Most commercial cat food recipes contain at least one type of vegetable, and often multiple. And for good reason: like humans, cats also benefit from the nutrients present in those hearty greens. But what about broccoli? It’s widely recognized as one of the healthiest vegetables, but is it any good for cats?
Broccoli is an unlikely snack for your kitty due to its distinctive taste, but broccoli sprouts are actually safe for cats to eat. However, they should only be given in very small amounts.
Broccoli contains a huge amount of dietary fiber. While moderate fiber intake is regarded as a good thing, too much of it can easily give your cat unfortunate symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting and other unwanted side effects.
The potential benefits
Broccoli is very nutrient-dense. It contains almost all the vitamins that we humans need, but also plenty of essential minerals. There has been some debate in recent years whether broccoli can be classified as a superfood or not. A superfood is a marketing term for food that is exceptionally nutritious.
While the jury is still out on that one, what we do know for sure is that broccoli is a quality source of many vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin A, B, C, E and K (including folic acid)
- Plant-based protein
- Dietary fibre
Raw or cooked?
So, broccoli is not bad for cats, on the condition that your cat is only eating small amounts. So what’s the best way to serve it? Boiling broccoli removes a good portion of the minerals and vitamins. The longer you cook it, the more gets lost. But raw broccoli is very hard to digest, meaning the stomach may not be able to retrieve many nutrients from it.
The solution is simple: steam the sprouts! Steaming is a great way to break the cells of a vegetable while preserving a good portion of the healthy nutrients inside.
It’s difficult to give an exact estimate, but moderation is key. Cats are obligate carnivores, which means the majority of their protein should come from animal sources. While broccoli is a very healthy snack, it should never become a major part of your cat’s diet.