can cats eat peas

Can Cats Eat Peas?

We all grow up hearing that it’s important to eat our veggies. But is the same true for cats?

Not all cats will enjoy the taste of vegetables, as cats are carnivores that thrive on and enjoy a diet mostly made up of meat. However, some cats really enjoy a vegetable now and again! Peas are a great vegetable treat for your cat, especially if given in moderation.

Peas and other vegetables can be a great addition to your cats diet! But as with most human foods, there are a few things to take into consideration before adding peas to your kitty’s diet.

In this article, we’ll cover the following:

  • Cats and Peas- What You Need to Know
  • Can Cats Eat Peas?
  • Can Kittens Eat Peas?
  • Benefits/Negatives of Feeding Cats Peas
  • Alternatives to Peas for Cats

Cats and Peas, What You Need to Know

Believe it or not, cats in the wild consume a fair amount of vegetation every time they hunt. While it’s a little gross to think about, cats that survive by hunting (mice, other small rodents, birds, etc.) often inadvertently ingest the gut contents of their prey.

That’s why our house cats, which are actually very genetically close to their wild cousins, can tolerate a certain amount of fruits and vegetables in their diet.

While not all vegetables are good for cats (mushrooms and avocados come to mind) peas are generally a safe and tasty vegetarian treat!

This cat doesn’t seem particularly enthusiastic about his veggies…but maybe your cat will be!

Can Cats Eat Peas?

They can! While not all cats will actually like peas, when given in moderation peas can be a healthy addition to a feline diet. Peas are an especially good idea for tubby cats that are on a bit of a diet.

Rather than giving your cat a caloric meaty cat treat, you can reward them with a pea or two. If your cat likes peas, you’ve found a low calorie treat for them to enjoy! If your cat doesn’t like peas but you’d still like to give them a low-calorie treat, there are plenty of healthy, single ingredient options.

Peas are a relatively sweet vegetable, but they don’t contain a ton of sugar (which isn’t great for cats). Peas are healthy and include a large variety of vitamins and minerals, such as manganese, vitamin K, fiber, vitamin B1, copper, vitamin C, and phosphorus.

This cat is serious about peas!

Can Kittens Eat Peas?

It’s not usually a good idea to get too creative with your kitten’s diet. Kittens have much different dietary needs than adult cats. They’re still growing, they have a ton more energy, and it’s vitally important for them to receive all the nutrients that they need. Your best bet is to feed your kitten a high quality kitten food.

However, giving your kitten a pea or two likely won’t hurt them, and you’re setting up your kitten to be a bit of an adventurous eater. Kittens who are exposed to a variety of healthy foods when they are young are more likely to accept different things when they get older.

That is why some vets tell you to feed your kitten a mix of dry and wet food- it’s good to get them used to a variety of different textures and tastes, lest they become picky as adults!

If you want to give your kitten a taste of peas, here are a few simple guidelines you can follow:

  1. Only give them a few peas at a time. Moderation is key when giving kittens vegetables. Offer your kitten one or two peas as a treat.
  2. Monitor them for any adverse reaction. If your kitten vomits or has diarrhea after eating peas, don’t give them peas again! Watch them carefully to make sure the condition doesn’t worsen, as diarrhea especially can be dangerous to young kittens.

Benefits/Negatives of Feeding Cats Peas

The best thing about peas for cats is that they are very low calorie, and can be a suitable treat for cats that are watching their figure. If you want to treat your cat but are worried about giving them calorie laden commercial cat treats, a cooked pea or two is a great solution!

Peas also contain plenty of vitamins and minerals that are a great supplement to your cat’s diet. Because wild cats routinely ingest small amounts of vegetation like grass, your cat should have no problem tolerating small amounts of safe vegetables, such as peas.

You’ll want to take a few precautions though, such as not feeding your cat too many peas. Simply dumping half a can of peas into your cat’s food bowl isn’t a good idea. Too much fiber, and too many veggies, can cause digestive distress in cats. Peas should primarily be fed as a treat!

You also want to be careful to purchase only bland, unsalted peas. Fresh peas are your best bet, but there are some canned options as well.

These cats are certainly enjoying their peas- but not all cats can tolerate this many! So, be sure to use your judgment with your cat at home.

Alternatives to Peas for Cats

If your cat doesn’t like peas (and let’s face it, some cats won’t) there are other veggies you can try giving your cat. But if your cat isn’t a fan of peas, one of nature’s most innocuous vegetables, it’s likely they won’t enjoy anything green that you try to sneak into their food.

If your main reason for offering your cat peas is the fact that they are very low in calories, you can try low calorie treats for cats. There are treats on the market that have one calorie per treat! Cats generally are more receptive to treats with fish or meat in them, and lots of low calorie treats include both!

So, Can Cats Eat Peas?

If your cat is a pea lover, you can feel good about feeding peas to them. As long as you do so in moderation (peas should never be a primary ingredient in your cat’s diet) your cat can safely enjoy these vitamin packed, low calorie treats.

Here are a few reminders about peas for cats:

  1. Only feed cooked peas to cats. Raw peas are more likely to cause an upset stomach.
  2. Moderation! Only offer peas as treats, and make sure they agree with your cat before giving them too many.
  3. Only offer them peas that have been boiled or steamed in water. Don’t give your cat peas that have been salted or otherwise seasoned, as any tasty additions could be harmful to your cat.

If your cat seems to have issues digesting peas, just try giving them treats like this instead. If you’re also wondering if cats can eat corn, you can find out here.

Is your cat crazy for peas? Do you give them as treats because your cat loves them, or because they’re on a diet (or both?) Have questions about safely feeding peas to your kitty? Let us know in the comments!

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Amanda K.

After moving to New York City from Rome, Italy, I began working in the nonprofit world. Despite my day job, my passion has always been animals, especially dogs and cats, and writing. What better way to combine the two? I've been a pet owner for 15 years, and my menagerie includes dogs, cats, hamsters and the occasional hermit crab. My beloved cat, Mozart, who I found as a newborn kitten, sparked my love for felines and is now nearly 15 years old. I am an enthusiastic volunteer at the local ASPCA, where I enjoy spending time with the cats and cleaning up after the dogs. I've been writing about pet ownership and care for the past five years.

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