Is Pumpkin Safe for Pets?

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You probably know it’s #PSL season. Like cozy sweaters and falling leaves, pumpkin spice lattes mean “fall” to a lot of us. And while our feline friends shouldn’t slurp up any lattes, pumpkin itself actually provides some surprising health benefits. 

Good for Digestion

Just as a little extra fiber can be good for us, it can also be good for our cats. This vital nutrient can help ease digestion problems in both people and felines. If your cat is experiencing diarrhea or constipation, adding a little pumpkin to their diet can make a big difference. 

“Pumpkin is a great source of fiber for cats,” shares Cat Adoption Team’s medical director, Dr. Dianne Brown. “Fiber can act as a sponge when there’s excess water in the GI tract causing diarrhea. In the case of constipation, fiber can help draw water in to increase fecal bulk and stool passage.” 

Pumpkin can also help with hairballs. Although pumpkin isn’t a substitute for regular grooming, if your kitty has excessive hairballs even with consistent brushing, some pumpkin added to the diet might help. 

Of course, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian if your cat is experiencing any health concerns. So if there’s constipation, diarrhea, or excessive hairballs, don’t just rely on pumpkin—talk with your vet too. 

Useful for Weight Control 

Is your cat carrying a few extra pounds? According to PetMD, pumpkin can help them along their weight loss journey. You can substitute up to one-third of your cat’s regular food with pumpkin. The nutrients in pumpkin help sate cats’ appetites and make them feel fuller than if they were just eating dry food. Simply mix the pumpkin into their regular food and let them enjoy it. 

What Kind of Pumpkin Is OK for Cats?

You’ll find many pumpkin options at your local grocery store, but not all pumpkin products are good for cats. 

“Any canned pumpkin needs to be pure pumpkin, not pumpkin pie mix which contains spices and sugar that could cause diarrhea,” advises Dr. Brown. 

In addition to canned pumpkin, you can find pumpkin supplements specifically designed for pets. Here at CAT, we use Weruva Pumpkin Patch Up! to help foster kittens with upset stomachs. “We love the Weruva packets,” says Mary Chamber, CAT’s foster coordinator. “They make great additions to our foster baby bags.” 

Even though your cat can’t enjoy a pumpkin spice latte or a slice of pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, a little pumpkin as a treat or treatment can be beneficial.

About Cat Adoption Team

Cat Adoption Team (CAT) is the largest cat shelter in the Pacific Northwest. We offer adoption, foster care, and veterinary services to homeless cats and kittens.

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