Rice is often recommended as a food that is safe to give pets.
Whether it’s a puppy with an upset tummy or used as a meal filler, rice is plain, tasteless, and easy to digest. It is also cheap and quick to make. All you need is water and a hot stove.
However, can cats eat rice?
Many kitty parents wonder about whether rice is safe for cats or not. To answer this question, let’s consult veterinarians, medical studies, and science to see why cats should (or rather… shouldn’t) be eating rice.
Is it ever okay to feed my cat rice?
Your cat is a carnivore. All cats are. That means their nutrition comes from proteins in meat, like poultry and fish – not grains such as rice.
Now, cat food experts at Purina tell us that small amounts of rice won’t hurt a cat. There are a few instances when a cat can eat rice with no ill effects. For example, if their stomach is upset, a sprinkle of white rice over some boiled and then shredded chicken may help.
Another question that pops up a lot is, “Can cats eat rice if it’s thoroughly cooked and mixed in with dry kitty kibble?”
On occasion, a little bit is okay. CatTime explains that a veterinarian may suggest adding rice to a food bowl if your cat suffers from diarrhea since rice aids digestion and is loaded with fiber. Generally speaking, rice is not a natural part of a feline’s diet and shouldn’t be fed unless advised to do so by a veterinarian.
Pawslover, check this out, you asked we answer: can dogs eat cat food?
When is rice a dangerous food to give my cat?
So, can cats eat rice all the time?
Rice is non-toxic and may help with tummy troubles. Nevertheless, rice has little nutritional value for cats. A cat that gobbles down rice instead of proper cat food will miss out on valuable nutrients and vitamins necessary for them to live a healthy life. Their bodies require much higher protein content than humans (or dogs) do. Too much rice can lead to malnutrition. This results in a shortened lifespan and drastically reduced quality of life.
On the other hand, rice could make your cat obese. Rice is full of carbs, as you no doubt already know. A higher-than-normal carbohydrate intake leads to an overweight kitty who might later become diabetic.
So, hold the rice!
In addition, a cat who is fed rice too often is at risk of:
- Digestion problems
- Abdominal pain
Even more concerning? There is a pesticide called “lectin” that coats uncooked rice granules. If a cat mistakenly eats uncooked rice, they also absorb the lectin and get very sick. A cat who you suspect has ingested lectin needs to be seen by a vet right away.
And finally, when contemplating the question, “Can cats eat rice?” remember to be mindful of all the different varieties of rice. Store-bought rice that comes in a package will likely contain additives and additional ingredients. For example, precooked rice packets are usually flavored with salt, spices, vegetable cubes, etc. Even a tiny piece of onion or garlic can make a kitty ill, as advised by Pawlicy Advisor.
When it comes down to it, pet owners shouldn’t just be asking, “Can cats eat rice?” but rather when, how much, and why?
Protect your feline family member by getting educated about how rice affects cats before adding it to their meal.