Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning their digestive system is designed to digest meat, bones, and other animal body parts. Pumpkin pie is not on this list, and while cats can eat pumpkin or plain canned pumpkin, pumpkin pie is bad for them at best and can be a danger at worst. Cats should not eat pumpkin pie.
If your cat eats a small amount of pumpkin pie, it’s probably unlikely to cause any problems, but it’s always better to be cautious and avoid serving it to your cat when there are much better treats available.
Why Can’t Cats Eat Pumpkin Pie? What’s in It?
While it might sound healthy, pumpkin pie is often made with sweet pastry and canned pumpkin pie filling, which contains spices. The amount of sugar and salt in pumpkin pie is bad enough; salt and sugar can cause high blood pressure, obesity, and tooth decay. But canned pumpkin pie filling can contain spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, which are harmful to cats. They can cause stomach problems or more serious conditions.
Nutmeg contains myristicin, and allspice contains eugenol. In small amounts, these substances can cause stomach upset. However, in large amounts, they can cause:
- Increased heart rate
- High blood pressure
- Tremors (shaking)
- Seizures and either even
- Liver damage
Is Any Type of Pumpkin Good for Cats?
A small amount of pumpkin isn’t bad for cats. It has health benefits. Giving your cat plain canned pumpkin that is unprocessed with no additives can aid digestion as it’s full of fiber and water. Pumpkin can often be used to help treat diarrhea in cats and dogs and also contains minerals and vitamins such as vitamins C and K, as well as potassium and phosphorus.
However, as cats’ digestive systems aren’t equipped to deal with plant material and can’t digest it effectively, there are better sources of minerals and vitamins that are more bioavailable for your cat.
What Can a Cat Eat for a Treat?
Cats can enjoy some human foods, but they should still be given in moderation. The best, most healthy treats for cats are:
Meat such as beef, turkey, and chicken, as well as small amounts of deli meats, are okay as treats. Meats are good sources of protein; make sure the meat you give is fresh, and don’t give your cat anything you wouldn’t eat. Meat that’s gone bad or improperly stored can make your cat sick with food poisoning (the same as people). We wouldn’t recommend raw meat treats for this reason.
Cooked fish is also a good treat but should be deboned, as bones present a choking hazard. Canned fish like tuna is also good, and they both offer a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for the brain, heart, and eyes. However, ensure that any fish given is cooked, and don’t give your cat sushi or sashimi since food poisoning is still a concern.
Eggs are also a great source of protein for cats, and they often enjoy them when cooked as a treat. However, be mindful that some cats may have an egg allergy; consult your vet if you give your cat eggs and are concerned.
What About Fruit and Vegetables?
Cats can eat some fruit and vegetables, but they’re likely not interested in them. As cats are obligate carnivores, they are less likely to be interested in plant proteins like fruit and vegetables. This is particularly true for fruit, as cats don’t taste sweet flavors like humans. Cats typically dislike citrus fruits such as lemons and oranges.
What Food Shouldn’t Cats Have?
Some foods are toxic to cats and can cause more than an upset stomach.
Don’t give your cat any milk. While there is a famous saying: “The cat that got the cream,” cats can’t digest dairy well, and it may give them an upset stomach.
Pumpkin pie is a festive treat that many people enjoy, but unfortunately for your cat, it shouldn’t be given access to the sweet pastry. Pumpkin pie often contains spices such as cinnamon and allspice that cats cannot absorb properly. Pumpkin pie is very sugary, and too many sweet treats for your cat can cause obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay. A small amount of pumpkin pie would likely not cause any problems, but the risk of toxicity is always there. Keep your cat away from pumpkin pie and offer them plain canned pumpkin or another cat-friendly treat in its place.
Featured Image Credit: Margoe Edwards, Shutterstock