Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Purrfect 10: Things To Know About Pumpkin & Your Cat's Health

We love reading and researching anything and everything about cats, and wanted to find a fun and unique way to share the interesting facts we learn with you! Since top 10 lists are very popular in the blogosphere, we created The Purrfect 10 as a way to present 10 educational or fascinating tidbits about a wide variety of cat-related topics, everything from health issues to cat breeds to famous felines.

October and November at my house is basically devoted to seeing if I can survive on nothing but pumpkin. Baked goods, specialty coffees, ice cream...if it's pumpkin I'm going to try it, much to the rest of my family's chagrin.

The other night I was noshing on a container of Chobani’s Pumpkin Spice Greek Yogurt when Mudpie started sniffing around. (That girl loves her yogurt.) I know pumpkin is very nutritious for humans and animals alike, but I've never had a cat show any interest in it. So before I started toting Mudpie around in her Sleepypod carrier on my next trip to Starbucks for a pumpkin Frappuccino (just kidding!), I decided to do a little research on what cat parents need to know about adding pumpkin to their pet's diet.

The Do's and Don'ts

1) The most important thing to remember is that you want to purchase pure, canned pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling which is loaded with spices, sugar, and other additives. You can cook and puree your own pumpkin as well. Either can be fed to your cat directly or mixed in with their wet food.

2) Parts of the pumpkin you won't want to feed to your pet are the stem (rough on the digestive tract), the gooey pulp, and the skin which also won't digest well. Raw pumpkin is not recommended either.

3) Don't cut up your carved Halloween pumpkin. It's been sitting around for days and has likely been collecting mold and bacteria.

4) Pumpkin seeds can be fed to cats, but they need to be cleaned, roasted and ground up before being added to their food.

5) If kept at room temperature for an extended period of time pumpkin will spoil. If you plan to use it quickly keep it covered in the refrigerator. If you plan to use it more slowly, fill an ice cube tray with spoonfuls of fresh or canned pumpkin and freeze it. Now you have perfectly sized portions when you need it!

The Benefits

6) Pumpkin is nutrient-rich and beneficial for many of your cat's bodily systems, containing potassium, calcium, iron, zinc, vitamins A, C, and E, as well as carotenoids such as beta-carotene and lutein.

7) Fiber can help with constipation in cats, and pumpkin has 3-5 grams per cup! The bulk acts as a laxative by stimulating the gastrointestinal walls to contract, resulting in a bowel movement. For this reason pumpkin also works well in relieving hairballs.

8) Conversely, the fiber in pumpkin can also help with diarrhea by absorbing excess water and firming up the stools. Whether you're using pumpkin to treat either constipation or diarrhea, start with a half to one teaspoon and increase with caution. You don't want your cat to go from one extreme to the other!

9) Pumpkin is great for your cat's weight loss regimen too! The addition of a half to one teaspoon to her meal means fewer calories, but the fiber promotes the feeling of a full tummy.

10) Looking for new ways to combat dehydration? Pumpkin flesh contains about 90% water!

As with any change you make to your cat's diet, it's always wise to consult with your veterinarian first. They can best advise you to the correct amount and frequency for your pet's needs.

Have you ever added pumpkin to your cat's food? 
Did you find it to be beneficial?

flickr creative commons/~Pawsitive~Candie_N
flickr creative commons/Ana Rodríguez Carrington
flickr creative commons/Christina


Summer at sparklecat.com said...

I love pumpkin! But my human says I'm fine and don't need it as a supplement. She used to give it to Binga, but she didn't like it and it made her eat less of her food, so she stopped.

Mickey's Musings said...

We have not tried pumpkin.
These tips sound pawsome,especially tip #7.Georgia could try that one ;)
Purrs Georgia,Julie and JJ

The Menagerie Mom said...

I wish even one of the furbabies around here would eat pumpkin! It can offer so many health benefits, but not even a single one of them likes it. Thank you for sharing these wonderful tips with us, Mudpie and Melissa!

The Island Cats said...

The mom has tried to add pumpkin to our food, but we won't eat it. Maybe because we know it's good for us. :)

Patricia T said...

Interesting. Thanks, Melissa (and Mudpie)!

Priscilla King said...

Heather says "Eat that pepita meal when the human sprinkles it on top of the yummy greasy goo inside a little flat can. Don't think you like it? All the more for ME."

Eastside Cats said...

We mixed organic canned pumpkin into Angel and Chuck's meals for years, but finally gave it up because the only thing that's really helped Chuck's intestinal issues is budesonide. However, this gives me an idea about The 'O' Cats food!

Cat and DOG Chat With Caren said...

OMC Cody used to be the KING of Pumpkin MOL! First, he had to have it years ago when he was blocked in his bowels......then...for a number of years he used to get hot spots (allergies which thankfully I am thinking he must have grown out of because he hasn't had a flare up in about a year)........during that time he was on Prednisonol a few times a year. Pred is known for causing blockages so every time he was on Pred I added pumpkin to his food (just a tiny amount approx a teaspoon or less), worked like a charm! Great post! catchatwithcarenandcody

Momma Kat and Her Bear Cat said...

Fantastic post! I've long heard anecdotal stories of cats and pumpkin ... and always meant to do more research (which never happens). I truly love your posts - there are more than a few that I've saved (the one of vaccinations comes to mind first) - thank you for being such a good source of information on keeping out kitties healthy!

pilch92 said...

I have tried, but Joanie is the only one that will eat it.

LP said...

Our Mama uses pumpkin to help both the cats and dogs here when they have tummy problems. It does help and she likes to use natural sources that help our health :)

the critters in the cottage xo

Cathy Keisha said...

I love the pumpkin soup in my Weruva but hate pumpkin chunks in any cat food. Go figger. TW said she's glad she doesn't like pumpkin spice stuff cos she read stores charge a lot more for them. One thing she goes love is DD's pumpkin muffins.

ccl said...

My two cats won't eat pumpkin. Occasionally, some of my fosters will eat it, but not often. It's unfortunate because it's good for firming up soft stools (which is pretty common in foster kittens). Fortunately, my current litter of 7 fosters have eaten pumpkin in their wet food, which did help.

Three Chatty Cats said...

Yep, we've added pumpkin before - for both our cats and our dog! And I'm like you, I'll try pumpkin anything! Although there's definitely some things that I don't end up liking.