Broccoli is a green plant in the cabbage family. It has a large flowering head, stalk, and leaves which are eaten as a vegetable. The plant whose origin is said to be Italy bears resemblance to cauliflower. In the course of the last 2 centuries, the plant was imported and is now available in most parts of the world including North America and Europe.
Broccoli is rich in fiber, various nutrients, and minerals which makes it a very nutritious vegetable. According to the Preventive Nutrition and Food Science Journal published in 2015, broccoli contains antioxidant and anticancer compounds. The nutritious vegetable can be eaten either raw or cooked. The most popular method of preparation is steaming, stir-frying, and microwaving as it boiling diminishes some nutrients.
All these give a reason why you are most likely to find broccoli in our kitchens where the feline may come across it. Although cats are smart animals they cannot distinguish between toxic and non-toxic plants. With a good number of human foods known to be extremely poisonous, cat owners often wonder if broccoli is safe for cats to eat.
Is broccoli bad for your cat?
Broccoli is not toxic to cats. Notably, it does not appear on the list of human foods unsafe for cats or the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal’s toxic plant list. Cats, being obligate carnivorous need to remain healthy by protein supplied by meat. Their digestive system is hence not designed to handle much of plants. For this reason, broccoli should be fed to your kitty in moderation as a snack.
The antioxidants in broccoli prevent cell damages protecting them against free radicals. The sulfur-rich compound supports heart health, protects against brain damage, and has anti-diabetic properties.
Broccoli is a source of nutrients such as phosphorus, zinc, and iron which are all essential for various functions in the cat’s body.
Health Benefits of Broccoli
Lower cholesterol levels
When ingested, broccoli uses its fiber to bind with bile acids in the digestive tract to extract cholesterol out of the body. This action ensures the cholesterol levels are kept at a minimum hence keeping your kitty in better shape.
Good for Digestion
Broccoli contains fiber and is a source of roughage and both nutrients encourage bowel movement giving your feline a healthy digestive system. Cats normally eat grass when they experience stomach upset. In case you observe this behavior replace the grass with broccoli for better results as too much grass may lead to indigestion, diarrhea, and more stomach bugs.
The anti-oxidants contained in broccoli make it one of the healthiest vegetables with the power to prevent cancer by suppressing tumor growth which is the root cause of cancer development. The antioxidants also promote the feline’s immune system for optimal health.
How to feed broccoli to your cat
When feeding broccoli to your cat you should adhere to the following guidelines;
Broccoli should be fresh and carefully washed to avoid stomach bugs as a result of feeding on stale and dirty broccoli.
It should be cut into small pieces to avoid choking. The large stems should also be eliminated from the cat’s diet.
Crunchy broccoli is not ideal for feeding your kitty. Their teeth are designed to tear apart flesh and it could be difficult to chew the crunchy broccoli.
Other ingredients like seasonings and flavorings should be avoided as they are toxic to cats. Salt should be avoided as well since cats do not require sodium in their diets.
Both the broccoli leaves and stems are safe for consumption and are known to have a high number of anticancer and antioxidants compounds. Their digestibility is determined by their preparation method. Steamed, unseasoned broccoli offers the most nutrients while reducing the risk of digestive upset and choking.
If you are introducing broccoli to your kitty for the first time, do it in small portions at first to see how your cat responds then increase the portions gradually to ensure it is well incorporated in their diet.
Frequently asked questions
Is raw broccoli good for cats?
Although you may find some cats indulging in raw broccoli, it is not the best option for them. Raw broccoli has all the nutritional value but it is tougher for cats to digest and it can quickly cause gastrointestinal problems and in some extreme cases could lead to kidney failure. It is recommended that you feed only cooked broccoli to cats because the tough plant fiber has been softened and broken down.
Why do cats love Broccoli?
A few cats are drawn to broccoli due to curiosity while others are drawn to it as a calming method for an upset stomach. Being rich in fiber and roughage, broccoli enables better bowel movement hence a healthier digestive system.
Can cats eat boiled Broccoli?
Cats digest boiled broccoli better since it is well cooked. According to a journal published by Zhejiang University, boiling broccoli leads to loss of nutrients which include; Vitamin C, soluble proteins, and chlorophyll. Glucosinolates, a compound linked with the prevention of cancer also reduces once broccoli is boiled. It is clear therefore that although boiled broccoli is the easiest to digest, it is the least nutritional. Before feeding it to your kitty, it is paramount that you first determine the benefits you are trying to achieve.
Broccoli is safe for cats to eat due to its non-toxic element and the adequate health benefits it offers to felines and feeding your kitty small portions occasionally can prove to be beneficial to their health. Even though broccoli is safe for cats, it should be given on top of an already healthy diet as too much broccoli can lead to gastrointestinal problems. Ensure you watch any effects that your cat may experience when they eat broccoli for the first time. These acute reactions include difficulty in breathing, seizures, or loss of consciousness. Should you observe any of the symptoms, contact your vet immediately.