Many people love carrots. They’re a crunchy, healthy snack that you don’t have to feel guilty about eating. But can cats eat carrots? If your kitty looks longingly at the carrot in your hand, there’s good news! Yes, cats can have carrots. Carrots can provide fiber for your kitty and can make a tasty, cooked snack. But they should only be given occasionally as a treat, rather than being the main part of your cat’s diet.
Carrots Are Good for Your Cat
Carrots are packed full of vitamins and minerals, making them quite nutritious for your cat.1 The fiber in carrots is good for your cat as well. If your cat often eats grass outside, he might be seeking fiber. Try giving him a bite of cooked carrot instead.
Here’s a fun fact about carrots. If your cat loves carrots, it’s likely not because of the sweetness. The taste receptors on your cat’s tongue don’t work like humans’ do. Cats can’t taste a sweet flavor.2 If your kitty is begging for a bite of carrot, he might love something else about the taste, or he might just really like the texture.
Don’t Give Your Cat Raw Carrots
You’ll want to give your kitty cooked carrots, not raw or whole carrots. This is because tough, hard-to-chew carrots can be a choking risk for cats.3 Instead of taking the chance, slice up some small bites of carrot and serve them steamed, boiled, or baked. A soft, plain carrot is perfectly safe for your cat and can make a tasty snack.
Cats Can’t Live Off Carrots Alone
Don’t make carrots the main part of your cat’s diet. Cats are obligate carnivores. This means they need animal protein to live, and carrots simply don’t meet that need.4 Cats can’t even convert the beta-carotene found in carrots into vitamin A.5 They get their vitamin A from meat, not veggies. A diet consisting of just vegetables could leave your cat deficient in both vitamins and taurine, an essential amino acid.
Carrots also have carbohydrates and sugar, which are only okay for your kitty in small amounts. All of this simply means that carrots are great as treats, but they shouldn’t be the main course.
Serve the Carrots Plain
If you give your cat a carrot, don’t dress it up with anything. You might enjoy carrots sautéed in butter or dipped in ranch, but all those extras are dangerous for your cat. Butter has more fat than your cat needs, onions and garlic can be toxic to cats, and dairy products can upset your kitty’s stomach. It’s best to avoid all those extra fixings and just give your cat a tasty plain carrot that’s steamed or boiled.
If you don’t have time to cook a carrot or if your cat just doesn’t like carrots very much, then look for a different unique flavor that will delight and surprise her. There are many human foods your cat might like. Try a small bite of broccoli, squash, oatmeal, eggs, or avocado. You can also give your cat a taste of avocado through AvoDerm’s Tuna & Crab Entree in Gravy. This wet food brings together the flavors of tuna, crab, and avocados—something your cat might find surprising and delicious.
Carrots can be a tasty snack for your kitty, as long as they’re cooked. If you’re interested in introducing your cat to other new flavors, here are seven healthy human foods that cats enjoy.
1. Lowrey, Sassafras. “Can Cats Eat Carrots?” Catster, 2 August 2019, https://www.catster.com/cat-food/can-cats-eat-carrots.
2. Biello, David. “Strange but True: Cats Cannot Taste Sweets.” Scientific American, 16 August 2007, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/strange-but-true-cats-cannot-taste-sweets/.
3. Lowrey, Sassafras, https://www.catster.com/cat-food/can-cats-eat-carrots.
4. Meliker, Shayna. “Best Fruits and Vegetables for Cats.” VetStreet, 17 February 2015, http://www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/best-fruits-and-vegetables-for-cats.
5. Schultze, Kymythy R. “Your Cat’s Nutritional Needs: The Basics.” Feline Nutrition Foundation, 1 June 2019, https://feline-nutrition.org/nutrition/your-cats-nutritional-needs-the-basics.