Skip to main content

Why you should be feeding your cat pumpkin

Pumpkin is delicious and full of nutrients that make it a great food for humans — but can cats eat pumpkin? Absolutely. Adding some pumpkin to your cat’s food has many important benefits, and your vet might even recommend you use pumpkin to help relieve certain digestive issues. Is pumpkin toxic to cats? Not at all! In fact, it’s a great food that most cats can eat without any issue. As long as you carefully select the pumpkin that you feed and gradually introduce it to him, giving pumpkin to your cat can result in many important health benefits.

Pumpkin is rich in fiber

One of the top perks of pumpkin is that it’s rich in fiber, and that has multiple health benefits for your kitty. Pumpkin’s high fiber content can complement your cat’s diet, or you might add pumpkin to your cat’s food when your kitty is having certain health issues.

If your cat is constipated, feeding more fiber can help get things moving again. The fiber in pumpkin can help regulate your cat’s digestive system, getting him back to normal and helping him feel more comfortable again. (While it’s great to be able to relieve your cat’s constipation at home, call your vet if the problem doesn’t quickly resolve or if your cat gets increasingly uncomfortable.)

Fiber can also be useful in treating diarrhea. The fiber in pumpkin can help absorb moisture, returning your cat’s bowel movements to a more normal consistency.

Grey cat eating out of a blue bowl indoors

Pumpkin can help your cat feel full

All that fiber in pumpkin makes your cat’s food more bulky, and that means he feels fuller after he eats. This can be helpful for an overweight cat who needs to lose weight. Adding some pumpkin to your cat’s meal means he gets plenty of nutrition but can help satisfy your cat’s appetite so he doesn’t feel the need to overeat or beg after his meal.

Pumpkin is full of good stuff

Pumpkin is full of nutrients that are good for cats, too. It contains vitamins A and C, which together support your cat’s immune system. There’s also zinc in pumpkins, and that promotes a healthy coat and skin. Pumpkin is a nutritious food that makes a great meal topper or supplement to your cat’s diet.

Kitten chewing on the stem of a small pumpkin
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Tips for feeding your cat pumpkin

It’s pretty easy to feed your cat pumpkin.

  • To start, make sure to buy plain canned pumpkin without any added sugars or spices, like you’d find in pumpkin pie filling. You might be wondering if you can feed bits of whole pumpkin to your cat. This usually isn’t the most convenient way to give pumpkin, and it’s important not to feed elements like the skin or pulp. Chances are, most of the pumpkin will go bad before you can feed the whole thing, so it’s usually best to stick to canned pumpkin. Always refrigerate the leftover pumpkin between feedings.
  • You can add pumpkin right on top of your cat’s food, and most cats find pumpkin pretty tasty. It’s best to introduce pumpkin slowly, adding just a teaspoon or two. As your cat gets used to the pumpkin, you may be able to add a little more. Definitely consult with your vet before making dietary changes, and only change your cat’s diet gradually to avoid digestive upset.
  • If your cat goes wild for pumpkin and you end up feeding a bit too much of it, he might experience some diarrhea. If this occurs, it’s best to skip feeding him pumpkin for a few meals until your kitty’s tummy returns to normal.

Adding pumpkin to your cat’s food can be beneficial in many situations. It can help relieve digestive upset and address constipation. It’s also a highly nutritious food, and it might even be a helpful additive to meals for cats who need to lose a little weight. While pumpkin tends to be a relatively safe food, it’s always a good idea to discuss any diet changes with your vet before you make them. Your vet can recommend an appropriate amount of pumpkin to give to your cat and can confirm that your fur baby doesn’t have any underlying health issues that might make feeding pumpkin a bad idea.

Editors' Recommendations

Paige Cerulli
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Paige's work has appeared in American Veterinarian, Business Insider, Healthline, and more. When she's not writing, Paige…
Why do cats open their mouths when they smell? It’s for a really cool reason
The Flehmen response is a little-known reaction in felines that allows them to take in more of their surroundings
A white and tabby cat with their mouth open

Think of the last time you smelled something foul. How did you react? If you're truly made of steel, you may not have reacted at all, but for most people, it's impossible not to flare your nostrils at least. You may have even made a face! All of these reactions are perfectly natural, though humans aren't the only species that reacts to smells, both good and bad. Even your cuddly cat sniffs out the world around them sometimes,
If you've ever noticed your cat reacting to a smell, you're not alone. Some folks have even noticed their cat opening their mouth -- and even sticking out their tongue -- while smelling, but it's not so clear what this means. Is this a reaction to a scent, or is it just a way to get an extra thorough sniff? Whatever it may be, we're here to find out.
Needless to say, you're not alone if you're wondering, "Why do cats open their mouths when they smell?" We've scoured trusted sources to find out, and this is what we know.

Why do cats open their mouths when they smell?
Watching your curious cat open their mouth in a kind of sneer while they get a good sniff of something can raise a lot of questions -- it's understandable. When people do this, it's usually a response to an unpleasant smell, but when cats do this, they're actually trying to get a better understanding of the scent in the air.

Read more
Why do dogs hate cats? The truth behind this age-old grudge
Find out what's behind the dog and cat rivalry that's been around forever
A black pug and a tabby cat sit on a table

Even if you've never been around dogs or cats, you've probably heard about their rough relationship. Cats and dogs are rivals at best and enemies at worst -- right? It sure seems that way when there are thousands of stories and even videos of dogs and cats not getting along. Whether you've witnessed a dog-cat chase with your own eyes or have heard your pup barking at the neighbor's cat at all times of the day, it's only natural to wonder, "Why do dogs hate cats?"
Some dogs couldn't care less if a feline friend stopped by for a visit -- that's true -- but plenty of other pups would go positively bananas. So what's the difference?

Why do dogs hate cats?
While it's easy to assume that dogs and cats "hate" one another because of their vast differences, it's a bit more complicated than that. Even dogs that regularly chase cats don't do so out of malice or hate. It's an instinctual thing!

Read more
What does it mean when cats purr? It’s more scientific than them just being happy
Cat purring is thought to indicate happiness, but it can have a few different meanings
Black and white cat lying on a cat bed on a sofa

Chances are, you've heard that purring is a sign that a cat is happy. And in many cases, that's true. Cats often purr during activities they enjoy, like being petted in that hard-to-reach spot or settling down for a nap in the sun. However, purring can have different meanings and causes than just indicating happiness.

Scientists are still working to understand this feline behavior fully, and new theories about the reasons behind purring continue to evolve. So, why do cats purr, and what does your cat's purr really mean? New information may be coming out every day, but the information that we already have can help you better understand your cat.

Read more