Nutrition

Can Cats Eat Carrots?

Are carrots safe for cats? We love to give our pets the occasional treat but safety is the first priority. Follow our tips when feeding your cat carrots.

Tara Maurer holding cat smiling

Last Updated: October 16, 2023 | 4 min read

cat crunching on a carrot

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Can cats eat carrots? If appropriately prepared, the answer is yes. Carrots are not toxic to cats and can be fed to our felines in small quantities.

Carrots are a quality source of nutrients for people, especially vitamin A. Eating carrots supports eye health and improves blood sugar levels, but do cats get the same benefits from eating this root vegetable?

Follow our tips for feeding your cat’s carrots. And remember, if you still need to decide if carrots suit your cat’s diet, contact your veterinarian.

Can Cats Have Carrots?

Cats can eat carrots as long as they’re adequately prepared and fed in moderation. Feeding your feline carrots can be beneficial, as they are rich in fiber and other nutrients.

As kitties are obligate carnivores, their diet should primarily consist of high-quality animal protein and fat. Still, carrots are not poisonous to cats and can be enjoyed occasionally.

Can Cats Eat Raw Carrots?

Raw carrots are not toxic to cats, but vets recommend against feeding raw carrots to your feline. The first reason is pretty apparent: carrots could be a choking hazard. Felines cannot chew food as well as people can—instead, their teeth are best at ripping through food by the chunk. Swallowing a chunk of raw carrots could easily lead to a choking incident.

Raw carrots are not just tough to eat; they’re also harder to digest. Cooking carrots will make them more gentle on your pet’s stomach. Consuming too many raw carrots could lead to digestive distress.

Can Cats Eat Cooked Carrots?

Yes, cats can eat cooked carrots. Your pet will have a much easier time eating, digesting, and passing cooked carrots vs. raw carrots. You don’t need to worry about cooking the carrots at a specific temperature. They’re considered safe for our furry friends to eat as long as they’re soft and plain.

Are Carrots Good For Cats?

We now know that carrots are safe for cats to eat, but do they offer any benefit? Absolutely! Carrots are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber that can benefit your feline if fed in moderation.

Health Benefits Of Carrots For Cats

Above all else, carrots are a quality source of fiber for our furry friends. Fiber aids digestion, promotes regular bowel movements, and reduces hairball formation. Carrots are also a source of prebiotic fiber. Prebiotics help nourish the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut’s microbiome, which can positively affect digestion, the immune system, mood, and more. Alternatively, gut dysbiosis has been associated with stomach upset, obesity, metabolic diseases, cancer, neurological dysfunction, and many other health conditions.

Research shows that dietary changes—such as adding prebiotics and probiotics—can improve microbial diversity in cats and dogs. One study evaluating the in vitro effect of probiotic substances, including carrot fiber, found that different prebiotics exerted different effects on the overall composition and activity of the cats’ microbiota. A 2022 study confirmed these findings, concluding that while domestic cats evolved by eating a low-carbohydrate diet, adding fibers to a cat’s diet positively altered the feline fecal microbiome.

Carrots also contain antioxidants that are helpful in treating inflammation, supporting the heart, boosting the immune system, and lowering cancer risks. Carrots are rich in one antioxidant in particular—beta-carotene. A study looking at oxidative stress in cats with renal insufficiency found that supplementing with vitamins E and C and beta-carotene for four weeks significantly reduced DNA damage, making these nutrients beneficial to cats with renal disease.

Can Carrots Improve My Cat’s Vision?

Carrots are a significant source of beta-carotene (the pigment that gives carrots their signature orange hue). When animals eat foods containing beta-carotene, it is converted to vitamin A and stored until the body needs it. Vitamin A can improve eyesight in some animals; unfortunately, it’s unlikely that your cat’s vision will be enhanced by dietary vitamin A.

Like other carnivores, felines have a limited ability to convert beta-carotene to vitamin A. Research suggests this conversion rate is so low that it’s unlikely to meet your cat’s vitamin A requirements.

How Do I Feed Carrots To My Cat?

It’s okay for kitties to eat carrots as long as they’re adequately prepared. Any carrots you feed your furry friend should be cooked, and you shouldn’t use any seasonings that are harmful to felines. Toxic herbs for kitties include garlic, chives, and oregano.

Avoid coating carrots in excess fats like oil or butter. These fats may be too rich for your pet and lead to digestive upset. Excess fats can also lead to weight gain and obesity, which are linked to many other health problems.

To prepare carrots for your feline, start by washing them thoroughly. Then, peel the carrots so the skin is removed. Steaming carrots is the easiest way to make them soft while avoiding extra ingredients. Boiling and baking are fine, too. Once the carrots are soft and chewy, remove them from the heat. Let the carrots cool before services. Cut them into bite-sized pieces and serve in a small quantity.

Cat Food With Carrot

If you like the idea of the health benefits of carrots but want to avoid going through the preparation process, consider a pet food or topper that already includes carrots. Recipes with carrots are already portion-controlled, so you don’t have to worry about overfeeding.

Quality brands that include carrots in their recipes include:

  • Lucy Pet kibble recipes
  •  Instincts raw, freeze-dried raw, and raw + kibble recipes
  •  Primal Pet Co. raw, freeze-dried raw, and gently cooked recipes. Plus, bone broths and fresh toppers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Cats Like Carrots?

Like humans, felines are all different regarding taste and personal preference. Some kitties enjoy eating carrots, especially when they’re soft and easy to nibble. It’s unlikely that your feline will be attracted to carrots due to their sweet flavor. Studies suggest that cats are sweet blind and cannot identify sugar. Still, your cat may enjoy the texture of carrots more than other food.

If your cat doesn’t like carrots, don’t worry—plenty of other foods offer similar nutritional benefits. For example, sweet potatoes are another cat-friendly source of fiber and beta-carotene.

How Much Carrot Can You Give Your Cat?

Think small when feeding your furry friend any treat. Felines are much smaller than humans and could suffer digestive problems if fed too many carrots. Carrots are also a source of sugar; too much sugar could put your kitty at risk of feline diabetes. If you’re feeding carrots in moderation, you likely won’t have any problems.

Can Kittens Eat Carrots?

Kittens can start eating solids around 3-5 weeks of age. Kittens can eat carrots, but it’s best to stick to a strict diet if they’re very young. If you are still deciding whether to feed your kitten or cat carrots, contact your veterinarian for their opinion.

What Other Vegetables Can Cats Eat?

If your cat likes veggies, other feline-friendly foods could give your kitty extra nutrients. Broccoli, lettuce, zucchini, spinach, and pumpkin are all great options.

Final Thoughts

Are you curious about other human foods to share with your cat? Please view our list of feline-friendly foods and those that should never be fed to felines. But before feeding your cat any human foods, consider purchasing pet insurance. Pet insurance covers costs for eligible treatment of illnesses and accidents, which can benefit curious kitties (and your wallet). We review the best pet insurance for cats.

Gray cat trying to steal slice of cheese with paw on a table in a kitchen.

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