Carrots are a very popular root vegetable and are a staple of many dishes raw, cooked and baked. Most carrots are orange, though they do come in other colors including purple, white and yellow. When you are snacking on carrots or including them in something you are cooking can you share any of them with your cat or kitten?
Yes! Carrots are perfectly safe for cats to eat. Hyunmin Kim, DVM, veterinary staff manager with the ASPCA Community Medicine unit explains that “Carrots are a great source of vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A, which is an essential vitamin for cats.” Essential vitamin, as the name implies, means that it is an important part of a cat’s diet in order for her to be at optimal health. In addition, carrots are a great source of fiber for cats, and are suggested as a healthy and safe snack for cats. However, as with any other snack, carrots should only be given to cats in moderation.
Although carrots themselves can be healthy for cats to eat, Dr. Kim advises that it’s best to avoid giving cats raw carrots. Specifically, raw carrots are a concern for cats because they are hard and rigid, and can be a choking hazard. If, like me, you have a cat who is curious about food prep, you’ll want to keep your cat out of carrots you might be prepping and wait to share until they are cooked.
“Cooked carrots are the safest way to give to cats,” Dr. Kim advises. Just make sure to avoid using seasoning on the carrots you cook for your cat because those could be toxic or upset their digestive system. Dr. Kim also recommends that carrots in baked goods can be a very safe way to give carrots to your cat as a snack. Again, just check that all other ingredients in any recipe are cat safe. You’ll also want to ensure that all cooked or baked carrots you give to your cat are cut into small enough pieces that your cat is able to chew so as not to create a choking hazard.
Because of the risk of choking Dr. Kim recommends avoiding giving whole carrots cooked or uncooked to your cat. Carrots being fed to cats should be cut into small pieces to make eating easier for your cat, and to reduce the chance that a carrot will cause your cat to choke.
If you are thinking about adding carrots to your cat’s diet, do so in small amounts. Like with any snack food, carrots should only be fed to your cat in moderation. Dr. Kim explains that “Carrots contain carbohydrates and almost half of the total carbohydrates are from sugar. The sugar in carrots does not have a big impact on blood sugar, but cats being obligate carnivores do not require carbohydrates.” Because they are obligate carnivores to be healthy cats don’t need many fruits and/or vegetables in their diet, but many cats like carrots, and carrots are safe for cats to consume in small amounts. Cats eating carrots generally have any negative side effects, beyond the aforementioned choking risks with whole or uncooked carrots.
Do your cats enjoy carrots?
Sassafras Lowrey is a celebrated author and cat lover who has written for pet lifestyle magazines for over a decade. Sassafras lives and writes in Portland, Oregon, with two 19-year-old cats who rule the house, and a five-year-old cat that she rescued as a kitten from the streets of New York City. Learn more at SassafrasLowrey.com.