Can you give your pet cat rice?
Rice is the perfect accompaniment to every food. It goes with chicken, veggies, fish and even pork. And there are just so many ways of preparing rice dish.
But hey, wait a minute. We’re not here to sing praises of rice but rather talk about whether this food is good for our furry felines or not.
Cats are carnivores; not just ordinary carnivores, but obligate carnivores, which means that they need to have a strict meat diet. We are omnivores and consume plants as well as animals. However, what is acceptable to us need not be safe for our felines. Their needs are different and we are here today to discuss whether rice is a good food element to add to their diet or not.
So, can cats eat grains?
The answer is yes. But…
There is no risk associated with feeding rice to your cat. It is not toxic and does not believe myths that say your cat’s stomach will bloat and cause serious health complications. Cats are not known to show any allergic reactions either to eating just rice or rice mixed with other foods.
However, do remember, rice is just a filler. There are no nutritional benefits to feeding your cat rice. At the end of the day, rice is simple carbohydrates and fussy felines have zero interest in this food group. They would rather have protein, and they can get that only from meats.
Does that mean you should keep your cat away from rice? Not necessarily.
Benefits cats can get from eating grains:
While rice may not be up there on the scale of nutritious foods for cats, it still offers a lot of benefits:
- The carbohydrates in rice will give your cat the energy to purr and meow, and to be active all day.
- Rice also contains fiber. And as we all know, fiber helps in digestion, making bowel movements easier for your cat.
- Rice is also easy for cats to digest. Giving your cat soft rice when she has a tummy upset is a good way to help ease her aches and pains. Turns out, rice is great for feline diarrhea and gastrointestinal problems. Your vet will most definitely recommend a bland diet and including soft rice in that is ideal. Boil the rice in chicken broth and toss in a few shreds of chicken for some added protein and flavor. Don’t overdo it because it can still cause constipation.
The harm in eating rice
We can’t stress this enough. A cat’s body is not meant to eat rice. Your cat is an obligate carnivore, and even though rice is not poisonous for her, it is most definitely not the right food to sustain your cat.
Rice lacks some of the most important nutrients needed by your cat’s body, the most important one being taurine which is badly needed by cats. In fact, studies have shown that rice actually inhibits the cat’s body from absorbing adequate taurine.
What happens if cats do not receive enough taurine because of an all-rice diet?
- The cat can suffer from CRD or Central Retinal Degeneration. Taurine is crucial for the function of the retina. Taurine deficiency could cause degeneration of retinal cells leading to visual impairment in the cat. Over time the cat could also lose vision entirely.
- Lack of taurine can also cause enlarged heart or dilated cardiomyopathy. In this scenario, the heart muscles weaken, making it difficult for the organ to pump blood efficiently. In worse cases, it can lead to heart failure. However, it takes an extremely bad diet to bring the cat to this state.
- Lack of taurine, which is a component of bile salts, can result in a large number of mild digestive disorders.
- Your cat needs taurine for the health of her teeth. A taurine deficiency has been shown to cause tooth decay among cats.
- Is your cat pregnant? Then taurine is most crucial to her health and the healthy growth of her babies. Do not skimp on protein when your pet cat is carrying babies, as it is the best source of taurine for your cat, necessary for a normal pregnancy.
- Lastly, feeding your cat just rice will cause her to lose weight as a result of malnourishment. Don’t we all love chubby cats? Even if you are feeding your cat lots of rice, there will be no nutritional gain that the body really needs.
Yes, cats can certainly eat rice. But remember, the main dietary requirement for your cat is lots of protein, which she can get only from an animal-based diet. It is fine to give an occasional rice treat or a snack just to keep her going between meals.
Stick to the food formulated especially for cats. Have you tried feeding your cat BARF