived of the nutrition that is necessary to be a healthy kitty.
There is no fancy recipe to follow here. Our priority when preparing our cat’s food is always the safety of their consumption. It may be baked, steamed or boiled. Either way, keep in mind the frequency of feeding your cats with certain food. As for carrots, they should not be part of their everyday diet and certainly not something that should be fed to kitties alone in the long run.
The Benefits of Eating Carrots
If you want to replace the high calorie food variations you usually feed your cats with some vegetables and fruits that you enjoy yourself, you can certainly feed him some carrots.
Although fat cats are cute, it is unsafe for them to be obese. This is why we should always mix up some of their food with healthy goodness.
- Carrots are a good substitute to your cat’s caloric snacks. It would help them keep their weight compared to when they are continuously fed with bad fatty foods. So instead of feeding them food which contains a lot of extra carbohydrates, think about your vegetable options. Your cat will surely know how much you truly care for him!
- Carrots also contain a lot of Vitamin A which is derived from beta-carotene. Vitamin A improves eyesight for both human beings and cats. Cats can see in the dark and vitamin A will be able to improve this asset of theirs.
Other than that, carrots do not offer other nutrients essential for the overall well-being of cats. So it is always better to use supplements if your cat does not get enough in their main diet.
The Harm in Eating Carrots
Carrots are not bad for cats. But it is not that good for them, either. It’s true, carrots got a lot of good stuff, one of which is beta-carotene. But here’s the idea about cats and Vitamin A from beta-carotene.
Cats are not able to process the abundance of beta-carotene in carrots. Unlike humans, they have a different metabolism which does not allow them to absorb the beta-carotene and process them into Vitamin A. This is why we should always remember that not all edible food for humans are good for our pet kitties.
If you continue feeding them carrots hoping that they would get all the Vitamin A they need while skipping on the cat supplements, your cat will face some serious health issues. And that would be Vitamin A deficiency.
Effects of Vitamin A deficiency include:
- The lack of Vitamin A can cause night-blindness. This condition will make our cats see less clearly. Thay would have impaired vision during the night and the inability to see in the dark.
- Aside from this, the deficiency of Vitamin A will cause muscle deterioration and weakness. You would notice your cats being less active during play time looking all sad and lazy. Do not disregard this symptom. You would know if he’s in a bad mood or in a bad state of health.
- Vitamin A is an essential nutrient for cats. It is responsible for making their coats shiny and their skin healthy. Vitamin A deficiency would make your cats less cuter than they are when they’re well-nourished.
- This vitamin is very important especially for pregnant kitties and their babies. It is essential for healthy pregnancy.
Aside from Vitamin A deficiency, some people are also concerned with the opposite of it. There is a belief that too much carrots for cats will result to Vitamin A toxicity. Too much is always bad. Symptoms of this condition include lethargy, appetite and weight loss, constipation, rough hair coat, bad posture and skin allergy. However, this is not very likely and will only be possible if you feed your cats large amounts of carrots in a very long period of time. They are more likely to get a Vitamin A deficiency than a Vitamin A toxicity.
Bottomline: Cats and carrots
Can cats eat carrots? Yes they can. But only in moderate amounts and not too frequently. Aside from that, carrots should not be fed to cats alone. Remember, cats are meat-loving animals. This is what their body needs. Carrots are vegetables and they would not be able to provide our pet kitties with the protein he deserves.
I hope you listen to my advice. If not, your cat may suffer Vitamin A deficiency and we do not want that to happen. If we follow these little rules, our cats will be just fine with eating carrot snacks.
Speaking of which, carrots can be served raw or cooked. But as what I have said earlier, it is better to give your pet something cooked and chopped. This will prevent the possibility of chocking and indigestion. If you want an alternative carrot delight, there is always an availability of cat food with carrot bits in it.
And that is it!
I guess that’s everything you need to know about your cat’s appetite for carrots. I hope you found this article informative. I love helping out my fellow cat parents. If you have any questions or just about anything you wanted to say, you can always post some comments below and interact with our fellow cat-lovers. If you have a friend like Jennifer who could use this information, don’t hesitate to click share. It’s free! Bye!