I LOVE rice. I think I have not gone a week without it. Seriously! Yes, I’m Asian, to no surprise. I know how some people have stereotyped us into a certain kind of diet and even made fun of the fact that we are so fond of rice. We NEVER get tired of it.
But I’m not here to talk about my relationship with rice. I think we are all here today because we’d like to know one thing. This goes to all the cat-owners out there who are constantly worrying about what to feed their cats for the days to come. So the question is, “Can cats eat rice?”
Cats and Rice
Rice is very popular in many Asian countries. It is actually the most widely consumed staple food of the world’s population. The way I see it, the demand for rice is not going to decrease soon.
Besides, rice goes with literally everything! You can eat it with fish, pork, beef, chicken and vegetables. Just trying to remember what fried rice smells like makes me want to order some Chinese food right now. I could even share some to Fumble.
But wait a second. We’re in the middle of trying to figure out if rice is safe for our cat’s consumption. So I better hold on to that thought.
All I know is that cats are carnivores. That means your pet might bight your meaty finger off if you let him go hungry for too long! Just kidding. They may scratch here and there every once in a while but our cats are not monsters.
Being carnivorous simply mean that they need to observe an animal-based diet. We humans are omnivores since we live on both plant and animal-based diet. So, it is not safe to assume that whatever we eat (rice for example) is acceptable to our cats’ tummies.
There is a myth about the danger of rice. Some people said that rice is unsafe for birds. There is a belief that once ingested, the grains will expand inside their tummy which can result to some serious medical conditions. Some cat owners also believed that the possibility also holds true for their cats, the reason why they have always stayed away from rice.
But as I have told you in the very first place, this is simply a myth and none of these have been reported factual by any reliable source.
Can cats eat rice? – YES, BUT…
So now we go to the part where I answer your question. Can cats have rice?
It is important that we categorize our answers in to three parts. First is about whether or not cats can eat cat food with rice ingredients, second is about whether or not it is safe for them to eat cooked rice, and third is if they could eat uncooked rice.
Rice in Cat Food
Can cats eat cat food with rice? Yes they can. There is not toxin to be feared of, no substance that may trigger severe allergic reactions. BUT get this. (Yes, there is always a BUT) Rice is simply a filler.
That means it is only there to give you an illusion that you have had enough, when in fact, you are just full of nothing much. You might have seen a few brands of cat food that advertise rice as one of its ingredients. It may sound appetizing even to a human being like me.
However, rice is just plain carbohydrates and cats would not be drawn to that kind of stuff. Cats are more in love with protein, the reason why it is more advisable to feed them beef and chicken instead of grains. You see, rice does not come with an abundance of nutrition.
Furthermore, studies show that those cats that eat rice and at the same time supplemented by commercial cat food with taurine still suffers from taurine deficiency. It was found out that rice decreases the amount of taurine in cats and we should know how important that vitamin is for them.
Oh no! The explanation for this is that rice affects the metabolism of taurine because of its negative impact to fat and fiber content.
And do not get fooled with products that advertise brewer’s rice. These are simply the smaller grains filtered from whole grain rice which is considered a by-product of rice mills. It is cheaper but it is also of low-quality. So we must always check the labels of all the cat food we buy for our feline babies to protect them from eating something their body would not want.
Cooked rice would be fine for adult kitties who have been introduced to rice in an early age. If your cat is new to rice, make sure their tummies can tolerate the meal. Do a food trial to make sure his digestive system is able to process the food.
If you found that rice did not give them any stomach troubles, you could confidently give them cooked rice. You could mix it with milk and curd. You can even serve it with chicken or fish.
However, never leave a big bowl of rice lying around the table uncovered at night. I heard a story from a friend about how his cat got too much of it and the result was a complete mess!
Feeding your cat large quantities of rice would result to stomach troubles. Symptoms would include tummy aches and vomiting. And one last thing. You should not give your cat fried rice. Fried rice is greasy and it may contain spices and seasoning which his tummy may not be able to tolerate.
Is it just me or does anybody else think that feeding cats UNCOOKED rice is just a little weird? I mean, Kitty-Kat is not a pigeon. A cat would not be very excited to see a bowl of uncooked rice. This doesn’t sound appetizing at all, even to me.
Uncooked rice may even contain some “lectin” in them. These are natural pesticides which could be toxic to cats when fed in large quantities. Do not worry too much about them, though. This may be a possibility but it is very unlikely to happen.
