Rice is a fantastic filler food for us humans. Whether we’re serving it with a hearty helping of curry or filling out a burrito, it’s a great way to bulk up our meals and it’s also relatively good for us. But is this the case for our feline friends?
A lot of commercial pet foods will add in grains like rice, but is it actually good for our cats? Can cats eat rice by themselves? Can cats eat white rice or brown? Read on to find out all you need to know.
Can cats eat rice?
Yes, cats can eat rice in small amounts. It’s non-toxic, so it won’t harm them to have a bit in their food, but you shouldn’t give too much as it’s not an essential part of their diet. If you’re feeding your cat complete and balanced cat food, they won’t gain additional nutritional benefits from eating rice alongside. Plus, too much of this filler may actually stop them from eating enough of the healthy diet they need!
Is rice good for cats?
Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they’re meant to eat mostly meat and aren’t well-equipped to digest grains. Unlike us humans, cats have no need for carbohydrates in their diet. Some commercial cat foods will contain grains such as rice but only in small, carefully considered amounts to bulk out the food.
So, how about the different types of rice? In general, brown rice is nutritionally better than white as it’s higher in fibre. Vets will sometimes recommend this for cats with diarrhoea or constipation. However, rather than using brown rice as a home remedy for your cat’s digestive troubles, it’s always best to get advice from your vet on the best course of action to take. Cats can eat white rice too – it doesn’t have as much nutritional value, but if rice is only given in very small quantities alongside other food, this won’t matter too much.
It’s important to note that too much carbohydrate in the diet can lead to obesity in cats. Obese cats are more likely to develop a range of health problems including diabetes, a condition which may require regular insulin injections. It’s therefore important to avoid feeding your cat too much carbohydrate – you don’t want to harm them with kindness!
How to feed rice to your cat
As rice offers no nutritional benefit to cats, we suggest that you just avoid giving your cat rice entirely, and stick to a quality diet and treats specially intended for feline consumption.
If you do feed rice to your cat, only offer them a tiny bit. Make sure it’s thoroughly cooked without any seasonings, spices or sauces.
Never give your cat uncooked rice, as this is extremely difficult to digest and may also contain a natural pesticide called lectin which can cause diarrhoea and vomiting if ingested in large quantities. If you notice bloating and your cat seems to be in pain more than 24 hours after eating uncooked rice, be sure to take them to the vet as soon as possible.