The internet is filled with all sorts of questions when it comes to pet nutrition, so cat parents might end up asking themselves at one point if they can or should allow their feline buddy to have the same foods as they enjoy on a regular basis.
And while the answer to the question ‘Is arugula safe for cats?’ is a little more complicated than you might expect, we’d like to say off the bat that a very small amount is not like to put your cat’s health in danger.
Read on to find out more about this green and if it is ok for cats to eat arugula.
Is arugula toxic to cats?
The short answer to this question is no.
Arugula does not contain anything for you to be overly concerned if your pet ends up munching on some by accident or if they snack on it on purpose.
In fact, arugula is rich in some nutrients that might not be found in your cat’s regular kibble, especially if you tend to feed your feline companion a mix of low-priced dry and wet food.
The real danger of feeding arugula to cats is when you give them prepared salad — that is, salad you’ve made to enjoy yourself and you’ve added various spices, salt, oil, and even vinegar to it.
That one is simply unsafe for cats and should lever be given to them, even if your feline buddy seems otherwise interested in it.
Arugula and cats – Nutrition
If you’ve been a cat guardian for a while now, you probably know that cats are obligate carnivores.
That means that they can synthesize their own vitamins and minerals from animal sources so they rarely need any supplements or additions such as greens, veggies, or worse, fruit.
However, there are some nutrients in arugula that might or might not positively influence your cat’s health.
Do keep in mind that a cat’s system is not genetically engineered to properly digest greens and herbs and that they’re not going to get the most benefits that these foods can offer to them — especially compared to humans.
When it comes to vitamins, arugula is a pretty good choice both for animals and for people. It’s rich in the B complex (B1, B2, B3, B6, and B9) and it has decent amounts of vitamin C (the so-called anti-infectious vitamin) and vitamin A and E (which work wonders for a cat’s coat and vision).
Vitamin K is also present in the rocket arugula plant. In case you didn’t know, this nutrient is good to have in the eventuality of an accident or a cut that results in bleeding – it is a natural anticoagulant.
While it is a good idea to give your cat minerals so that they can develop strong bones and that their body functions normally on a cellular level, sometimes excess minerals can be dangerous for this species.
Arugula has some of the same minerals that can be found in kale or broccoli, for example, such as calcium, phosphorus, and potassium.
If your pet has too many of these minerals and they are suffering from an ongoing kidney pathology, the disease can actually be worsened by their diet, at least in this case.
Granted, not all cats eat a whole bag of wild rocket arugula in one sitting, so this situation can be avoided.
Potential benefits of arugula for cats
First off, no veterinarian will recommend that you add salad, herbs, or greens to your cat’s diet if your pet already has a well-rounded nutrition thanks to the food you’re giving them.
However, there are some benefits that your cat might get if you give them arugula every now and then.
Most of the arugula that cats ingest will not be digested at all, which means that it will mix with the rest of their digestive contents.
All of this insoluble fiber can be particularly helpful if your feline buddy suffers from constipation on occasion.
Constipation is an occurrence that affects cats that do not drink enough water or senior patients.
Then again, achieving the same purpose can be done with the right probiotics for cats.
Healthy vision and coat
We’ve already mentioned that rocket arugula contains both vitamins A and E, which means that you can rest assured that your cat will continue to have the same good eyesight even when they age.
Vitamin E also works wonders for vision, but also for your cat’s brain, skin, and blood. It is also widely known to be a good antioxidant, so it will slow down aging.
Good for immunity
Both vitamin C and the B complex are widely known to protect against disease.
Naturally, you still need to vaccinate your cat against potentially lethal diseases, especially viral ones, but for regular colds and other minor health complications, these vitamins will get the job done and prevent an infection from being developed.
Could promote healthy bone development
Due to the minerals that can be found in arugula, you’ll be able to rest assured that your kitten will grow strong bones.
Although ricketts isn’t a condition very common in cats, it can still affect them in some situations, so that’s something that can be prevented thanks to these minerals.
It can also maintain bone density as your cat ages and advances into their senior years.
Risks of giving your cat rocket arugula
There are two main situations where giving arugula to your cats is definitely not a good idea and you need to consider the risks.
Contamination with chemicals
If cats eat arugula that has been farmed on land riddled with pesticides and weed killers, their health can take a turn for the worse.
Not only are you exposing your pet to minor digestive issues if you give them rocket arugula that’s not organic, but you can actually influence their health in the long run.
Pesticides and weed killers are substances that are known to be carcinogenic, so they can give your cat cancer in a few years’ time.
Contamination with germs
Arugula can be pre-washed or you need to wash it yourself, and if you don’t do so thoroughly, there could be remnants of soil or other contaminants on its surface.
While situations like this are extremely rare, you should know that soil can sometimes harbor dangerous bacteria.
One of the most dangerous such microorganisms is Bacillus anthracis.
Naturally, farming isn’t usually performed on contaminated soils, but you should know that the spores of this bacterium survive for dozens of years in the soil.
Soil can also carry other dangerous bacteria, such as Clostridium botulinum or Clostridium tetani, two anaerobic bacterium species that produce botulism and tetanus.
How much arugula should cats have?
There are no feeding guidelines when it comes to arugula for felines because it is not supposed to make up a big portion of their diet.
1 cup arugula is way too much to give to a kitten or even an adult cat, especially if they have never had any before.
If your pet is a rocket arugula aficionado, we would advise giving them a very small sprig on occasion. It should be looked at as a snack to be used mostly for improving digestion.
Frequently asked questions
Why do cats like arugula?
Cats eat arugula sometimes when they feel like they aren’t digesting food properly.
If you’ve ever seen a stray or one of your neighbors’ cats go outdoors and start munching on grass, you should know that they do so for the fiber or to make themselves vomit in case they feel that their digestion is not on par.
Can cats & dogs have arugula?
So long as it is organic and perfectly clean, arugula is safe to give to both cats and dogs.
Does it matter where arugula is grown?
Yes, it does. Ideally, the arugula that you get for yourself and your pet should come from organic farms, ones that do not use pesticides or weed killers.
While it is impossible to assess whether the soil might carry dangerous spores, parasite eggs, or even viruses, giving the greens a thorough wash before you offer them to your pet is a good idea.
What about arugula sprouts for cats? Are they safe?
Yes, they are just as safe as other microgreens that you might have in your fridge and that you might feel tempted to give to your cat.
Can cats eat baby arugula?
So long as you also offer it as a snack and not as your pet’s main food source, baby arugula can be considered a somewhat healthy snack.
Is rocket the same as arugula?
The answer to this question is also yes.
This plant has several different names in various countries.
In the United Kingdom, it is commonly called rocket whereas in Italy, for example, it goes by the name of rucola.
Other names range from rugula and ruchetta to roquette and colewort.
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