Given the wide variety of human foods available, many cat owners are faced with a decision when it comes to feeding their feline friends. Beets are one such food that frequently appears in this conundrum. Beets are a favorite food of many people due to their vibrant color and distinctive flavor, but can our canine friends also enjoy this earthy treat? Yes, cats can eat beets (beetroot), to put it simply.
A Brief Look at Beets
Before getting too specific about whether or not cats can eat beets, it's important to understand a few basic facts about this root vegetable. Beets, also referred to as beetroot, are in the same family as spinach and chard. They are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Beets have been touted for a number of health benefits for humans, including enhancing digestion and lowering blood pressure, whether they are roasted, boiled, or eaten raw.
The Good, the Bad, and the Colorful of Cats and Bees
The Good: Beets are not poisonous to cats in terms of nutrition alone. Beets can provide fiber and some vitamins if consumed in moderation. To ensure their feline friend receives both nutrition and beauty, some cat owners even use beet juice or beet pulp as a natural food dye to color homemade cat treats!
The Bad: Since cats are obligate carnivores, meat makes up a large portion of their diet. Their digestive systems are not built to process large quantities of vegetables, including beets. Therefore, while a small quantity might not be harmful, regularly giving your cat beets or foods containing beets can cause digestive problems.
Additionally, beets contain a lot of oxalates, which can help cats develop urinary crystals. It is best to avoid giving beets to cats who are prone to urinary tract problems altogether.
The Interesting: If you weren't expecting it, beets can make your cat's urine pink or red, which can be alarming. This color change, though it might startle you, is usually harmless and will disappear as the beets pass through their system. However, it's always a good idea to speak with your vet if you notice the color persists or if there are other signs of distress.
Beet-Gate: A Funny Feline Meeting
Let me now share a humorous story about my own cat, Whiskers, since we were talking about bright surprises earlier. I once set a bowl of freshly cooked beets to cool on the counter. I left for only a short while because I was preoccupied with a phone call. As luck would have it, Whiskers' curiosity got the better of him, and when I got home, I discovered him leaving a pinkish paw print trail on my kitchen tiles and a beet-red paw! The scene resembled a cross between a crime scene and a paint spill; it was straight out of a cartoon. With his beet-colored fur, Whiskers gave me the typical cat-like indifference and seemed to be saying, "Well, you left it there!" Those tiles needed a good scrub, but the thought of Whiskers' beet misadventure still makes me smile.
Suggestions for Serving: If You Must
Make sure you do so safely if you decide to give your cat a small amount of beet:
Moderation is Important: A small piece or two will do just fine. Bear in mind that your cat should not eat beets as a regular food source.
Make sure the beets are clean and pesticide-free before beginning. Cooked beets are preferable to raw ones because they are simpler to digest. Never add seasonings because they can harm cats, especially salt and garlic.
When adding a new food to your cat's diet, always keep an eye out for any negative reactions, such as digestive upset.
Should I Beet or Not?
It's clear that beets don't provide any significant health benefits, especially when compared to the risks, even though the occasional beet may not be harmful to the majority of cats. It might be best to stick with meat-based treats that more closely match cats' natural dietary needs because they are carnivores with little need for vegetables.
Despite the vivid allure of beets tempting you to share them with your furry friend, it's probably best to keep them on your plate and out of your cat's bowl. After all, their happiness and health come first for us. Maybe give your cat a piece of plain cooked chicken the next time you're eating a beet salad instead. Even though it isn't as colorful, it is sure to be a purr-fect hit!
At Love4Cats, our practice involves consistent collaboration with licensed veterinarians and reputable industry experts. However, it's important to note that the content provided on Excited Cats is not intended as veterinary advice. While we strive to enhance your understanding of feline care, the information presented on this blog should not replace professional veterinary guidance.