Are Pumpkin Seeds Safe for Cats?

by Madeline Masters, Demand Media
    Save those seeds for Kitty.

    Save those seeds for Kitty.

    Pumpkin seeds aren't just safe for your kitty to eat, they're beneficial to her health, too. Pumpkin seeds work as a natural remedy for some digestion-related health problems. You can also serve pumpkin seeds to your cat as an occasional healthy, tasty treat alternative to her normal cat kibble.

    Nutrition in Pumpkin Seeds

    Pumpkin seeds contain many nutrients that are good for your cat, like vitamin A, beta-carotene, potassium, iron, manganese, magnesium, zinc and copper. They also contain essential fatty acids, antioxidants and fiber. The essential fatty acids in pumpkin seeds are good for coat shine and heart health. The antioxidants in these special seeds can help your cat stay young and healthy, and may prevent the formation of some cancers. Fed to your cat in moderation, pumpkin seeds can provide nutrients she needs. However, it's important not to overfeed nutrient-rich foods like pumpkin seeds -- an overabundance of certain vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A or iron isn't healthy for your cat.

    Helping Digestive Issues: Irregularity

    Pumpkin seeds are high in fiber. Even though cats are obligate carnivores, some fiber in the diet is good for "keeping things moving." Veterinarians recommend increasing fiber to help a cat who's suffering from diarrhea or constipation. Feeding cats ground or whole pumpkin seeds can alleviate digestive issues related to low dietary fiber. Combining small amounts of pumpkin flesh and seeds is a winning combination to ensure your kitty regains her natural rhythm.

    Helping Digestive Issues: Eliminating Parasites

    Pumpkin seeds are an age-old home remedy for killing intestinal worms in pets. Many pet owners grind raw pumpkin seeds and feed them to their cats to dispel a worm infestation. It's recommended that you grind the seeds so they don't pass through the cat's system undigested. A teaspoon of ground seeds per meal is recommended, until the problem clears up. The pumpkin seeds help flush the worms from the cat's system, which are then passed in the stool. Feeding small amounts of raw pumpkin seeds regularly may also prevent reinfestation. Always consult an experienced veterinarian regarding the health and treatment of your pet. A home remedy should never serve as substitute for professional guidance.

    Pumpkin Seeds as Tasty Treats

    Your kitty may enjoy slurping down some slippery raw pumpkin seeds, but many cats find them more palatable when cooked. Toasted pumpkin seeds deliver many of the same health benefits as raw, and will be easier for Kitty to digest. One or two toasted pumpkin seeds a day can be a healthy alternative to store-bought cat treats. To make toasted pumpkin seeds, coat them lightly in cooking oil and a bit of salt, then spread them evenly over a baking tray. Bake them in the oven for five to 10 minutes at 375 degrees F. Allow the seeds to cool before treating your kitty to this healthy, yummy snack, and store the leftover seeds in an airtight container.

    About the Author

    Madeline Masters works as a dog walker and professional writer. In the past she has worked as a fitness columnist, fundraising copywriter and news reporter. Masters won two Pennsylvania Newspaper Association Awards in 2009. She graduated from Elizabethtown College with a Bachelor of Arts in English.

    Photo Credits

    • IT Stock Free/Polka Dot/Getty Images