Asparagus are a healthy and nutritious vegetable, packed with vitamins and fiber. Humans have eaten asparagus for many years, and asparagus is considered a delicacy in many countries. However, can cats eat asparagus? Do cats enjoy eating asparagus, and is it toxic to cats?
Cats can eat small amounts of asparagus safely. However, asparagus is a naturally alkaline vegetable, and if eaten in large amounts or over a long period of time, may cause health problems for cats such urinary tract blockages. Any cat with a history of urinary tract infections should never be fed asparagus. Asparagus is best fed as an occasional treat rather than daily.
Luckily, it is unlikely that you will find that your cat raiding the vegetable drawer for asparagus. Cats are obligate carnivores and much more tempted by meat products than vegetables. Vegetables are not part of a cat’s natural diet and cats do not have the taste receptors for the types of flavors found in asparagus.
So, in theory cats can eat asparagus, but it is unlikely that they will want to. There are many other healthy snacks available which your cat will enjoy, and asparagus probably comes a long way down the list.
Are Asparagus Ferns Toxic to Cats?
Asparagus Fern is a popular ornamental plant with long lace-like leaves. This should not be confused with Asparagus Officinalis, which is the commonly eaten vegetable.
Both the leaves and berries of Asparagus Fern are toxic to cats. It is important that this plant is kept out of reach of cats. Remove the berries before they fall on the ground and keep the branches out of reach of your cat.
If your cat rubs up against the leaves of an Asparagus Fern, the toxic saponin-based sap may cause skin irritation such as swelling and blisters.
If the leaves or berries eaten, the Asparagus Fern may cause gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting and diarrhea.
Feeding Asparagus to Your Cat
The vegetable form of Asparagus can be a nutritious snack for your cat. It is high in fiber, and a great source of vitamins and potassium.
If you want to try feeding asparagus to your cat, make sure that it is prepared correctly to make it safe to eat.
Can Cats Eat Raw Asparagus?
Cats can eat raw asparagus, but it is important that only young tender tips are fed to your cat. The thicker asparagus stalks contain long fibers which your cat may find difficult to chew and digest. This may cause your cat to vomit or choke.
Prepare raw asparagus for your cat by taking thin slices from the top third of the stem, the tender part which can be easily snapped without using a knife. Do not add any seasonings such as salt or oils, as these can be difficult for your cat to digest and even potentially toxic.
Can Cats Eat Cooked Asparagus?
Cats can eat cooked asparagus, as the cooked vegetable is normally tender and soft. Cooked asparagus should be sliced into bite-size chunks before feeding to your cat. It is important that the asparagus is not seasoned in any way, as salt and oils may be harmful to your cat.
Cooked asparagus has even less nutritional benefit to cats than raw asparagus so you may prefer to select a more nutritious snack for your cat instead.
How Often Can Cats Eat Asparagus?
It is recommended that vegetables and other treats constitute just 2% of your cat’s daily diet. This means that your cat can eat asparagus daily, but only in exceptionally small amounts. Cats are carnivores and their digestive systems do not cope well with the long fibers contained in asparagus.
Asparagus is alkaline and may cause pH imbalances in the urine if fed daily, leading to urinary tract problems such as bladder stones. It is best just to occasionally feed your cat a tiny bit of asparagus at a time as a treat, rather than feeding it as part of the daily diet.
What to Do If Your Cat Eats Too Much Asparagus Fern?
If your cat has eaten Asparagus Fern leaves or berries or has been rubbing against the plant itself, contact your veterinarian immediacy for advice.
The level of toxicity is normally mild, but your cat may require supportive veterinary care such as intravenous fluid therapy if vomiting or diarrhea develops. Topical creams may also be necessary to treat any skin irritation.
So, Are Asparagus Good for Cats?
Feeding your cat asparagus is fine in small amounts, but it may not have much nutritional benefit as cats are not biologically designed to digest vegetables. If you give your cat too much asparagus, it may cause urinary tract problems such as bladder stones.
However, most cats will only eat asparagus in small amounts, generally preferring tastier and meatier treats.