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Cat eating a cucumber

The essentials

  • Cats are obligate carnivores — While they can have fibrous or plant-based foods, they generally do best on meat-based diets. Speak with your vet before changing your cat’s diet.
  • Don’t serve cucumbers whole — Many cats are afraid of cucumbers. Some behaviorists attribute this to a fear of snakes, which cucumbers can “mimic.”
  • Cucumbers give double the benefits — While there are many safe and tasty veggies for your cat, cucumbers have a high water content, which directly impacts your pet’s hydration.

Human food is generally off-limits for our feline friends — but pet parents might wonder about nutrient- and hydration-rich veggies like cucumbers!

While cucumbers are safe for cats in small amounts, it’s important to know the facts about safely serving these treats, and possible adverse reactions that can occur. It’s also helpful to remember to, like any treat, give it in moderation. Cats are obligate carnivores, which means that they generally prefer meat-based diets. Veterinarians usually welcome small inclusions of veggies or other sources of fiber — but always check if you’re unsure!

Let’s dig into the safety of cucumbers for your cat, and the best way your kitty can enjoy these sweet treats.

Possible benefits of cucumbers for cats 

Beyond the high water content for your cat’s hydration, there are a range of other nutrient-based benefits your furry friend can enjoy. Here’s a few key nutrient compounds your cat will get with every slice of cucumber:

  • Beta-carotene: This nutritional compound is found in the skin of the cucumber, and contributes to strong immune systems and your cat’s eye health.
  • Vitamin K: Vitamin K directly impacts your cat’s blood health and blood-clotting ability, and is also found in the cucumber’s skin.
  • Potassium: This compound regulates muscle and heart function, and is critical for your cat’s health.

Possible risks of cucumbers for cats

Now that you know the benefits, it’s important to take a look at possible risks. Doing this helps you to make the best possible choice for your pet based on their specific needs.

  • Overhydration. While rare, it is possible for cats to have too much water in their diet when cucumber is a favorite treat. Overhydration can cause GI upset, as well as kidney issues in severe cases.
  • Adverse reaction. This risk extends to any vegetable that has been treated with pesticides. If the cucumber is not washed thoroughly before feeding, your cat might ingest harmful chemicals and have an adverse reaction. To avoid this, it’s always a good idea to wash your fruit and veggies before sharing with any pets.
  • Allergic reactions. Any food offers a potential for allergy in your pet. If you notice signs of lethargy (excessive laying around) or vomiting, it’s time for a vet visit to rule out any allergy issues .

Allergy issues can manifest as diarrhea in minutes to days later. They might also show up with symptoms such as difficulty breathing, excessive drooling, weakness or staggering — especially if the blood pressure is elevated or fluctuating.

Dr. Bruce Armstrong

👉 Moldy, soft, or slimy cukes are never safe to feed your cat, and they can cause serious health problems. Always check to be sure you’re giving your cat fresh cucumber in limited quantities to limit their potential for an adverse reaction.

How to safely feed your cat cucumbers

It’s possible to feed your cat cucumbers safely. Here are a few tips to help your friend enjoy the occasional treat as safely as possible:

Slice them into small cubes — Cucumber “rounds” or sticks can pose a serious choking hazard to your cat. Consider chopping your cucumber slices into cubes to preserve the essential nutrients and make them a safe snack.

Puree or mash them up — This is great for senior cats, kittens, or cats with missing teeth. You can easily use a garlic press or a blender, depending on the quantity you need.

Keep the portion sizes small — No matter what you wind up doing, a good rule of thumb is to keep the bites as small as possible. Cucumbers have a unique texture, so you’ll want to take every precaution to prevent choking.

Are cats actually afraid of cucumbers? 

This surprisingly common question has stemmed from multiple viral videos of cats jumping away from this healthy snack, like this one.

Many experts believe that cats aren’t actually afraid of cucumbers. Rather, they’re afraid of what they might represent. Cats might think that a simple cucumber can look like a dangerous snake — which instantly puts your cat on high alert.

Short answer: They aren’t really afraid of this great snack. They’re afraid of the potential risks that snakes can bring on when they’re not paying attention.

The nutritional benefits of cucumbers are top notch 

If you’re considering treating your cat to a delicious cucumber treat, you can do so worry-free. They’ve got a decent amount of health benefits and offer a lot of water to your cat’s diet, helping keep them cool and hydrated even in the hotter months. The nutritional benefits (like those from Vitamin C or K) directly benefit your cat, helping to support their immune system and blood clotting.

If you serve your cat this low-calorie snack, you can leave the peel on — but be sure to avoid slices of cucumber (even thin slices of cucumber) and chop it up into cubes or a puree. This minimizes the choking risk for your cat. Small portions are key to keeping your cat healthy.

When in doubt, ask your vet. They can help you create the best possible meal plan for your cat’s needs.

Frequently asked questions

Is it safe for cats to eat cucumbers?

Yes! Your cat can safely eat small quantities of this nutritious vegetable. It’s a great way to hydrate your cat (due to the high water content of cucumbers) and offers a wide range of vitamins and nutrients.

Why does my cat love cucumbers?

If your cat is a cucumber fan, they may like it for a number of reasons. The refreshing taste, crunchy texture, or interesting mouthfeel are common reasons cats love cucumbers. Remember — too much cucumber isn’t good for your cat, though. Give this people food in moderation and ask for diet information from your vet to treat them safely.

Why are cats surprised by cucumbers?

Behaviorists generally believe that cats might associate cucumbers with snakes, given their similar tube-like appearance and color. This “jumpy” reaction might be due to a fear response rather than surprise.

What vegetables can’t cats eat?

There are several veggies your cat should steer clear from, including onions, garlic, avocados, and chives. If in doubt, always ask your vet. They’ll help you curate a diet that aligns with your cat’s needs.