We all know that cats are carnivores – their bodies need meat to thrive. But are they able to digest carbs as well? And even if so, should they do it? Can cats eat brown rice?
Can cats eat brown rice?
Yes, if given in moderation and never as a meal replacement. Brown rice is non-toxic to cats, but our feline friends have no metabolic/nutritional need for carbohydrates.
Healthy eaters prefer brown to white rice because it provides more nutrients. However, brown rice is unprocessed white rice, which makes it a bit more difficult for cats to digest. Besides, normally their digestive system will not absorb most of the nutrients present in brown rice, except for fiber.
What are the health benefits of brown rice?
We have already established that, for cats, fiber is the most important nutrient present in brown rice. If the rice is fully cooked, it can be good for cats who are suffering from an upset stomach.
So if your kitty has diarrhea, your vet may recommend adding some rice to your cat’s meal for some days. It could be:
- Mixed with the usual meal;
- Mixed with canned cat food;
- Or mixed with cooked plain chicken/turkey/fish meat.
Rice can also help if your cat is dehydrated due to bad stools, providing some moisture to the meal.
What should I be aware of when offering brown rice to my cat?
Rice that is too dry or undercooked can cause abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and upset stomachs.
Cats are not able to digest too much rice, so it should always be offered in moderation. It can cause diarrhea or constipation if offered in large quantities.
There’s no specific measurement for rice—but an occasional bit or two shouldn’t hurt.
If your cat has diarrhea and you want to try giving them some rice, remember that your buddy should be seen by your vet if the symptoms do not resolve within 24 hours or if they are accompanied by vomiting or lethargy.
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