Cats can eat spinach leaves, yes. Spinach contains some good nutrition for cats, but keep in mind that your feline friend is an obligate carnivore. Cats need certain essential amino acids and proteins from animal sources. A little bit of leafy greens doesn’t hurt though.
Is Spinach Healthy for Cats?
I’m sure it will not come as a surprise to you that cats are meat-eaters. They absolutely need the minerals, amino acids, animal proteins, and other nutrients in meat to survive.
Obviously, spinach leaves are not meat. But that doesn’t mean your cat cannot benefit from some of the nutrients in spinach. Cooked spinach is also something people sometimes feed their cats.
Spinach is a superfood, it’s an excellent source of a wide range of vitamins and minerals. This includes:
- Vitamin A, C, K1 – Some powerful vitamins and antioxidants that promote good health for us and kitties.
- Fiber – It’s high in insoluble fiber, which is good for digestive health.
- Minerals – Being rich in calcium, iron, potassium, and other minerals spinach provides a nice balance of minerals that promotes good health.
Will Spinach Hurt Cats? Can They Be Allergic?
I have read some research that suggests if a cat has any pre-existing health issues, then humans foods present more of a risk.
This does make perfect sense, cats do have complex dietary requirements.
In addition to this, spinach leaves in particular contain something called calcium oxalate, one of the most common causes of kidney stones.
This is a very low risk, and your cat would likely have to eat spinach over a prolonged period. But it’s something to keep in mind, especially if you have a senior cat or one that eats all kinds of foods it shouldn’t.
Another potential risk is that some people are allergic to spinach. An allergic reaction can cause a range of symptoms, from mild discomfort to difficulty breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, and itchiness.
Cats can have allergies, we know this much. I wasn’t able to find any evidence of cats having an allergic reaction to spinach, which is great news.
But that is likely more so due to it being so rare. It doesn’t mean it’s not possible.
Whenever you let your cat try new foods, especially human foods, you should always keep an eye on them for the next 24 hours or so.
What Leafy Greens Can Cats Eat?
Cats can nibble on most leafy greens – as long as you take the same precautions as when you allow them to eat spinach.
That means; just a little in moderation, and keep an eye on them for any adverse effects the first time they eat a food for the first time.
Some of the leafy greens that are fine for cats – and some of which are used in commercial foods – are; lettuce, green beans, peas, broccoli, zucchini, asparagus, and some veggies that aren’t green – such as carrots and potatoes.
I’ve had cats over the years that would take any opportunity to nibble on some veggies. Most, however, were never really interested in greens (unless my house plants count).
Which Vegetables Are Toxic/Harmful to Cats?
Most cats will turn their noses up at most vegetables just because they aren’t interested. This doesn’t mean you can let your guard down and leave veggies out though, especially if they’re potentially harmful.
The main vegetables that are on the harmful list are onions, garlic, and shallots. You should avoid letting your cat nibble on these as they are known to damage a cat’s red blood cells and can lead to anemia.
Hillspet also adds that if a cat was to get their paws on a concentrated form of one of these vegetables, such as garlic powder, it could be fatal.
I’d love to tell you that cats are smart enough to avoid foods that are bad for them. But this is not always the case.
I haven’t had an incident myself, my I’ve known friends over the years who have had to make some quick trips to a vet’s office due to their cats sticking their heads into foods and products they shouldn’t be touching.
What Treats Should You Give Your Cat?
I’m sure you’ll agree that cats love treats. I’ve certainly never met one that wouldn’t eat leftover scraps on a plate in a blink of an eye.
While there are loads of human foods that are fine for cats – and it’s certainly fun sharing with them – there are much better options.
You should really stick with cat treats. Cat treats have been specially designed to provide loads of good nutrition, none of the bad stuff, and they taste great – to cats, that is.
My advice is to pick up a box of Temptations (or something similar), like these below available on Amazon:
Not only are these perfectly safe and healthy treats, getting your cat used to the sound of these being shaken around in the box is a great way to get them to come indoors or appear where you are!
There you have it, spinach leaves aren’t just a healthy leafy green for us, it’s fine for cats too. As I explained, however, you should be sticking as close to a diet of quality cat food as possible if you want your cat to maintain optimal health.
A little bit of spinach or any of the other vegetables, fruits, and other foods that are safe for cats is fine on occasion though. No need to panic or feel guilty if you’ve been sharing your leftovers with them.
The best advice is to try and keep your kitty on the kitty food, and you on the human foods.
Image credits – Photo by Mak on Unsplash
Spinach 101: Nutrition Facts – Healthline