It is an unlikely scenario that you would want to feed your cat broccoli or that your pet would come over and sniff the dinner plate with broccoli present, but for those wanting to know if cats can eat this rather delicious green vegetable, the answer is yes, they can.
In fact, broccoli is entirely safe for cats to eat. It is non-toxic to felines and does not appear on the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ toxic plant list or list of human foods unsafe for pets.
Cats and Broccoli — Any Feline Health Benefits?
Broccoli is packed with antioxidants and can help ward off free radicals in the body. Some studies even suggest that broccoli in the diet can assist in the prevention of several disease processes.
In 1997, a research study carried out at the Johns Hopkins University in the U.S. found that broccoli sprouts have 10 to 100 times the amount of antioxidant and disease-prevention value as the head of broccoli. So, for an extra free-radical fighting punch, you give a broccoli sprout to your cat.
Treats containing broccoli that you might want to offer your cat are Sassy Cat treats. A rabbit and duck-flavored treat with broccoli and cranberry additives is available. The meat balanced against the vegetables and fruit makes it a very healthy choice. It’s grain- and filler-free with no artificial preservatives.
Cats and Broccoli — Any Precautions?
While your cat may benefit from eating broccoli occasionally, you should still exercise caution the first time your cat eats the vegetable. As with any human food you decide to give your pet, it is best to feed them a small amount, especially the first time they try it.
While no toxic elements are present in broccoli (from a cat’s perspective), there are still no guarantees that your cat’s stomach will respond to the new food without complication. Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable, and it is known to produce excessive gas, even in omnivorous creatures like us.
Your cat may have problems processing some of the chemical compounds found in vegetables like broccoli (cats are obligate carnivores, after all). If they are fed too much broccoli, they may get an upset stomach since it’s a new food that they are just not used to.
You should watch for any concerning signs afterward when you feed your cat new food. If vomiting or diarrhea occurs or they seem weak and under the weather, contact your vet.
The Best Way to Serve Broccoli to Cats
The best way to serve broccoli to your cat is to boil it first (wait for it to cool afterward). Raw broccoli (like other raw food diet options) has more of a chance of leading to stomach pains after consumption because it is harder for a cat’s digestive system to break it down.
If the broccoli has come from your dinner plate, ensure that it isn’t coated in oil, salt, or butter. The ingredients that we enjoy in our vegetables are just plain bad for cats. If your broccoli was seasoned with garlic or onion, please take the necessary precautions to ensure your kitty cannot get to it.
Broccoli is safe for cats to eat. It is non-toxic and contains adequate dietary health benefits to make its introduction worthwhile. A little boiled broccoli for your cat occasionally can be a healthy treat. However, do not feed them too much the first time, and be sure to watch for any adverse effects.
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock, Tertyshnyk Oksana