Catster is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Can Cats Eat Quinoa? Vet-Reviewed Facts to Know

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on January 11, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Can Cats Eat Quinoa

Can Cats Eat Quinoa? Vet-Reviewed Facts to Know


Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo


Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

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

Learn more »

Quinoa has become known as a superfood for humans. We can add it to just about anything to enhance the texture and nutrients within a meal. However, can our feline friends enjoy this food too? Yes, cats can safely eat quinoa. To give you a it more detail on this topic, though, we need talk about whether it is a healthy choice for cats specifically.

cat + line divider

Can Cats Eat Quinoa?

Although researchers consider quinoa to be a grain, it contains many healthy nutrients. The protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrate content in quinoa is the main reason that it is considered an ancient grain and why it might be a good option to supplement a cat’s diet. In general, the content of amino acids in quinoa is higher than in common cereals. It can’t be the only thing that cats eat, but it can certainly make up a portion of your cat’s diet.

Nutritional Benefits of Quinoa for Cats

Quinoa has become known as a superfood for not only humans but also some animals.

LaPerm tri-colored cat
Image Credit: Linn Currie, Shutterstock

The nutrients that quinoa contains include:

  • Eleven amino acids, or protein building blocks, that aid in muscle building, maintenance, and repair
  • Fiber content that helps your cat maintain their digestive system and keeps it functioning correctly
  • Magnesium to aid your cat’s metabolic functions at the cellular level
  • Zinc, manganese, and copper – minerals that help do all kinds of things, from healing faster to boosting the immune system

Quinoa is considered a “complete protein” because it contains all the essential amino acids for humans. While compared to other cereal grains, quinoa is higher in amino acid content. Cats are obligate carnivores, which means their proteins should be obtained mostly from animal sources. A cat’s essential amino acids are taurine and arginine. Quinoa is rich in arginine and contains the taurine precursors, cysteine and methionine. However, unlike humans and dogs, cats lack the ability to synthesize sufficient taurine from cysteine, so cats need to receive taurine directly from their diet.

How to Feed Quinoa to Your Cats

Remember that when it comes to a cat’s diet, everything should be in moderation. Other than a cat’s food tailored to their species, supplements and treats shouldn’t make up a significant portion of their diet.

Image Credit: Rose224, Pixabay

Serving quinoa to your cat can be the trickiest part when it comes to getting them to eat it. Cats can be picky when it comes to their food, especially if they have become set in their ways.

After the quinoa is cooked, it becomes light and fluffy. It also has quite a unique flavor. You should always serve it to your cat fully cooked.

Some cats will end up loving this as a supplement to their food, while others won’t even consider touching it. In that case, you might want to mask it within other kinds of food or treats to get them accustomed to the flavor and texture.

Most often, it is easiest to get your cat’s typical bowl of food ready for them and mix a little bit of quinoa into it. Try to do this in moderation, adding quinoa in small amounts and mixing it so they get a bit of everything. This way, they won’t just try to eat their favorite part of the meal, whether that’s the kibble or the quinoa.

3 cat face divider


Not only can cats eat quinoa, but it is also quite a healthy treat or supplement to their diet. However, keep in mind that your cat is an obligate carnivore that cannot effectively synthesize taurine. Therefore, most of your cat’s diet should come from animal-derived proteins, as these will provide your cat with all the nutrients and amino acids that they need to thrive.

Get Catster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.
Catster Editors Choice Badge
Shopping Cart


© Pangolia Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.