Can Cats Eat Cabbage? - Cat Kingpin
Can Cats Eat Cabbage

Can Cats Eat Cabbage?

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t like cabbage as a kid. As an adult, however, I love cabbage, whether it’s a good coleslaw or Bosnian sarma, which is meat, rice, onion, salt and pepper mixed together and wrapped in a cabbage leaf.

Cabbage is known as a good choice for people who are trying to eat a healthy diet. You may be wondering if cabbage is also a healthy snack for cats.

For the most part, cabbage can be a fun treat for your cat, but it really shouldn’t be the main part of your cat’s diet. Lettuce now find out more about cabbage. (Couldn’t resist that pun!)

In this article we’ll cover the following:

  • Cats and Cabbage, What You Need to Know
  • Can Cats Eat Cabbage?
  • Can Kittens Cabbage?
  • Benefits/Drawbacks to Cats Eating Cabbage
  • Healthy Alternatives to Cabbage for Cats

Cats and Cabbage, What You Need to Know

Originally from Europe, cabbage is a domesticated form of the wild species Brassica oleracea. Wild cabbage has also been cultivated into broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, collards, and kale, which are still considered to be the same species as domestic cabbage, though they look and taste different from one another.

Nutritionally, cabbage contains high levels of vitamin C and K along with many other important nutrients, though in lesser amounts. Cabbage is also very low in fat and calories but high in fiber, making it a good choice for people who are trying to lose weight.

Although cats are primarily meat eaters, as the following video shows, many enjoy noshing on a bit of cabbage from time to time.

Can Cats Eat Cabbage?

Yes, your cat can eat cabbage! Cabbage can be a tasty and fun treat, if your cat is interested.

Just don’t be surprised if they don’t actually eat the cabbage. Since cats are meat eaters, many will just play with it or rip it apart, leaving a mess for you.

And, as you can see in the following video, some cats may just wear the cabbage on their head like a hat.

Can Kittens Eat Cabbage?

Kittens tend to be even more susceptible than adult cats to most things because they are tiny and are not yet fully developed. Though rare, any pathogens on cabbage leaves are even more likely to affect a kitten than an adult cat.

Similarly, kittens could be more sensitive to the bloating and laxative effects from the fiber in cabbage. This could cause abdominal discomfort and diarrhea, possibly leading to dehydration and a trip to the vet.

Instead of cabbage, why not try giving your kitten a healthy kitten food like Blue Wilderness Kitten? This type of food has everything your kitten needs to grow up big and strong, and without anything that could cause harm.

Benefits/Drawbacks to Cats Eating Cabbage

While cabbage is usually a safe snack for your cat, you should know they won’t really benefit nutritionally from eating cabbage. This is because cats are obligate carnivores, which means all they really need to eat is meat.

In fact, cats don’t actually need plants to meet their nutrient requirements. For example, humans don’t produce enough vitamin C in their livers, so they must eat oranges, grapefruit, and other vitamin C-rich foods, like cabbage, or they will end up getting scurvy.

While cats need vitamin C to survive, they don’t need any additional vitamin C added to their diets. This is because cats make plenty of vitamin C in their own livers, so they don’t need to eat plant-based foods to get enough.

It won’t hurt your cat to get a little extra; they just don’t require it.

Similarly, cabbage contains significant amounts of fiber. In humans, these indigestible carbohydrates can cause bloating and flatulence.

Cats don’t need fiber in their diet. When a cat eats food containing fiber, it can have a laxative effect on the cat resulting in runny stools and messy litter boxes.

Additionally, while cabbage is not considered toxic to cats, foodborne pathogens have been found on cabbage leaves. Listeria monocytogenes, Clostridium botulinum, Shigella, and E. Coli are all species of bacteria which have been found on cabbage leaves or in cabbage preparations such as coleslaw.

Bacterial contamination of cabbage is rare, and cats may not be affected in the same ways or as severely as humans. If you do decide to feed your cat cabbage, stay alert for any signs your cat may show from eating contaminated cabbage, such as the following symptoms:

  • High fever
  • Lack of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dehydration

Though unlikely, in severe cases, life-threatening septicaemia and endotoxemia may develop and infections could spread to different organs causing pneumonia, meningitis, and abortion in pregnant cats. To be safe, make sure you thoroughly wash cabbage before giving it to your cat.

Healthy Alternatives to Cabbage for Cats

There are many healthy alternatives to feeding your cat cabbage. If you really want your cat to have plant nutrition in their diet, try a cat food that has been formulated with plants that meets the feline’s specific nutritional needs.

Organix Dry Cat Food contains sweet potatoes along with real chicken so your cat can eat a healthy and balanced diet.

You can also try offering your cat some cat grass. Unlike regular grass, this is completely safe for cats to munch on, so it’s a great way to add some greenery to your home that your cat can safely eat.

So, Can Cats Eat Cabbage?

Now you know that cats can eat cabbage, though many cats may not be all that interested in the leafy plant.

If you decide to give you cat cabbage, just follow these simple steps:

  • Wash the cabbage leaves thoroughly before giving it to your cat.
  • Give cabbage to your cat in moderation as too much could cause your cat to have indigestion and loose stools for a day or two.
  • If you want to incorporate vegetables into your cat’s diet on a regular basis, consider a high-quality cat food like Organix Dry Cat Food, which provides all the nutrients your cat needs.
  • For a special treat, you can also try Purina Beyond Wet Cat Food which contains spinach leaves and can satisfy the cravings of even the most finicky cat.

If you have any questions or would like to share a story about your cat and cabbage, please tell us in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

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Phil R.

Phil’s lifelong love of animals began as a young boy growing up with three pet dogs. As a teenager and young adult, Phil spent six years working as a veterinary technician, later earning a B.S. in Animal Science. After college, Phil continued working as a vet tech part-time while caring for a private collection of mountain lions used in wildlife educational programs. During this time, Phil volunteered at the Dallas Zoo and was eventually offered a position as a zookeeper in the zoo’s naturalistic Wilds of Africa area. Phil became the primary keeper for a black leopard named “Grady” and a caracal named “Tut” in the predator/prey exhibit.

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