Vegetables are really healthy for us and even if our cat does usually prefer meat they also need some nutritional elements on the side. Thus we may wonder which vegetables are good for them and today we answer the question: can cats eat asparagus?
There are two main version of this plant: the Asparagus officinalis and the Asparagus densiflorus “Sprengeri”. The first one is what you buy at your grocery shop and the second one is used as a decorative plant due to the red berries and small white flowers.
The perennial plant is mostly cultivated as a vegetable since it is rich in vitamins, minerals, fibers and has a low amount of calories. Due to the great flavor and diuretic properties it was also used in traditional medicine.
Potassium helps cats since it regulates the blood pressure and improves the cardiac health of your pet. The biggest motive to feed your cat asparagus is because it does contain this element in large quantities and it’s not a bad idea to do so from time to time. But it is essential to differentiate between the two versions, only the one that is bought from grocery stores is good for cats (as well as for humans or other animals for that matter).
Since it is still a vegetable, cats won’t take advantage of too many of its nutritious values and there is a high alkaline content that can lead to some problems such as urinary tract blockages. This means that offering too much of this vegetable to a cat is a bad idea. A good amount would be a small piece once or twice a week if you really want your cat to eat this.
The asparagus fern (Asparagus densiflorus) is a close relative of the asparagus we eat and it can be used as a decorative plant. Since cats like to rub their fur on most plants you shouldn’t keep this in their range. The berries and branches can make the cat sick so a net or fence is a good idea.
If your cat rubs on the plant they might get blisters or the skin can start to swell. The ingestion of their berries can lead to gastrointestinal upset with symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting. This is because these berries and the leaves taste really bitter to cats and can lead to the same problems as food poisoning.
Thus it is a good idea to see a vet as soon as possible after they ate some of these parts since they might have to rinse the skin of your cat, the inside of their mouth and also give them some IV fluid to help with the dehydration that results from vomiting or diarrhea.
Yes, they could eat small quantities of the asparagus you buy from the store but don’t mistake it for the decorative plant! It also offers almost no nutritional values so it’s better if you find more suitable alternatives.