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4 min read

Can Cats Eat Cabbage?


By Aurus Sy

Published: 01/10/2023, edited: 01/10/2023

Reviewed by a licensed veterinary professional: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

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Raw or cooked, as a side or main dish, there are many different ways to enjoy cabbage, making it easy to reap its amazing health benefits. Packed with vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, and fiber, this cruciferous vegetable definitely deserves a place at your table. Will your feline friend benefit from having a bite too? 

Is cabbage safe for cats to eat? The answer is yes, in moderation. As obligate carnivores, cats don’t have much need for vegetables. You won’t find cabbage listed as an ingredient in commercial cat food, but an occasional leaf can make for a nice treat if your tiny tiger likes the taste. 

Read on to discover cabbage's pawmazing benefits for your cat and how to feed them this yummy veggie. 

Do cats like cabbage?

There are hundreds of varieties of cabbage grown throughout the world, with green cabbage being the most common. Other types that you’re likely to find in a store near you are red or purple cabbage, Napa cabbage, and savoy cabbage. 

Many cats aren’t too keen on green cabbage due to its peppery flavor, but some cat parents have noticed that their furkids prefer red cabbage, which is more nutritious. Both Napa and savoy are sweeter than the green and red varieties, though this probably won’t make a difference to the feline palate since cats lack the taste receptors for sweetness.

heads of cabbage near bowls of chopped and sliced cabbage - can cats eat cabbage

Health benefits of cabbage for cats

It turns out that cabbage isn’t just good for you, but for your little lion as well! Let’s take a look at some of the health benefits of cabbage for cats.

A low-carb treat

Cats have little to no dietary need for carbohydrates, so cabbage makes a good occasional snack. It also fits into a low-carb diet for felines who need to lose weight

Fights inflammation

Cabbage houses powerful antioxidants like sulforaphane and kaempferol that can help bring down inflammation. In fact, cabbage leaf compresses can even be used to reduce pain and inflammation in cats with mastitis. This is done by applying a cabbage leaf to the affected mammary gland, securing it with a bandage or T-shirt, and leaving it in place for a few hours.  

Improves digestion and gut health

Cabbage contains insoluble fiber that can improve digestion, as well as soluble fiber that can fuel the beneficial bacteria in your kitty’s gut. The anthocyanin in red cabbage can also aid in digestion. 

Reduces risk of certain diseases

Speaking of anthocyanin, this flavonoid is said to reduce the risk of heart disease too. The antioxidants found in cabbage also fight free radicals in the body and can lower the risk of cancer. 

Provides several vitamins and minerals

Cabbage is packed with vitamin K, which is essential for blood clotting; potassium, which is necessary for the normal functioning of cells; vitamin B6 and folate, which keep the nervous system working properly; and vitamin C, which is a natural immune system booster and helps maintain a healthy coat. 

What else does cabbage have? Here is the nutritional value of 100 grams of cabbage that has been boiled without salt and then drained:

  • Energy: 23 kilocalories
  • Protein: 1.27 grams
  • Total fat: 0.06 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 5.51 grams
  • Fiber: 1.9 grams
  • Sugars: 2.79 grams
  • Calcium: 48 milligrams
  • Magnesium: 15 milligrams
  • Potassium: 196 milligrams
  • Vitamin C: 37.5 milligrams
  • Vitamin B6: 0.112 milligrams
  • Folate: 30 micrograms
  • Vitamin K: 109 micrograms
  • Monounsaturated fatty acids: 0.019 grams
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids: 0.023 grams

How much cabbage can I give my cat?

Some experts recommend giving 1 to 2 teaspoons of cooked and shredded cabbage over a period of a week, while others say that one boiled or steamed cabbage leaf every week or two is fine. Whichever recommendation you follow, the key thing to remember is that this crunchy vegetable should only be offered to your feline friend in moderation.

Cabbage contains the compound thiocyanate, which can suppress the thyroid gland and potentially cause hypothyroidism when given in large quantities over a long period of time. And as with any new food, you’ll want to introduce cabbage to your cat’s diet gradually to avoid stomach upset. Begin with a small amount and keep an eye out for any adverse reactions.

You can prepare cabbage for your cat by steaming, boiling, or roasting it, and then finely shredding or pureeing it. Do not add salt, oil, garliconion, or other seasonings. Many cats will not enjoy cabbage on its own, so you may have to mix a small amount into their regular food.

bowl of coleslaw

Can cats eat cabbage raw?

It is strongly recommended to cook cabbage before serving it to your feline companion. Cooking not only makes the cabbage easier for your cat to chew and digest, but it also helps lower thiocyanate levels. 

Can cats eat coleslaw?

Coleslaw is made with a host of ingredients that may not be good for your cat, including mayonnaise, vinegar, lemon juice, sugar and more. Also, coleslaw uses raw cabbage, which can be difficult for your kitty to digest. While a tasty side dish for the humans in your pack, your cat should stay away from coleslaw. 

Can cats eat cabbage soup?

In general, salt, seasonings and sometimes pork high in sodium are added to cabbage soup to make it extra tasty for our humans. Unfurtunately, those additives are not healthy for cats. Its best to stick to plain cabbage for your feline pal. 

Letting your cat munch on veggies like cabbage is a great way to add variety, vitamins, minerals, and fiber to their diet. While a cat’s diet should never consist of only greens, some vegetables that are good for your feline pal include peas, carrots, broccoli, green beans, zucchini, pumpkin, winter squash, and cabbage! 

A high-quality diet is essential for keeping your dog healthy, along with regular vet visits. Compare pet health insurance plans to save more than $270 a year on vet care.

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