Can cats eat spinach?

Spinach is a popular green vegetable. They have ruffled or flat leaves and a a dark green in colour. When they are young the leaves are a lighter shade of green. They have a bitter flavour which is loved by many around he world. Spinach is available throughout the year but is at its best between April and September. The best spinach has frost and tender stems with bright green leaves and a fresh smell. It can be eaten raw and be part of a salad or cooked in a variety of different ways.

Spinach can be purchased from good supermarkets and grocery stores around the world. It can be purchased, pre-washed in bags and just needs a quick wash under cold water so as to freshen it up.

If you purchase loose spinach, it will need thoroughly washing through in a colander so as to get rid of the grit and dirt from it.

The leaves are alternate, ovate to triangular and variable in the size. They tend to measure between 2 to 30 cm long and 1 to 15 cm in width. The larger leaves tend to be at the base of the spinach plant with the smaller leaves on the flowering stem.

So can cats eat spinach?

Let’s take a look at their nutritional data and find out more. By looking at what they contain we can make a good assessment as to whether they actually make a good food for them to eat rather than relying on the word of others.

In particular, their carbohydrate, acidic, water, sugar, salt, calcium, phosphorous, and fat content is of most interest as far as cats are concerned.

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)

Energy 97 kJ (23 kcal)
Carbohydrates 3.6 g
Sugars 0.4 g
Dietary fiber 2.2 g
Fat 0.4 g
Protein 2.9 g
Vitamins (%DV)† Qty
Vitamin A equiv.
beta-Carotene
lutein zeaxanthin
(59%) 469 μg
(52%) 5626 μg 12198 μg
Vitamin A 9377 IU
Thiamine (B1) (7%) 0.078 mg
Riboflavin (B2) (16%) 0.189 mg
Niacin (B3) (5%) 0.724 mg
Vitamin B6 (15%) 0.195 mg
Folate (B9) (49%) 194 μg
Vitamin C (34%) 28 mg
Vit E (13%) 2 mg
Vitamin K (460%) 483 μg
Minerals
Calcium (10%) 99 mg
Iron (21%) 2.71 mg
Magnesium (22%) 79 mg
Manganese (43%) 0.897 mg
Phosphorus (7%) 49 mg
Potassium (12%) 558 mg
Sodium (5%) 79 mg
Zinc (6%) 0.53 mg
Other constituents
Water 91.4 g

As you can see spinach contains a little carbohydrate, a huge amount of acidic and water content, quite a bit of salt and phosphorous, a lot of calcium, and a hint of fat and sugar.

This means that spinach is not a great food for cats to eat due it’s huge water and acidic content. They can nibble a little of it but if they eat a lot of spinach, it may cause them problems. Just one or two leaves is more than sufficient for them.

This goes for cats of all ages from kittens to senior cats to pregnant cats.

Certainly any spinach that is fed to them should be washed before hand so that any dirt or grit or even pesticides are removed before feeding to them.

Cooked or raw spinach?

They can eat cooked or raw spinach. Obviously, cooked spinach should be properly cooked but they should only eat a small amount of whatever is served for them.

 

In summary,  spinach is not the best veggie for cats to eat and there are certainly better fruits and veggies for them to eat such as zucchini which will serve them much better.

For more foods that cats can and can’t eat check out our cat food list

 

References

BBC Good food – https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/glossary/spinach

Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spinach

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