Can Cats Eat Potatoes, Carrots, Broccoli, and Other Vegetables?

It is a known fact that consuming vegetables has many health benefits and contains essential vitamins. Dieticians and doctors recommend a daily intake of greens for fiber health. Vegetables also help with gastrointestinal issues of both animals and humans.

Meanwhile, vegetables in a cat’s diet are enigmatic. Many sources advise feeding cats raw meat; some advise on pure meat diets of cooked and raw animals, while some believe that a complete diet of meat and complementary food is the best.

While a pure meat diet is the best for cats, can they also benefit from vegetables? Know more below which vegetables your cats can and can’t eat, the nutritional benefits of vegetables to cats, and how a plant-based vegetable diet can make cats healthier.

The Natural Diet of Cats

In the wild, cats are obligate carnivores and rely solely on meat. Their natural hunting instincts provide them with a wide variety of animals that supply all the necessary nutrients and vitamins they require to survive. 

Due to this evolutionary trait, cats can only acquire certain amino acids and vitamins that can only be obtained through consuming animal flesh. These are:

  • Taurine
  • Arginine
  • Cysteine
  • Methionine
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Niacin

These elements play an essential role in a cat’s overall well-being. It is vital not to ignore or substitute them for their daily diets. However, cats are easily adjusted to new ingredients, and complementary diets are most welcome to domesticated cats.

Vegetables That Cats Can Eat

It is essential for cats to have a well-balanced diet that includes fiber. It helps in digestion and promotes good gastrointestinal health, crucial to maintaining overall feline wellness.

Even though animal proteins do not provide enough dietary fiber, most cat food manufacturers now include vegetable fibers. While there are many options for plant-based nutrition, such as snacks and dry food, pet owners should consider feeding cats fresh vegetables instead.

Here’s a table of healthy veggies that can benefit your feline friends, along with information about their benefits and proper serving suggestions.

Vegetable Vitamins and Health Benefits
Carrots Contain vitamins K, A, B6, potassium, beta-carotene, and dietary fibers.
Corn Has vitamin B and fiber.
Cruciferous Vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage) Rich in fiber and vitamin C.
Potatoes and  Sweet Potatoes Excellent source of potassium, iron, vitamin C, B6, and magnesium source.
Pumpkins Contains vitamins A. C, E, fiber, iron, and potassium.
Peas Contain vitamins B, K, and C, iron, potassium, copper, and thiamin.
Cucumbers Contains fiber, magnesium, and low in carbohydrates. May also freshen breaths
Asparagus Contains vitamin C, E, K, antioxidants, fiber, folate, copper, and potassium.


  • Pros: Rich in dietary fibers for bowel movements.
  • Cons: Potential choking hazard when served raw.

Serving Size: ⅛ cup, peeled, sliced, or shredded, and boiled or steamed. It can be added to wet or dry food or as snacks.


  • Pros: Carbohydrates and dietary fiber for good bowel movement.
  • Cons: Choking hazard when served as a cob. Avoid giving corn in cobs and cook before serving.

Serving Size: ¼ to 2 tablespoons, boiled or grilled, remove the cob and only feed the kernels.

Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Cabbage

  • Pros: Rich in antioxidants, soothe upset stomachs, and promote healthy bowel movements.
  • Cons: Cook before serving as it can cause stomach irritations when eaten raw.

Serving Size:¼ cup or two florets for cauliflowers and broccoli, chopped and steamed.

Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes

  • Pros: Digestible proteins for gut health.
  • Cons: Avoid giving to diabetics cats as this can raise blood sugar.

Serving Size: ½ to 3 tablespoons, peeled, boiled, mashed, or baked. 


  • Pros: Low-calorie and fiber-rich, aiding in regulating bowel movements and weight management. It also has preventative properties against parasites.
  • Cons: High in calories.

Serving Size: Sliced, cooked, or boiled. Gradually give one tablespoon to cats until reaching 1/4th cup per day when needed.


  • Pros: Supports healthy bowel movement and digestion.
  • Cons: Do not feed to cats with kidney issues; it can cause uric acid to rise.

Serving Size: ½ to one tablespoon, boiled or steamed.


  • Pros: Good source of hydration and lowers blood pressure.
  • Cons: Choking hazard when served whole.

Serving Size: ½ cup peeled and sliced, served raw.


