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Can Cats Eat Cucumber? Vet-Reviewed Nutrition and Safety

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on April 26, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Can Cats Eat cucumber

Can Cats Eat Cucumber? Vet-Reviewed Nutrition and Safety


Dr. Maja Platisa Photo


Dr. Maja Platisa

DVM MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Some of our cats love to keep a close eye on our kitchen activities; after all, who knows when you might drop a tasty morsel on the floor for them to investigate? What if you’re chopping a cucumber and drop a piece and your cat gobbles it up?

Before we get into the details, cucumber is safe for cats to eat in limited quantities. So, there’s no need to worry if your cat eats a piece of this green vegetable.

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What’s Good About Cucumbers and Does It Apply to Cats?

Cat eating cucumber_shutterstock_tugol
Image Credit: tugol, Shutterstock

Cucumber has a very high water content of around 95%. It also contains potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium, all of which are important nutrients for general health and well-being. Cucumber also contains the trace mineral molybdenum, but there is limited research about the safety and effects of this compound in cats, and some do warn that it may be toxic in large amounts, with cattle being mostly affected.1 It is not added to pet food, but it may find its way there through animal and plant sources in very minimal amounts.2

Cucumber contains Vitamin K, which can help healthy liver function and blood clotting. It also contains beta-carotene within the green skin, but if you peel the cucumber before feeding, the level of beta-carotene will drop significantly. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that may help protect against inflammatory disease and oxidative damage from free radicals. However, cats cannot convert beta carotene to vitamin A.3

When it comes to us humans, regularly adding cucumbers to our diets has been claimed to help reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer and potentially reduce cardiovascular disease. This vegetable is very low in calories, containing only 15 kcal per 100-gram serving. That means if you’re struggling to find a low-calorie treat for your overweight cat, small pieces of chopped up cucumber could be a good idea as the occasional treat. As long as they like it, of course!

All of the presumed health effects of cucumber and its ingredients have been studied in people and are often automatically extrapolated for felines, but without scientific backing or actual evidence based research. There are no available studies at the moment to confirm or dispute these benefits in cats, and more importantly, the small amount of cucumber a cat may eat is not enough for them to reap any significant benefits.

What’s Bad About Feeding Your Cat Cucumber?

Cats are obligate carnivores, so they really don’t need any vegetables in their diet in order to thrive. Never substitute a meat-based meal for cucumber, as it’s unlikely your cat will get the correct balance of nutrients.

The high water content of cucumbers also means that feeding too much of it to your cat regularly could result in your cat suffering from diarrhea.

What’s the Best Way to Feed Your Cat Cucumber?

Now that you know that cucumber is safe for your cat, what’s the best way to treat them to some?

Firstly, cucumber should only ever be fed as a very occasional treat. Even if your cat seems to love the taste, it’s not an essential part of their diet, so keep the amount you feed them to a minimum. Speak to your vet before offering your cat any new food or treats, especially if they are on ongoing medication or have a particular health condition, as not all food will be appropriate for them.

Cucumbers in Colander
Image Credit By: Pexels, pixabay

Feeding one or two thin slices of cucumber to your cat once a week should be more than enough. It’s a good idea to wash or peel the cucumber to reduce the chance of your cat ingesting any chemicals like pesticides that may have been used. The skin of cucumbers can also be harder for your cat to digest than the soft insides, and together with seeds may be a choking hazard.

Fresh or lightly steamed cucumber is the only type you should ever feed your cat. Pickled cucumber isn’t recommended!

Do Cats Hate Cucumbers?

If you love cat videos as much as we do, you’ve probably seen those clips showing cats leaping in the air when they spot a whole cucumber that has been placed next to them without them noticing. While this can look pretty funny at first glance, it doesn’t indicate any deep-seated fear or hatred of cucumbers themselves.

Cat behaviorists think that the jumping reaction is most likely to be your cat’s self-preservation instincts kicking in. If your cat isn’t expecting to see something suddenly appear so close to them, they may simply be terrified. A cucumber can look a little like a snake to a cat, but this theory isn’t too convincing, as cats don’t have a natural fear of snakes and may even hunt them. However, all cats have different personalities, and some may be more fearful than others, especially of unfamiliar objects that they haven’t seen being placed next to them, so they may jump away.

This self-preservation or “flight mode” will also release a dose of adrenaline into your cat’s system, and they will likely feel stressed and unsettled afterward. Putting your cat through all that stress is not worth it just to get a few likes on social media!

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Wrapping Up

Cucumbers don’t smell strongly attractive to cats, so they’re unlikely to seek this out as a treat themselves. If you drop some chopped pieces on the floor, a curious cat may come over to investigate them. Offering your cat a very small piece of peeled cucumber may be the best way to see whether or not your cat is interested in accepting your offering of a different type of treat.

The high water content of cucumbers may help keep your cat hydrated, but on the flip side, too much cucumber could cause diarrhea. Cucumbers do contain some beneficial nutrients like potassium and Vitamin K, but nothing in any significant amounts your cat will benefit from, as they get it all from their regular cat food.

Cucumbers are safe for cats to eat in small quantities, but remember that your cat may not actually get much nutritional benefit from it and that their digestive systems are designed to process the nutrients from a meat-based diet.

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