Veterinarians often recommend unsugared canned pumpkin -- NOT pumpkin pie filling -- as a natural stool softener. Pumpkin's high-fiber content also makes it beneficial in cases of constipation, and may also help with an upset stomach or indigestion. Other veggies besides pumpkin can help keep your cat healthy, too.
Other "orange" vegetables, such as yams, squash and sweet potatoes, are excellent dietary additions that provide fiber, water and nutrients for kitties --especially kitties with digestive problems. These inexpensive veggies should be cooked before serving and can be mashed up and added to other foods, such as kibble or canned food. As with pumpkin, all you need to add to your cat's diet is one to two teaspoons of these nutritious and bulk-adding vegetables.
While sweet potatoes have the most to offer your kitty -- providing Vitamins A, C and B6, beta-carotene, thiamine, niacin, potassium and copper -- squash and yams aren't far behind. Squash, which should be thoroughly cooked, is an excellent source of Vitamin A, starch and fiber. Yams, similar to sweet potatoes but sweeter, contain a multitude of nutrients, including Vitamins B and C, carbohydrates, potassium, and fiber. Like sweet potatoes and squash, yams should also be cooked thoroughly.
Other vegetables that add fiber to your cat's diet -- thus aiding in digestive concerns -- are the types of vegetable your own doctor would tell you to routinely eat: carrots, broccoli, peas and leafy greens. Carrots should be cooked lightly and served shredded or chopped finely to help your cat fully digest them. Broccoli can cause gas, so it's best to steam or cook it before giving to your kitty. Try to provide variety when serving vegetables.
Diarrhea, constipation and indigestion in cats can be very serious and may require immediate veterinary care. You can try offering your cat pumpkin or other alternative vegetables, but if your cat's diarrhea or constipation does not respond within 24-36 hours, please seek immediate vet care. Serious disorders, such as hairball impaction, inflammatory bowel disease, food allergies, digestive enzyme deficiencies, or even certain cancers can cause digestive problems in cats.
Debra Levy has been writing for more than 30 years. She has had fiction and nonfiction published in various literary journals. Levy holds an M.A. in English from Indiana University and an M.F.A. in creative writing/fiction from the Bennington Writing Seminars.