Also, do not panic if your cat unintentionally eats uncooked rice. She should be fine as long as he didn’t eat a lot of it. Now I’m still wondering if intentionally feeding cats uncooked rice is a thing.
All I know is that feeding them large doses of uncooked rice will result to a few of digestive troubles.
- Stomach pain
So make sure it is prepared well (cooked), fed in small to moderate quantities, and served with a lot of meat. Your cat would surely enjoy it!
Benefits Cats Can Get From Eating Rice
Rice may not have an abundance of vitamins and minerals but it still offers our cats a lot of benefits.
- Rice contains a copious amount of carbohydrates. It will give them the energy to purr and meow. Carbs enable our cats to be active active all day.
- Rice also has fiber. Fiber aids digestion, making bowel movements easier for our cats. This means a few more trips in the litter box.
- Rice is also easy for cats to digest. But there is still a possibility of constipation if you eat too much of it.
- Some veterinarians would actually advise their patients to eat some rice in case of an upset stomach. Turns out, rice is a good aide for feline diarrhea and gastrointestinal problems. Rice is a good component of a bland diet which is what doctor would recommend for those who suffer from an upset stomach. You can boil the rice using chicken broth and add shreds of chicken for some protein and flavour.
Remember. You should stick to the food formulated specially for cats. Rice alone holds very little of the nutrition your cat needs.
The Harm in Eating Rice
The cat’s body is not wired to eat rice crops. That is already laid out in the table a while ago. Cats are obligate carnivores, so even though rice is not poisonous for them, it would not be able to sustain your cat.
Rice has a skewed caloric balance and lacking of important nutrients needed by your cat’s body. Your cats can eat rice every now and then but it should not be a lifestyle like what a huge population of Asians has made it to be. So even though I like rice very much, it would not be smart of me to give it to my cat every single time I have it.
As I have mentioned before, rice does not have Taurine which is badly needed by cats.
So what happens if cats are not provided with enough taurine because of an all-rice diet?
- One of the results of taurine deficiency is CRD or Central Retinal Degeneration. Taurine is an important nutrient for the function of the retina. Taurine deficiency might lead to visual impairment caused by the degeneration of retinal cells. Now you might be thinking how your cats would look like with nerdy glasses. But that is only a thing in the cartoon world.
- Taurine deficiency is also the cause of Enlarged Heart or Dilated Cardiomyopathy. It may be the first time you have heard about this but I swear I did not make this one up! This ailment is characterized by the weakening of heart muscles making it difficult for the organ to pump blood. This may eventually lead to heart failure. Poor kitty. However, this condition is pretty rare in the feline group of animals.
- An all rice diet will deprive your cat of taurine which is a component of bile salts. The result are a number of mild digestive disturbances.
- Taurine is important to the health of our cat’s teeth. Lack of it may cause tooth decay among felines.
- Taurine is most crucial to the health of pregnant cats. So if your pet cat is carrying cat babies, it is best to give him foods rich in protein because taurine is exclusively found in this kind of meal. Taurine is necessary for a normal pregnancy and healthy development of the baby.
- Feeding your cat rice alone will result to malnourishment among cats. I don’t know about you but I prefer my cats a little chubby. Even if your cats eat a lot of rice, he will remain deprived of the basic nutrients his body really needs. Rice can never replace what nutrients meat can give to our pets.
Yes, cats can eat rice. But as what has been repeatedly said, cats need a lot of protein so it is best if we keep them on an animal-based diet. An occasional rice treat or a snack just to fill a hunger spot is fine.
Rice offers a lot of benefits to cats. First, it is high in carbohydrates for more cat energy. Second, it also adds more fiber which helps the function of our cat’s digestive system. It is also very easy to digest. Rice is also good for cats going through stomach troubles.
However, because of its lack of taurine, rice is not enough to sustain the health of our cats. It is still best to feed them a lot of meaty goodness. Tip: If you are trying to prepare a meal with rice for your cat, remember this rule. One-half to two-thirds the serving should be made up of meat and the remaining part that of rice.
And that is it! I hope I have told you everything there is to know about your cat’s appetite for rice. That is one less question on the mind of a cat-parent. Thank you so much for reading the article from start to finish.
If you have anything you would like to share or say about the topic, do not hesitate to come by the comment section. If you know other cat-parents who are concerned of their cat’s diet, share the article with just a click. I wish your cat a long and healthy life!