Can cats eat spinach?

We know that spinach is one of the most popular green leafy vegetables all over the world and is even considered a super-food for people

But, do the benefits transfer to your feline friend as well or should you be cautious of feeding this human food to your cat?

The answer to that question requires a more in-depth discussion than a mere ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ so, let’s delve deeper to find the answer to all your queries regarding your cat eating spinach.

READ MORE: Can Cats Eat Beans?

Can cats have spinach?

bowl filled with fresh spinach

The short answer is yes. Your cat can eat spinach. Spinach is not toxic to your cat, but it does require a certain degree of knowledge before you feed your cat the leafy greens.

Your cat may like the taste of spinach, but it doesn’t know any better-you indeed do. Even if your cat wants something, you need to check if it’s safe or not for your furry friend.

Eating spinach does provide nutritional benefits to your cat, but you need to know a few things first to avoid giving your cat side effects instead.

READ MORE: Is Asparagus Good for Cats?

Is spinach bad for cats?

fresh spinach in a wooden bowl: can cats eat spinach?

While it’s not particularly toxic for cats, spinach can be bad for your cat if not taken with proper precautions. Cat eating basil or spinach is nothing to be alarmed about.

If your cat has kidney issues or urinary tract infection, giving spinach can worsen the condition. Spinach contains calcium oxalate, which can further aggravate underlying kidney problems.

Even if your cat has never been diagnosed with kidney problems, it can have underlying complications. It’s essential to look for symptoms in that case. Some of the common symptoms are;

  • Loss in appetite
  • Blood in urine or stool
  • Frequent urination
  • Nausea or vomiting

However, if your cat doesn’t have any of these symptoms and is overall healthy, you can try offering a bit of spinach every now and then.

Can cats eat raw spinach? 

While you can give raw spinach to your cat if it’s healthy, you must refrain from doing so.

The oxalate in raw spinach can further complicate any underlying health conditions in cats; that is why it is not advisable to give raw spinach to them.

Even in healthy cats, the oxalate can lead to kidney issues, and thus raw spinach is a definite no for your cat.

chef cooking spinach: can cats eat cooked spinach?

It’s better to give cooked spinach to your cat to avoid unnecessary stress on its digestive system.

Remember to not add any spices or seasoning to it as well. Just boiling or steaming is good enough for your cat.

Health benefits for cat eating spinach 

Spinach is loaded with nutrients, and your cat can benefit from those. Let’s discuss all the health benefits that are provided by including spinach in your cat’s diet.

Essential minerals

Spinach is an excellent source of essential minerals like iron and calcium. Iron helps produce hemoglobin which is a necessary protein for the circulatory system of your cat.

Iron is also crucial for growth and development, which makes it more beneficial to kittens in this respect. Calcium, present in spinach, promotes bone health in your cat.

Rich in Vitamins 

Spinach is rich in Vitamin C and Vitamin K1. Vitamin K1 promotes blood clotting, while Vitamin C is great for skin health.

Spinach also contains carotenoids which your kitty’s body turns into Vitamin A. Vitamin A promotes a healthy immune system and protects the body from age-related issues.

Fiber-rich

Spinach is also rich in insoluble fiber, which promotes a healthy digestive system by speeding up food and waste through the gut. So, if your cat has digestive issues, the dietary fiber in spinach may be beneficial.

Improves eyesight

Zeaxanthin and lutein are carotenoids present in spinach. They are also present in the eyes, and they protect from blindness. Several studies have shown that these carotenoids help prevent macular degeneration and cataract.

How much spinach can cats eat at a time? 

spinach leaves in a ceramic plate

If you are tempted to offer a bunch of leaves to your kitty after knowing the various health benefits of spinach, please don’t!

Your cat is a carnivore and does not need spinach or any other vegetable in its regular diet. If your cat shows curiosity around the green leafy vegetable, you can offer one leaf as a trial.

It is vital to pay attention to any changes in your cat after spinach consumption. In case there are no signs of trouble, you can offer your kitty a leaf or two occasionally.

Cat Eating Spinach FAQs

WHAT HAPPENS IF A CAT EATS SPINACH?

cat licking his mouth

Spinach is not toxic to cats, so there’s no problem if your cat eats it. However, it is necessary to check that the green leafy vegetable is only consumed in moderation.

DOES SPINACH HURT CATS?

Generally speaking, no- spinach can’t hurt your cats unless they have a history of renal issues. In which case, it is better to keep your cat off the spinach.

CAN CATS EAT WATER SPINACH? 

fresh water spinach

Considering your kitty like the bland taste of it- yes, cats can eat water spinach, but just like spinach, it should also be offered only in moderation.

WHAT MAKES SPINACH A GOOD CHOICE FOR CATS?

The low calorific value and the various nutrition that it provides make it a good choice for cats.

Conclusion 

Spinach is a healthy option for cats owing to the several nutritional values they provide. However, cats are carnivores- they survive on animal protein.

In other words, they have no real need for fruits and green vegetables in their diet. That is why fruits and vegetables should only be an occasional treat to your feline friend.

With spinach, moderation is the key.  If you are cautious about all of these things, you can surely let your cat have this healthy treat.

References

  • Liu, R., T. Wang, B. Zhang, L. Qin, C. Wu, Q. Li, and L. Ma. 2014. “Lutein and Zeaxanthin Supplementation and Association with Visual Function in Age-Related Macular Degeneration.” Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science 56 (1): 252–58. https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.14-15553.
  • Seddon JM;Ajani UA;Sperduto RD;Hiller R;Blair N;Burton TC;Farber MD;Gragoudas ES;Haller J;Miller DT. 2015. “Dietary Carotenoids, Vitamins A, C, and E, and Advanced Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Eye Disease Case-Control Study Group.” JAMA 272 (18). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7933422/.
cat eating in his bowl

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Barry Stingmore
Barry Stingmore

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.

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