Pumpkin for Cats + PSL recipe

It’s Pumpkin Season.

When I lived in the US I thought pumpkins were just for decoration. Sure we ate pumpkin pie and drank Pumpkin Spice lattes but neither of those are made with real pumpkins. I now live in a country where canned pumpkin does not exist and real pumpkins are a staple ingredient at the grocery store during this season. I have been making pumpkin soup and various casseroles with pumpkin, pasta, rice and vegetables. I’m happy to learn I can prepare pumpkin for cats.

pumpkin for cats

Benefits of Pumpkin:

Pumpkin is rich in fiber and the combination of moisture and fiber can help with both constipation and diarrhea.

It can also help with hairballs. The fiber in the pumpkin will bind to the hairballs and help them pass easier.

Wild canines and felines have no physiologic requirement for these types of plant fibers. The only fiber wild dogs and cats ingest is whatever is found in the already-digested stomach contents of their prey, and, of course, the fur, tendons, and ligaments they ingest from eating whole prey.

Although the amount of fiber found in the diet of wild dogs and cats is small, it serves a very important role. Likewise, dogs and cats fed processed commercial diets benefit from the addition of a small amount of the right kind of fiber as well. Our goal when feeding raw food diets to pets is, of course, to mimic the GI contents that would naturally be found in their prey.

A fiber-deficient diet will cause diarrhea or constipation in dogs and cats. Many pet food companies market an ultra-high fiber diet. After all, they’re incredibly cheap to produce and they keep bowel movements very consistent. These really high fiber diets create very large stools that actually many pet owners have come to view as somewhat normal.

I have clients in my practice who believe it’s totally normal for their dog to poop a huge amount, six to eight times a day. When they start their dogs on raw food, a lot of my clients’ number one question is, “Where did all the poo go? The poo’s so small and they’re only pooping once or twice a day.”

When pets consume unnecessary fillers, like wads of fiber, it inhibits digestion and absorption of many vital nutrients. A small amount of fiber is very important, but a diet loaded with fiber is very detrimental, unless, of course, you’re feeding a horse or cow.

If you’re feeding your dog or cat a balanced, species-appropriate diet with appropriate supplementation, including pet probiotics and digestive enzymes, and your pet is easily producing small, firm stools, she’s getting the exact amount of fiber she needs.

Many commercial pet foods contain entirely too much biologically inappropriate fiber. Other foods, including some raw food diets, can contain too little. There are several natural ingredients you can add to your pet’s diet – no matter what type of food you feed – to increase fiber content.

Source: Dr. Karen Becker – http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2012/11/19/dietary-fiber.aspx

Because I feed my cats a well balanced home made raw food diet they are getting very little fiber because they’re not consuming the hair, feathers, ligaments  or the digested stomach contents of their prey. My cats have long-hair therefore hairballs are an issue which is why coconut oil or pumpkin is a good solution.

What not to feed:

  • raw pumpkin
  • step or skin or raw seeds
  • old jack-o-lattern that has been used, bacteria is growing inside
  • canned pumpkin with spices, sugars or fillers

How to feed pumpkin:

  • fresh pumpkin that has been cooked  until soft
  • canned pumpkin, but be careful to read the ingredients, no additives, sugars, fillers or spices
  • about a half teaspoon a day, it can be served with their regular food

My cats do not have any stool issues, but Cornelius does get hairballs from time to time. For this I give them coconut oil. I think I would give him pumpkin more for hairballs but where I live pumpkin is available for such a short amount of time and canned pumpkin doesn’t exist.

I have offered them both pumpkin this week, Cornelius ate it right away, Elizabeth licked it  but would not eat it. But anytime you want to add or change your cat’s diet, it takes consistency. They both passionatly love and seem to prefer coconut oil.

So now when I use pumpkin to make dinner I save a little bit for the cats as well as to make pumpkin spice lattes.

Just for fun, here is how I make my PSL.

Pumpkin Spice Latte:

Heat the following in a small pot over the stove and mix with a whisk:

  • Two spoons of cooked pumpkin
  • Milk (preferably plant based milk like almond, rice or soy milk)
  • drop of maple syrup
  • cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar

Mix the heated mixture with espresso and topped with whipped cream. Enjoy :-)

 

pumpkin spice latte

DIY pumpkin spice latte

What do you use pumpkins for?

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11 Comments

  1. October 21, 2015 / 7:05 am

    We use pumpkin daily for the fibre and to prevent hairballs. It’s better than any hairball remedy you can buy… and much more cost effective too. I’m going to have to try your spiced pumpkin latte recipe too!

  2. October 18, 2015 / 7:23 pm

    This was a yummy post! We haven’t tried pumpkin with our food before, but we’ve been wanting to!

  3. October 18, 2015 / 4:57 pm

    Mum loves recipes of any kind of pumpkin : soup, bread, pie, gnocchi. … She has not tried to give us some pumpkin yet. Purrs

  4. October 18, 2015 / 12:21 pm

    Correction: sorry, that meant to say “small, firm stools” – not “firm, soft stools” (shame your type of commenting system won’t let you got in and edit when you’ve made a typo!)

  5. October 18, 2015 / 12:18 pm

    I use fresh, minced/mashed pumpkin to “dilute” my raw food because I have one cat with kidney disease, and this will lower the protein content in the food.

    I know that recent studies have found that it may not be the high protein that´s bad for cats with kidney disease who are on a raw diet, but that it could be the potassium… but who knows for sure – things and findings always seem to change! So far, he’s doing well, and at his last blood test, his kidney values were actually *better* than the ones he had a few months ago.

    I haven’t had problems at all with diarrhoea or other digestion issues using raw pumpkin and my 3 produce the “firm, soft stools” that you describe above. But then, I use only a few spoonfuls per kilo of raw food, so it’s not that much really. :)

    P.S.: the PSL sounds delicious!

    • October 18, 2015 / 12:51 pm

      That’s great pumpkin is working for your kitty. Are you able to find pumpkin year round?

      • October 18, 2015 / 11:05 pm

        For the last few months, since I have put my cats back on raw, I have easily found it in any supermarket here in Lanzarote, and having asked a friend who cooks with pumpkin often, she said that she *always* buys it at any time of the year. They sell them pre-packed in the fresh fruit and vegetable section and it’s already cut to pieces or slices, not as whole pumpkins (which is quite handy!).

  6. October 17, 2015 / 11:54 pm

    I love to bake pumpkin seeds.

  7. October 17, 2015 / 10:12 pm

    Thanks for all this good info about pumpkin. The mom has tried to add pumpkin to our food because she knows it’s so beneficial. But we don’t like it in our foods very much.

  8. October 17, 2015 / 8:11 pm

    We luv punkin’ and mommy luvs punkin’ bwead. So weez luv this time of year. Altho’ mommy can’t affurd to make hers bwead, weez get punkin’ when we want.

    Luv ya’

    Dezi and Lexi