Can Cats Eat Broccoli? Is It Safe?

Russell Cargill

“Can cats eat broccoli?”

You may have noticed from time to time your kitties munching on your houseplant or wanting to try some delicious green veggies like spinach, lettuce, or broccoli. 

But, can they actually eat vegetables safely?

The simple answer is yes they can but, there are some exceptions. According to the ASPCA, broccoli is not on the list of toxic plants.

Due to the balanced nature of high-quality, nutritionally complete protein-based commercial diets, it’s not necessary to supplement your cat’s food with vegetables.

Let’s explore more below.

Can Cats Eat Broccoli?

The good news is yes, they can. Broccoli is one of the several vegetables and fruits that are okay for our feline friends to eat. 

Cats can consume this delicious green veggie without putting their health at risk in moderation.

Broccoli is non-toxic nor going to harm your cat. With that said, cats are obligate carnivores and don’t need to consume plants. 

But, vegetables can sometimes be used as a treat to help to alleviate an upset stomach or discomfort.

Whatever the reason, these plants and grasses have very little nutritional benefits to cats. Even if these vegetables contain a lot of dietary fiber and a good source of roughage.

Cats lack the digestive enzymes (we could say they don’t really have it! ) to break down raw plant matter. 

That’s often why you’ll see cats eating grass or cat-friendly plants. This only helps them throw up the unwanted hairballs afterward, gross I know!

Are There Any Health Benefits?

Broccoli is packed full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant properties.

A research study from 1997, by Johns Hopkins Medical institution, has shown that Broccoli sprouts are a highly concentrated source of sulforaphane. 

Sulforaphane is a chemical compound that helps induce anticarcinogenic protective enzymes which reduce the risk of your cat developing cancer.

But, as mentioned earlier, cats aren’t 100% able to digest and absorb plant-based food like a human. 

To summarize, cats consume some plants just to help bowel movement which gets rid of undesirable hairballs.

What Are The Dangers Of Broccoli?

Although a cat may gain some health benefits from eating broccoli, there are certain precautions to be considered.

First of all, human food is not suitable for cats, especially a vegan diet. Their gut anatomy is different from ours (obviously!). 

Feeding them unchopped raw broccoli could cause some real problems. 

For example, choking, stomach pain, stomach bug, gastric ulcer, or even acute gastritis.

Be extra careful cooking food for your cat. If you choose to give them some vegetables, make sure they are always cooked and unseasoned. As you may or may not know, high sodium intake could cause kidney disease in feline animals.

Pro tip: Generally, cats drink very little water  High sodium intake can increase kidney workload, especially Nephrons, which will lead to kidney failure eventually. 

Can Cats Eat Raw Or Cooked Broccoli?

The simple answer is yes, they can eat both raw and cooked broccoli. 

Raw broccoli can potentially cause a choking hazard for cats. Along with this, it can cause gastrointestinal problems like gastritis, gastric ulcer, etc. 

This is why it’s better to chop vegetables into small pieces and cook them properly before giving it to your cat. 

This will ensure it’s easy-to-digest and will help to avoid choking hazards.

Always consult your vet when thinking about introducing new foods to your cats diet.

How Should You Serve Broccoli To Your Cat?

Make sure to feed them unseasoned broccoli with no other herbs, butter, oil, or SALT. 

It’s widely known in the veterinary industry that felines are susceptible to develop kidney failure compared to other animals. In fact, 10% of cats older than 10 and 30% of cats older than 15 will likely develop some sort of kidney problem.

So, seasoning food especially, broccoli in salt should be avoided!

Pro tip: High sodium food leads to higher renal blood flow. Constantly increasing their natural sodium intake amount could end up damaging the glomerulus (Network of vessels in the kidney).

How much is too much?

If you make broccoli the main part of your cat’s diet,  there is a chance that it will cause some gastrointestinal issues or even worse, nutrition deficiency diseases. 

Cats will never want a full vegetarian diet nor need one. They thrive on a meat protein diet!

If you still feel the need to add vegetables into your cat’s diet, it’s recommended you do so over a period of time. 

Slowly add small amounts to their regular diet. Keep in mind, no evidence indicates a cats’ stomach will respond to a new food without any complications.

Whenever you feed your cat new food, keep an eye out for any symptoms afterward. 

If vomiting or diarrhea occurs or they seem under the weather, it may be time to call a vet.

Additional Cat-Safe Veggies

Here is a list of healthy options that are safe to share with your feline companions. 

  • Asparagus (steamed)
  • Carrots (steamed)
  • Winter squash
  • Green beans 
  • Peas
  • Pumpkin

Conclusion On Can Cats Eat Broccoli 

Broccoli is non-toxic and edible for cats. The best way to safely prepare broccoli is by boiling/steaming it and cutting it into small pieces. 

Otherwise, they’ll have digestive issues after eating unchopped raw broccoli.

Cats don’t need vegetables or fruits for a balanced diet, but some cats do seem to enjoy them which can make fruits and veggies healthy yummy snack.

At the end of the day, your cat is still a true carnivore. Don’t feed them high amounts of any vegetables or fruits. 

If you decide to replace your cats diet with plant-based foods only they’ll miss out on the essential nutrients of formulated quality cat food

Frequently Asked Questions

Can cats eat Chinese broccoli?

Yes, they can eat any kind of broccoli!

It’s non-poisonous nor harmless to your furry friends.

Feed them with regular cat food and give a very small amount of this low-calorie veggie as a healthy treat.

Can Cats Eat Broccoli Stems?

Yes, they can. Both broccoli leaves or stems are safe for cats to eat if it’s boiled or steamed.

To make it easier to digest, you’ll need to chop them into small pieces, then boil/steam them until they soften. Do not season with salt, butter or any herbs. 

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