  • Pros: High in dietary fiber and helps stomach relief from diarrhea and constipation.
  • Cons: Contains high alkaline content, give sparingly to cats.

Serving Size: One spear, boiled or steamed.

Although vegetables can be a healthy snack for cats, they should not replace their regular meat diet. Feeding your cat a small amount of vegetables as treats or filler snacks is recommended to supplement their overall nutrition. Limiting vegetable intake once weekly is crucial and should only make up 5-10% of their daily diet.

If your cat experiences negative symptoms after consuming vegetables, it may indicate allergies or sensitivities; in this case, stop feeding them vegetables immediately and consult with your cat’s veterinarian before reintroducing it to their diet.

Overall Benefits of Vegetables in Cat Diets

There are limited studies that promote the well-being of cats with pure vegetable and plant-based diets; many sources suggest it as a supplementary or complementary diet for cats with specific disorders such as gastrointestinal illnesses and weight problems.

Recent research below indicates the various benefits of vegetables to improve a cat’s health.

Weight Loss And Food Intake

Vegetables and plant-based ingredients are considered fillers in cat foods—these filler foods aid in maintaining proper food intake without jeopardizing a cat’s diet. A study released by Dodd, S., Dewey, C., Khosa, D. et al concluded that vegetable-based pet food effectively counters and manages food-seeking behaviors common in overweight cats. When stored in puzzle feeders, these snacks help limit food intake and help combat weight loss.

Filler food’s prevent “diet sabotage” an overweight cat’s dietary plan, making them effective treats for cats who tend to be vocal and destructive when not given enough food. However, flavor enhancers are still needed to make it more palatable.

Cats fed on vegetarian or vegan diets have better body scores and ideal body conditions than those fed meat diets. They are also less likely to suffer from obesity and gastrointestinal and hepatic diseases.

Protein Absorption And Digestion

Protein is one of a cat’s main nutrient source. They get it from consumption of animal sources like meat, fish, poultry and dairy products. However, not all cats have sufficient nutrients to digest protein properly. 

In a study published in 2020 by Hill’s Pet Nutrition, cats’ protein breakdown, absorption, and overall digestibility of food increases when their diets include plant-based, vegetable ingredients. 

They digest protein matter from meat, wet, and dry food more effectively when their diets include plant fiber. These ingredients also have significant effects on the cat’s gut health.

What Vegetables Cats Can’t Eat

However healthy vegetables can be, some are toxic and severely affect cats. Cat owners must be aware of these vegetables to avoid feeding them to their pets.

Here are some toxic vegetables, their toxins, and the symptoms your cat might exhibit when ingesting them.

Vegetable Why it’s toxic Symptoms
Onions (dried, cooked, raw, powdered) Contain n-propyl disulfide that damages red blood cells, causing anemia. Vomiting, diarrhea, red-brown urine, sudden weight loss, weakness, and depression.
Garlic (dried, cooked, raw, powdered) Contains n-propyl disulfide, which causes anemia and intestinal problems. Lethargy, red-brown urine, yellowing of skin, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Green Tomatoes (stems, skin, seeds) Contain solanine, a toxicant that causes anemia. Causes Vomiting, diarrhea, depression, weakness, dilated pupils, inappetence, and upset stomach.
Chives Contain organosulfoxides that release sulfur compounds in cats, causing anemia. Vomiting, diarrhea, stomachaches, and drooling.

Many vegetables that are toxic to cats can be commonly found in human foods. It is recommended to avoid giving these foods and prepare sets of safe vegetables specifically for your cat’s consumption.

Conclusion: Adopting Vegetables For A complete and Balanced Diet

Vegetables are a healthy and fun addition to a cat’s diet, and pet owners should consider the benefits of including them in their meal plans to obtain a complete and balanced diet. However, pet owners should also be mindful never to substitute a cat’s carnivorous diet for a vegan one. 

Cats still cannot fully adapt to a pure plant diet, and meats are the one food that provides them with the essential nutrients they need to survive.

When introducing new vegetables to your cat, it is vital to start with small portions and observe how they react. Some cats might be allergic to certain vegetables, while some ingredients might trigger underlying conditions.

It’s safer to consult a veterinarian when introducing new foods to your cat. They can give your cat a better, more in-depth solution and meal plan.


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