“Superfoods” is one of those buzzwords making the rounds for the past several years. The idea of superfoods does have some merit, however, and they’re not just foods for humans, either. Several fantastic, high-quality, and nutrient-dense superfoods are perfectly safe to feed your kitty.
You might find it difficult to get your cat excited about eating some of these human foods, but that’s why food manufacturers have started adding these high-quality foods into their cans of wet food or bags of kibble. When the food your cat eats daily is chock full of protein and superfoods, your kitty is getting great nutrition for your buck.
Keep reading to learn more about what superfoods you should be adding to your cats’ diet.
The 10 Superfoods for Cats
Cranberries pack a powerful antioxidant punch in a small little package. Studies suggest that cranberries have properties that support urinary tract health by preventing the growth of certain bacteria.
Cranberries are a great source of many vitamins and minerals like vitamins E and K, as well as fiber, vitamin C, and manganese.
It’s not likely that your cat will eat fresh cranberries being an obligate carnivore and attracted to foods with strong scents, but there are many commercial foods and treats that have cranberries as an ingredient. Some cat-safe supplements also contain cranberries.
Now you have a reason to let those pesky weeds keep growing in your backyard! Dandelion leaves and roots might be able to help with your cat’s allergies as well as their digestion.
Your grass-crazy cats might already be chomping at the dandelions in your yard, but if you have indoor cats, you’ll have to do some foraging yourself. Dig up the dandelion right from the root and rinse them well. Finely mince the entire weed, even the root, and sprinkle a small amount onto your cat’s next meal.
Please note that dandelions are only safe if your yard is pesticide-free. If you have treated your grass with chemicals, do not feed the grass or dandelions to your pets.
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Yogurt is high in protein and rich in calcium, and contains probiotics that can help support your kitty’s digestive and bone health. Yogurt contains potassium, calcium, and magnesium, all minerals that both cats and humans can benefit from. It also contains live cultures like healthy bacteria, which can boost your cat’s immune system as well as help them with their digestion. It seems as if most cats’ immunity is tied closely to the health of their digestive tract, so a healthy digestive system could mean an overall healthier cat. But limit the portions!
It’s best to stick with plain yogurt over the admittedly tastier flavored varieties as the sweet yogurts contain artificial sweeteners to give it that yummy taste. Too much sugar can make your cat ill. Also, do not go overboard with yogurt and dairy products in general. Most veterinarians recommend limited to zero dairy for your cat’s daily diet. Half a teaspoon of plain Greek yogurt per day is enough.
Many different types of fish are great for cats. Oily fish is among the best, though, as they tend to be chock full of omega-3 fatty acids that your cat needs for healthy skin and joint health. Salmon, anchovies, and sardines are all great fish superfoods for your kitty to try.
The key to feeding your cat fish safely is to treat it as just that—a treat. Give them a small taste of your fish dinner and eat the rest yourself or freeze the leftovers to use as treats another day.
Tuna is often the first fish people think of when feeding their cats fish, but it’s not the best pick for your kitty. Tuna is high in mercury and can cause mercury poisoning if your cat eats too much of it.
Eggs are an incredible source of protein and tend to be quite easy for your cat to digest. They also contain 10 of the 11 amino acids your cat needs to keep himself lean and strong.
Eggs are also a source of taurine to help boost your cat’s heart and eye health, vitamin A for their skin and coat health, iron to boost their red blood cell health, and vitamin D to manage bone health.
Do not offer your cat raw eggs. Raw egg whites contain a protein called avidin which can interfere with your cat’s ability to absorb biotin, which they need to promote a healthy coat. Raw eggs can also contain E. coli which can cause significant gastrointestinal problems for your kitty.
Try giving your kitty a taste of a scrambled egg from your breakfast to see if they like it. If so, you can experiment with other styles of eggs, such as poached.
Blueberries are often found at the top of every list of superfoods. They may come in a small package, but they pack a powerful punch of antioxidants that support healthy gut bacteria and boosts digestion.
Blueberries have the highest level of antioxidants of any fruit. The fiber in blueberries can help reduce inflammation which can provide some relief for cats that suffer from arthritis. Like cranberries, blueberries can support urinary tract health.
Try offering a full blueberry to see if your cat is interested. If not, break one in half and mash it slightly so your cat can see and smell the juices inside. If they’re still not interested, try adding a smashed blueberry to their next meal.
Pumpkin is a great superfood for cats with digestive issues. Pure pumpkin can soothe your pet’s stomach troubles. Its high fiber content can reduce excess moisture in your cat’s digestive tract and add bulk to his stools to help stave off diarrhea. Too much pumpkin, however, and you’ll wind up achieving the exact opposite and causing diarrhea.
Remember that not all canned pumpkin is created equal. Look for cans with “pure pumpkin” as the only ingredient. Any additional ingredients, like added sugars or flavorings, are not healthy for your pet.
8. Lean Meat
You already know that cats are obligate carnivores, meaning their diet needs the nutrients that are only found in animal flesh so it should come as no surprise that lean meats are one of the top superfoods for cats. It’s chock full of not only protein but iron and vitamin B for immune and nervous system health.
Options like cooked chicken, beef, or pork are great for occasional treats as they are tasty and add a hefty boost of protein to your cat’s diet. It’s best to serve them meat with no visible fat.
You can prepare lean meat in a wide variety of ways, but it’s best to keep meat sitting in spices or sauces on your own plate. Try to keep the meat you’re offering as plain as possible.
Flaxseeds provide a wide variety of nutritional benefits for both cats and humans. These puny, yet powerful, seeds can improve your cat’s digestive health, boost its immune system, and make its coat shiny.
Flaxseeds are full of omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFA), which can boost heart health as well as brain development. EFAs are beneficial for kitties who struggle with inflammatory conditions like arthritis, too.
They can also help cats with kidney problems. Omega fatty acids have an anti-inflammatory effect that reduces the progression of kidney damage, which can potentially help them live longer.
Try grinding whole flaxseeds right before your cat’s mealtime and adding a small amount to his food.
Broccoli is a great superfood that’s packed with antioxidants to help reduce the effect of free radicals in your cat’s body. It’s also great for keeping your kitty regular with his bowel movements and calming upset tummies.
The crunchy florets might satisfy your cat’s taste for roughage, giving your houseplants a much-needed break from your cat’s incessant chewing.
Steamed broccoli is the easiest way for your cat to eat it. Just don’t add any oil, butter, or seasonings to the pot.
There certainly is no shortage of superfoods that are safe for cats. The key is learning how to offer them to your kitty in a way that gets them excited about eating these non-traditional foods. The easiest way to get more superfoods into your cat’s diet is to choose commercial pet foods that use a variety of these foods in their formulation.
Featured Image Credit: Jaromir Chalabala, Shutterstock