Cat owners are always looking out for their feline sidekicks. One of the most important things when it comes to sharing your home with a kitty overlord is knowing what is safe for them to eat. Yes, most cats are completely content with the kibble and canned food we offer them. Others? Not so much. Some cats allow that curiosity to kick in. This means they are more than willing to try things we eat, or things we discover are good for them.
One of the foods many of us enjoy, that cats may seem curious about, is pumpkin seeds. Yes, they are yummy and packed full of vitamins and minerals for us, but can cats eat pumpkin seeds? Is it safe? The short answer is yes, cats can eat pumpkin seeds. However, you should proceed with caution as they can be a choking hazard. Some cats even enjoy the taste of these seeds, but there is more to pumpkin seeds than meets the eye.
Let’s learn more about our kitty masters and pumpkin seeds so you can decide whether this tasty treat is something you want to offer your feline friend.
What Are Pumpkin Seeds?
Most of us know what pumpkin seeds are, but do we know what’s inside each one? Yes, we already mentioned the multiple vitamins and minerals packed inside these little seeds, but that isn’t all. Pumpkin seeds are a source of antioxidants and are relatively high in dietary fiber, all of which could be beneficial for your kitty’s health.
What Is Dietary Fiber?
Dietary fiber includes both soluble and insoluble fibers. It’s the soluble fiber that is so valuable. You see, soluble fibers dissolve in water and are processed inside the large intestine. It promotes healthy gut bacteria which is beneficial to gastrointestinal health. The insoluble fiber, the one that sticks around in the tummy longer due to their inability to dissolve in water, could help with your cat’s weight management. It can make your cat think it’s full and reduce the amount of food it eats. This is really beneficial to cats who struggle with obesity. We would recommend discussing this tactic with your veterinary surgeon before trying it as a means of weight loss.
The Benefits of Feeding Your Cat Pumpkin Seeds
Now that you understand a bit about pumpkin seeds, let’s take a look at other benefits your cat can reap if they enjoy these vegetable seeds.
Help with Constipation
Yes, just like us humans, cats can get constipated. For some cats, this is a now-and-then thing. Others, unfortunately, deal with constipation more often. A teaspoon of seeds is advocated by some to alleviate your cat’s backed-up digestion while giving them a tasty snack at the same time thanks to that soluble fiber inside.
The Other Bowel Issue
We mentioned constipation, but cats also get dreaded diarrhea. No one wants to see their kitty suffer through this misery any more than constipation. Luckily, the same treatment of a teaspoon of pumpkin seeds may help. The soluble fiber inside pumpkin seeds can absorb water in your cat’s gut. This helps in some cases return their stool to normal.
There are no studies showing that pumpkin seeds help with diarrhea and constipation in cats but it is a popular home remedy. If your cat is regularly having gastrointestinal problems or they fail to resolve we recommend a consultation with your veterinarian.
Weight Loss and Management
As we mentioned earlier, the insoluble fibers in pumpkin seeds may have a use in helping control your cat’s weight. This is great considering many cats in the US are considered overweight. Dealing with this issue can lead your cat down the road to feline diabetes. If your kitty is overweight, consider adding a few pumpkin seeds to their diet to help them feel full longer.
Upset Tummies and Food Transitions
Cats get upset tummies. However, this happens most often when there is a change in their diet. With so many issues now taking place with the supply chain in America, it’s not surprising that the switching of pet food happens often. Transitioning foods is a process that should be done slowly to help avoid too much stomach upset. Pumpkin seeds are the same and should be added a little at a time to your cat’s meal. It is not recommended to feed pumpkin seeds on a daily basis to your cat without consulting your veterinarian.
Extra Vitamins and Nutrients
Having more vitamins and nutrients in your cat’s diet isn’t a bad thing, especially those found in pumpkin seeds. Vitamin A is great for your cat’s vision and eye health. Beta carotene is an antioxidant that protects against those pesky free radicals. Vitamin C is great for boosting your cat’s immune health and fatty acids make their coat and skin healthier and shinier. Where can all these vitamins and nutrients be found? In pumpkin seeds; so they can be used as an occasional treat if your cat likes them.
A Word of Caution Concerning Pumpkin Seeds
While pumpkin seeds can offer some benefits to your cat, there are still dangers you should keep in mind. First off, when offering your cat pumpkin seeds it is best to avoid roasting or cooking them in oil or adding salt and spices. This raises the fat content and defeats the purpose. You can offer your kitty whole seeds or remove the shell. However, you should only give them a few seeds while you closely monitor the situation as seeds can be a choking hazard.
If you want to avoid this issue altogether, try crushing the seeds. If your cat enjoys them this way, they can eat a few as a treat. You can even sprinkle the crushed seeds on your cat’s food if they aren’t a fan of the consistency but you want them to reap the benefits.
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Final Thoughts on Cats and Pumpkin Seeds
If you want to offer your kitty the benefits of pumpkin seeds in their diet, you can, as they are not toxic. They are not a necessary part of your feline’s daily diet but can be used sparingly as a treat or home remedy. Your cat should be fed cat food that is complete and balanced to give all the essential nutrition that they need. The key with this addition to your cat’s diet is like anything else you offer them: to practice moderation. You should also closely monitor your cat when they enjoy pumpkin seeds or consider crushing them as they can be a choking hazard to your feline pal.
Featured Image Credit: Pixabay