In this article, I’ve set out to answer the question, “Can cats eat arugula?”
Does this leafy green vegetable offer any health benefits to your feline friend, or could it be potentially toxic?
Well, cat lovers, you’re about to find out.
Read on, and we will jump right in.
Can Cats Eat Arugula?
Yes, cats can eat arugula. As with many things in life, though, moderation is key.
Realistically, arugula isn’t going to replace the meat in your kitty’s daily meals.
Arugula, also known as rocket lettuce and rucola, is a peppery green vegetable packed full of nutrients that make it great for humans to eat.
It’s rich in a multitude of vitamins and minerals, low in carbs and fat, and linked to numerous positive benefits such as being high in cancer-fighting agents.
So, it’s only natural for you as a cat owner to wonder if it will offer the same health benefits to your beloved purr machine too.
More on that later…
First, we’ll take a look at whether arugula is safe for cats. Just because they can eat it, does that mean they really should?
Is Arugula Safe for Cats?
As arugula is a relatively soft, leafy green, it presents little risk of causing choking or internal blockages.
The only real complication comes when arugula is eaten excessively. Your cat is an obligate carnivore.
This means that she has to eat meat to survive; she simply can’t get what she needs from other food sources.
Let’s explore this a little further now…
Your cat’s body is adapted to extracting nutrients from meat-based food sources.
As a result, her digestive system is not equipped to process plant-based food.
Consuming too much arugula or any other green vegetables can cause your cat to experience digestive problems, which could lead to vomiting or diarrhea.
Why Would a Cat Want to Eat Arugula?
So, if eating arugula has the potential to make your cat sick, why would she want to try it?
Cats are known to eat things they shouldn’t. Both spider webs and dirt spring to mind based on past articles I’ve written.
Have you ever heard that eating grass makes cats vomit?
Some people suggest that cats eat grass with the intention of vomiting as a means to clear their stomachs.
Another theory is that cats eat grass to increase the activity of their digestive tract muscles.
This helps to clear out parasites, and any vomiting is just a side-effect of overdoing the grass intake.
Yet another popular idea is that cats graze on grass for the nutrients it contains. In all cases, it would seem that grass is a natural cat health supplement.
Many green vegetables, including arugula, have the same effect on your cat’s digestive system and could also offer nutritional benefits.
So whether you favor one theory over the others or think there may be a little truth in all of them, it seems there are plenty of reasons your cat may want a nibble of your arugula-based salad.
When Can You Feed Arugula to Cats?
We’ve already learned a little about your cat’s dietary needs; she should be getting the majority of her nutrients from meat-based sources.
There are, however, a few things to consider before feeding this or any other human food to your cat.
Make sure to wash the arugula beforehand. Not all salad is sold ready to eat, and washing will help to remove any traces of pesticides or preservatives.
You will also need to ensure that the leaves are free of any sauces, salad dressing, or seasonings.
The ingredients in these can potentially be harmful to cats.
For example, things like onion and garlic can be toxic for cats.
It’s important to keep an eye on her to see how she reacts to it. If the arugula causes her to vomit, then it’s best to avoid giving her any more in the future.
Also check: Can Cats Eat Asparagus?
Arugula Benefits for Cats
So, what is it about arugula that makes us think it would be a healthy kitty snack in the first place?
Probably for many of the same reasons we consider it a healthy human food.
But is your cat even able to absorb nutrients from arugula if her body is designed to eat meat?
We’ll come back to that in a minute…
First, let’s see what nutritional value it potentially has to offer your cat.
Calcium is an essential nutrient for cats. Calcium is important for bone and dental health as well as playing a role in blood clotting.
Potassium is a mineral that plays a role in the healthy functioning of your cat’s nervous system.
Folate and Folic Acid, also known as vitamin B9, contribute to red blood cell formation and cell growth/health.
Vitamin C is associated with boosting the immune system and maintaining optimal health.
Vitamin K plays a vital role in the process of blood clotting. Deficiencies of this essential vitamin could prove fatal if your cat suffers an injury.
Vitamin A didn’t get named after the first letter in the alphabet by accident; it’s a hugely important vitamin for cats. It plays a role in vision, cell growth, immune function, and fetal development.
Do Cats Benefit From Eating Arugula?
So the potential benefits are there, but what about the point I raised earlier.
Can your cat actually extract all or any of the goodness from these vegetables?
During my research, I couldn’t find anything concrete to say either way.
Many of the articles and posts suggesting that cats can benefit from the nutrients in vegetables didn’t provide any factual sources to support those claims.
I did find a study where the experts explain that cats can’t process vitamin A from plant sources as they lack the necessary digestive enzymes.
Cats have evolved to get all of their vitamin A from their prey, which has already done the job of breaking the nutrients down.
This is a process that commercial best dry cat food brands have replicated.
Based on the available evidence, I’d have to say any nutritional benefit is inconclusive.
Expert opinion does suggest that your cat won’t be able to process vitamin A in arugula, though.
The jury’s out on everything else. At best, your cat will benefit from some of the other nutrients. At worst, eating a few leaves won’t cause her any harm.
The other potential upside is linked to our earlier mention of grass eating.
Cats could eat arugula for similar benefits to their digestive system and for getting rid of parasites.
You asked, “Can cats eat arugula?” We found out that the answer is a resounding yes they can.
Rocket lettuce, rucola, whatever you want to call it, we learned that arugula is safe for kitty consumption.
However, too much can be a bad thing and result in digestive issues.
Eating arugula could offer your furry friend some health benefits. But we don’t know for sure whether your cat’s digestive system can process the nutrients on offer.
Regardless, it would seem we have established a good case for arugula being safe, if not healthy, an occasional easy DIY cat treats.
If you’re in any doubt, consult your vet, who should be happy to explore the topic with you further.
Can cats eat arugula? Yes, they can! Will you be feeding any to your kitty? Tell me in the comments below.
Barry Stingmore is a British content creator living in Fuerteventura, Spain. An animal lover at heart, he shares his home with a dog and four rescue cats.
Barry works with the island’s animal charities to help manage and care for feral and abandoned animals. Alongside fieldwork, he works to support the charities with fundraising and raising awareness.