Nutritional yeast is a food product that’s easy to add to foods, has loads of health benefits due to its nutritional content, and is pretty tasty.
That’s for us, but is nutritional yeast good for cats too?
Actually, yes it is.
By adding a little nutritional yeast to your cat’s food they can also enjoy the health benefits of this food.
It’s known to improve their coats, help with skin issues, strengthen their immune system, and loads more. If it’s been recommended to you, or you just want to know more about nutritional yeast and it’s health benefits, please read on.
What Is Nutritional Yeast (Nooch)?
Nutritional yeast, or Nooch as it’s also called, is deactivated yeast. It’s the same type of yeast used to brew beer and bake bread, but in its powder or flake form, it’s perfectly fine to eat.
It’s been a staple of vegan’s diets for years because it’s vegan (obviously), and is packed with good nutritional content. We primarily use it as an alternative to cheese, and as an additive to savory dishes in our foods. But, as I’ll explain in this article, it’s also used as an additive for cats’ food.
I’ll point out that although nooch is technically made from the same type of yeast as baker’s yeast and brewer’s yeast, it’s a very different product when used in foods.
You can’t give your cat the other types of yeast, but nutritional yeast is fine. In fact, there are some benefits to feeding your cat nooch as I’ll be explaining in this article.
Is Nutritional Yeast Safe for Pets?
There are several credible sources that state nutritional yeast is safe for cats (source). Start out sprinkling a little on your kitty’s food to see how they take it. Then keep an eye on them for any signs that it doesn’t agree with them.
I’ve given nooch to one of my cats without any issue. Also, all my kitty owning friends I spoke to said they never had any problems either. The only negative I heard was from one friend who said their kitten found the open bag of yeast and helped themselves, only to have some serious flatulence after.
But, that’s to be expected. There’s also a lesson to be learned there too, never leave a packet of food open with a kitten in the house!
Nutritional Yeast Benefits for Cats
Nutritional yeast wouldn’t have the word “Nutritional” in its name if it wasn’t packed with good nutrition. Not only does it deliver some health benefits for us, but cats too.
Here are some of the nutritional benefits for cats eating nooch:
- It’s rich in protein – It’s a good way to ensure your cat is getting their amino acids and protein content.
- It’s rich in vitamins and minerals – Cats have complex needs when it comes to vitamins and minerals. The right balance promotes healthy growth, functions, and overall health and wellbeing.
Also, some of the general health and wellness benefits include:
- Their costs will look and feel healthy and shiny
- It can help greedy cats feel fuller for longer, helping them avoid the snacking
- It’s a good source of energy if your cat is struggling in this area
- Strengthens their immune system and helps cats recover from illness
Related Content – If you’re looking for a natural source of fiber for your cat then please read this post about the benefits of pumpkin for cats.
Possible Side Effects of Cats Eating Nutritional Yeast
My cats have never displayed any side effects from eating it, or any other nutritional supplements (I might be lucky). I haven’t heard of any issues from my friends in the cat community either.
Still, it doesn’t hurt to be aware of what the possible side effects are. You should always introduce new foods in small amounts and keep an eye on your cat too.
Possible side effects of cats eating nutritional yeast include:
- An increase in uric acid in their urine, this can lead to kidney disease in the long run
- Stomach upset, some foods just don’t agree with some cats – much like us.
- Skin irritation and rashes – could be a sign of an allergy to the yeast
As with any new foods you introduce to your cats, you need to watch for any allergic reactions when they first start eating it.
If you see any ill effects, such as vomiting, itchiness, patchy/loss of hair, skin issues, abnormal poop (yep, check their poop), stop giving them nooch immediately to see if these issues stop.
If you have any concerns you can discuss it with your vet. Make a note of how much you gave them, what brand it was, and how much they ate.
How Much Nutritional Yeast Should You Give Your Cat?
This question is best answered by a vet because the exact answer depends on the size of your cat, why you’re giving it to them, and some other things.
I’ve read answers online that vary between 2-4 tbsp. If you want to start giving them a little to see if they like it, it doesn’t harm to start out with a tbsp. Just sprinkle it over their usual food, or if you know your cat is a little fussy you can mix it in.
There is definitely a taste to nutritional yeast, I’ve had it a few times and can always tell when it’s been used in a meal. All cats are different when it comes to what they will or won’t eat, as I’m sure you are well aware. So, start out trying a little bit to see if they like the taste.
I’ve even read some accounts from owners that have used it to help their finicky cats to eat more. They actually like the taste of nooch, and found they would eat more of their food with it sprinkled on.
If you’ve been advised to give your feline a little nutritional yeast in their diet it’s worth persisting with it. I know my cats have refused to eat certain foods at first because the smell or taste was different. Only to find that if I left it or put it out 2-3 days in a row they started eating it.
Header Image – Tony Webster Flickr Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)