Sometimes cats beg for greens like lettuce while you prepare a nice salad. Do you need to worry if your cat steals a piece of lettuce? Can cats eat lettuce?
Cats are known to eat grass and you often hear it is to calm or soothe an upset stomach. While this has some truth to it, actually this is not the whole story. Greens have some other benefits to cats although they are obligate carnivores who don’t need plants to survive. Maybe the most common leafy green our domestic cats see is lettuce so the chances are they may steal a piece of lettuce more than anything else. But is it safe for our furry friends? Can cats eat lettuce?
For me and my small family lettuce is a must and one of the “must grow” foods if the season is right. We don’t have a greenhouse in our garden and we try to grow everything naturally which means that the lettuce we grow is open to “outside effects” such as our cats.
When faced with such a situation you always research if your cat can eat this or that because there are many vegetables in the garden where your cats wander and taste different vegetables. Therefore you have an extra responsibility to make sure there is nothing harmful or toxic for your cats and arrange the garden accordingly.
Is Lettuce Safe for Cats?
If your cat steals some lettuce while you are preparing a delicious salad or has a special interest in lettuce, the good news is lettuce is perfectly safe for cats and even has some beneficial effects. However, when it comes to feeding plants to cats, there are always a few points to consider and lettuce is not an exception.
First of all, cats, being carnivores, can not be only fed with lettuce or any other plant like herbivores. They absolutely need meat in order to survive. Eating lettuce as a snack every now and then may have some benefits but it can not be the main source of nutrition for cats.
Secondly, lettuce is almost 96% water which is both good and bad. This is a good thing because it helps to keep your cat hydrated especially if it eats only dry food and not a fan of drinking water but I must add that lettuce is not enough on its own and cats still need to drink water to be properly hydrated. On the other hand such a high amount of water can be bad if consumed in high amounts because it might cause diarrhea as feline digestive system is not evolved to digest foods that contain high amounts of water which ironically may lead to dehydration.
Another potential issue is the pesticides and chemicals on the lettuce even if you buy it from the organic section of your local market or organic market because I (both as an animal lover and as a natural farmer) am responsible to inform you that organic does not mean “no pesticide”. You should always wash your vegetables thoroughly before consuming them or feeding them to your little friends. I can write about this for pages and pages but this is not our topic here on this blog.
What Are The Benefits of Feeding Lettuce to Your Cat?
Lettuce is a low calorie food which means that you can safely give it to your kitty as a snack to keep its diet under control especially if it is overweight.
As I mentioned before lettuce is almost 96% water which means it may help to keep the little furball hydrated.
The high fiber content in lettuce can help regulating the bowel movement of cats.
Lettuce contains vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium along with some other vitamins and minerals. While your cat may benefit from these nutrients, I must say that if your cat is having a quality cat food, the amount of nutrients it gets from the cat food can not even be compared to the nutrients it gets from lettuce or any other plant. Always keep in mind that cats’ digestive system can process animal based nutrients a lot better than plant based nutrients.
Some plants such as grass can make cats vomit although they are perfectly safe for them. This is a natural reaction and generally there is nothing to worry about. However, lettuce generally does not make cats vomit if given in moderation so it can be an alternative source to your cat’s appetite for grass.
Speaking of appetite for greens, most cat owners have the same headache which is cats eating or biting off houseplants. This issue sometimes may reach dangerous levels as not all plants are safe for kitties. Giving lettuce every now and then may fulfill your cat’s appetite for plants and help keeping it away from the potentially dangerous plants and away from harms way.
Lettuce is a safe food and does not have any toxic properties for cats.
Because of the high water content of lettuce, it should be given in moderation as it may cause diarrhea and cause dehydration.
You should always wash it thoroughly to get rid of any pesticides or other harmful substances before feeding it to your cat.
No matter what type of lettuce you give, lettuce can not be the main course for your cat and under no circumstances can be enough to give all the nutrients your cat needs in order to survive let alone leading a healthy life.
Thanks to the fiber content in the lettuce, it may help your kitty to have a healthier bowel movement.