Cat constipation and pumpkin are surprisingly a tried-and-tested combination.
If you’re wondering: “is pumpkin toxic to cats,” then you can cross it out from all the “toxic human food” your cats are not allowed to consume.
Adding pumpkin to a cat’s diet has many health benefits, thanks to the pumpkin’s high nutrient and fiber content.
Symptoms of Cat Constipation
- Loss of weight.
- The presence of hard, dry, tiny fecal pellets in or around the litter box.
- Crying out in pain when defecating.
- Decreased hunger
- Having feces clinging to the fur on the back end
Cat Constipation and Pumpkin Benefits
Pumpkin is rich in fiber, affordable, and enticing to cats, but there are situations when tougher measures are required.
One of the first signs of a constipated cat is less frequent and straining bowel motions.
Frequently, the reason is a lack of fiber, dehydration, or inactivity.
But also know that constipation may be caused by stress, drugs, parasites, intestinal obstructions, neurological issues, or pelvic injury.
If your cat has problems going to the litter box, you should take her to the vet, but pumpkin may help.
There are 10 grams of fiber in every cup of pumpkin. Its rich fiber content helps with:
- Diarrhea: The soluble fiber in pumpkin absorbs excess water in your cat’s digestive tract, which relieves diarrhea.
- Constipation: Fiber from pumpkin becomes a natural laxative that stimulates bowel movements.
- Weight control: Having a diet high in fiber makes pets feel fuller quicker. If your veterinarian has advised helping your cat lose weight, adding pumpkin into her diet could effectively reduce the need to eat more treats.
Aside from fiber, pumpkin also has high contents of:
- Vitamin A (for eye health and immune system),
- Vitamin C (for collagen production)
- Vitamin E (as a fat-soluble antioxidant)
- Calcium (for healthy teeth, bones, and claws)
- Lutein (to promote healthier coat and skin)
- Iron (cell and hemoglobin production)
- Alpha Carotene (an antioxidant that fights cell damage).
- Cucurbitacin (a biological molecule that may have some antiparasitic action against intestinal parasites).
How Much Pumpkin Can I Give My Cat?
Most of the time, cats love the taste of pumpkin and wouldn’t mind eating it as a puree or straight from a can.
However, you can mix pumpkin into wet cat food if your cat doesn’t like its taste.
Don’t feed it to kittens unless your veterinarian recommends it.
You can feed adult cats 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of pumpkin every day. Use a measuring spoon so you add the right amount to their diets.
When you’re new to incorporating pumpkin into your cat’s diet, be on the lookout for firmness, frequency, or other changes in her stools. This could help you determine if the pumpkin is helping with constipation or not.
Warning: Pumpkins may be nutritious but also high in carbohydrates. If your cat is already diagnosed with diabetes and follows a low-carb meal plan, check with your vet to see if and how pumpkin can be included in your cat’s meals.
DIY Pumpkin Puree for Cat Constipation
Pumpkin pie filling and spiced pumpkin puree are not ideal for cats. If you’re planning to shop for store-bought canned pumpkins, you need to choose a plain, pureed, and unseasoned pumpkin.
If you want to prepare a homemade pumpkin puree to relieve your cat of constipation, buy a pumpkin or butternut squash (yes, they come from the same squash family).
3 Ways to Make Pumpkin Puree Recipe for Cats
- Blend. Remove the seeds and pulp from a pumpkin. Puree the pumpkin until it looks like baby food. You can serve it as is.
- Boil. Deseed your pumpkin. Cut into cubes, put into a pot, and add distilled water. Boil everything until soft throughout. When done, strain the water except for 2 cups. Blend everything until pureed. Store in an airtight bottle in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Bake. Remove the seeds of your pumpkin. Bake in the oven until soft. Serve.
Adding Pumpkin into Your Cat’s Diet
Even the pumpkin seeds can be given to your cats, but you must clean them thoroughly and roast them in the oven at 350 degrees for an hour or two. Then, you could grind the seeds and feed your cat in powder form when it gets cold.
Here are other ways to squeeze pumpkin into their meals:
- Add into wet cat food.
- Pick a cat food like Applaws that contain pumpkin. Check labels to be sure.
- Find a pumpkin-infused supplement, such as Fruitables. Ideal for cats who aren’t fond of the pumpkin taste.
- Add butter with a vegetable mix and pumpkin puree for a creamy mixture.
- Combine pureed pumpkin with raw cat food meat with raw liver
- If you pureed a lot of homemade pumpkins, freeze some of them into smaller servings, so you can extend the shelf life and give them to your cats occasionally as treats.
Cat Constipation & Pumpkin Do’s and Don’ts
Before giving your cat, pumpkin puree or treats for her constipation read some of these guidelines:
- Never feed raw pumpkin to your cat.
- When deseeding a pumpkin, remove and throw away the stem. When eaten by your cat, it could prick her digestive tract.
- Pumpkin skin is not edible. Even if you’re boiling and blending the ingredients, remove the skin before anything else.
- Pumpkin pulp, the sticky and slimy stuff with the seeds, has been known to block disposals. Imagine what that would do to your cat’s tummy. Throw it with the skin.
- The canned pumpkin should be plain. If the label hints at sugar, salt, spices, additives, or other chemicals, skip it. These spices can cause vomiting, diarrhea, mouth and lung irritation, and heart or liver issues.
- Don’t feed your cat leftover Jack-O-Lanterns that have been sitting on your porch. This pumpkin could have bacteria from being left out in the open, so feeding it to your cat could make her sick.
If your cat doesn’t like the taste of pumpkin, don’t worry. She’s likely to tell you about her “distaste.”
If your beloved cat has a sensitive stomach, introduce pumpkin into her diet carefully. Be attentive to her stools afterward, and monitor signs of vomiting, diarrhea, straining while walking or peeing, and painful bowel movements.
Only increase the amount of pumpkin if your cat seems to be doing well with the addition. In most cases, your cat will be able to feel the effect of a teaspoon-worth of pumpkin puree after an hour or two.
If this doesn’t help, your cat’s constipation could signify something serious. The veterinarian could be more helpful in evaluating your cat’s overall condition.
Even if your cat isn’t constipated, adding pumpkin into her diet encourages regular bowel movements and a healthier digestive system.
Purrfect n’ Pawesome is the brainchild of Amanda, who has been into researching and writing about pets to help other pet parents in nurturing their adorable pets. Currently, she runs Purrfect n’ Pawesome along with her team of experienced and dedicated pet experts. Along with being an awesome writer and entrepreneur, Amanda is a cat mom to two innocently spoiled cats, Balanca and Scruffy.
She has been writing about pet care and nurturing and wants to share her readers’ experiences, learnings, and knowledge.
Over the years, she had the opportunity to work with various pet owners having multiple breeds, and that exposure gave her experience and the lessons of a lifetime.
Her family, her entire universe revolves around her two cats, who give her endless support and inspiration to move ahead with her objectives in life. Amanda is a live example of a balanced approach to all parenthood questions we all face in life.