Can cats eat Spinach?

Posted by Sep 16, 2016 |

Many cat owners happily feed their furry friends human food without having any considerations. However, there are a great number of foods that are not only bad but toxic to cats. On the other hand, cats are carnivorous, so they are not just choosey about what they consume, but their digestive system is very different compared to humans and incapable of digesting some types of foods. To avoid any dangerous damage, it is very important to know what is good and what is bad for cats to eat.

Thinking about giving your cat some healthy vegetables and wondering which one is safe to feed her? People tend to think that whatever is healthy and beneficial for us, humans, it can be healthy for our little friends as well. You have most probably heard already that spinach is great for your health because of its nutritional qualities. But is it a healthy option for your cat as well? Can cats even eat spinach? Read on to find out the answer with some additional details like its benefits and risks.

Can cats eat Spinach

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Can cats eat Spinach? – Yes

If you are wondering: is spinach ok for cats, then I have good news for you. Yes, cats can eat spinach, and when it comes to portions, you don’t really have to worry much. Just wash it thoroughly and right away it is ready to be offered as a healthy little treat for your cat to snack on.

However, always remember, cats are carnivores, so they need mostly meat. Fruits and vegetables, therefore, can be offered only as a treat so please do not make spinach a regular part of your cat’s daily diet.

Caution – Important note: Any cats with urinary or kidney problems and those whose stomach gets irritated easily should definitely avoid eating spinach as the leaves contain oxalates that can cause bladder stones in a cat’s urinary tract.

About cats and spinach

Spinach, an edible flowering plant, was first grown in Persia before spreading across Europe by the 12th century and then becoming popular in the rest of the world.

Low in fat and even lower in cholesterol, spinach is well known for its nutritional qualities. It is full of vitamins and minerals. This green leafy vegetable is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C as well as being a great source of vitamin B and vitamin E. Spinach has good levels of minerals as well, including magnesium, manganese, iron, calcium and potassium. It also has a moderate dietary fiber content.

In addition to these great ingredients, spinach also contains quite a high amount of oxalate.

Spinach is considered to be one of the healthiest vegetables for us, humans. But what about cats? As we know, felines’ digestive system is different from ours, so can they get any health benefits from this leafy green snack like us? Let’s have a closer look.

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Benefits – Is spinach good for cats?

As mentioned above, cats can eat spinach. However, do they get any benefit out of it?

For humans, the possible health benefits of consuming spinach include lowering blood pressure, reducing inflammation, maintaining bone health, improving blood glucose control in diabetics and lowering the risk of asthma and cancer. Being such a healthy veggie, it is not surprising if you want to share it with your pet cat hoping to make her even healthier.

If you are thinking about giving your cat some spinach as a healthy treat, do not hesitate because just like it is good for us, spinach is good for cats as well.

Full of vitamins and minerals, spinach can help to regulate the stool movement and protect the digestive tract from inflammation damages in cats. It can also boost the immune system and lessen the effects of aging. If a cat is prone to be overweight, adding some spinach to her diet will help her stay lean.

In addition to the great health benefits, replacing your cat’s high fat packed treats with healthy snacks like spinach would be one of the most beneficial things you can do for your beloved pet to make her just a little bit healthier. However, do not forget that it should not be a regular part of her daily diet and avoid giving to cats that have a history of urinary or kidney problems.

Any risks – Is spinach bad for cats?

As it turns out, feeding your cat spinach once in a while is quite a healthy habit, and it does not carry much risk.

However, spinach leaves do contain a reasonable amount of oxalate that is believed to contribute to kidney problems or bladder stones especially if the cat has urinary tract infections quite frequently.

Another problem with oxalic acid is that it can cause calcium and iron deficiencies in the body. However, a lot of spinach would have to be consumed to have any sort of adverse effect on a healthy body. Though, if your cat often suffers from urinary or kidney problems or regularly gets her stomach irritated, she should definitely avoid eating spinach altogether.

Another important risk to be concerned about is that just like humans cats may have allergies to certain foods as well.

If it is your cat’s first time to eat spinach, be careful, start with a very tiny amount and monitor her reactions. Watch out for the possible allergic signs like vomiting or diarrhea. If your cat is experiencing any digestive issues, stop feeding it to her. However, if you cannot notice anything out of ordinary and your cat is enjoying her little treat, feel free to give her spinach occasionally as a treat.

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How much spinach is safe for cats?

If you are ever in that situation where you just caught your cat having some pieces of spinach, you don’t have to panic. Cats can eat spinach without any strict restriction on the portion. Occasional leafy greens are even good for cats.

However, don’t overfeed your cat with vegetables. While they can replace unhealthy packaged pet snacks for good, please remember that cats are carnivores, so they do not really need plant material.

That being said, spinach is a great treat for cats occasionally, but it should not replace their meal. Also, it is best not to make spinach a regular part of a cat’s daily diet. While a leaf or two once in a while is just fine for a healthy cat, in the long term large ingestion of spinach can increase the chance of crystal formation in the urinary tract.

In addition, don’t forget that cats with a history of urinary or kidney problems and those whose stomach gets irritated easily should avoid eating spinach altogether as the leaves contain oxalates.

Do cats like spinach?

As stated above, cats can eat spinach. It is even good for their health. Though whether they want it or like it is a completely different story.

Cats are generally known for being particular about their food, and being carnivorous they may have no interest in vegetables at all. However, sometimes they like to experiment with unfamiliar food. In addition, each cat is unique and has her own likes and dislikes. So whether your cat likes it or not it is completely unpredictable.

If you want to know if your cat likes it, offer some spinach to her and monitor her reaction. Keep in mind that just like us; cats may have allergies to certain foods. Watch out for the signs of allergy. If your cat shows no sign of any illness and enjoys this healthy little treat, you can give her every now and then.

Important reminder: Any cats with urinary or kidney problems or regular stomach irritation should avoid having spinach altogether.


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What cats really need

Unlike humans, cats are classified as obligate carnivores. So just because we need plenty of vegetables in our diet to be healthy, it does not mean that cats do as well. Their digestive system is different and so are their nutritional needs.

Therefore, cats do not require vegetables like spinach to balance their nutrition. Instead, they need animal protein and other nutrients to lead a healthy life which spinach do not offer.

Although cats are meat-eaters, when they are in the wild, they do eat grass and ingest vegetable matter from their prey’s intestine. So some occasional leafy greens are good snacks and even can be beneficial. Just don’t overdo it and do not make it a regular part of your cat’s daily diet.

To be short and to the point: feed your cat high-quality cat food and plenty of fresh water and occasionally treat her with some healthy spinach.


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Conclusion – Can cats eat Spinach?

People tend to think without having any second thoughts that whatever is healthy for us, it can be good for our cats as well. However, there are a lot of human foods that are not only bad but toxic to cats. Luckily, spinach is not one of them.

Spinach, a leafy green full of great nutrients and vitamins, carries numerous health benefits to cats. Though, this does not mean that we should feed our little pet spinach continuously. Cats are carnivores, so they need mostly meat. Vegetables, therefore, can be offered only occasionally as a treat.

Please do not make spinach a regular part of your cat’s daily diet, and remember, cats that have a history of urinary or kidney problems should not be fed with spinach at all.