Can cats eat lettuce?
Cats can eat lettuce, which is high in water and fibre, contains vitamins A and K, calcium, potassium and is low in calories.
Can all cats eat lettuce?
The following cats should not eat lettuce.
- Unweaned kittens
- Cats on a therapeutic diet
- Cats on a food elimination trial
Types of lettuce
There are four types of lettuce:
- Head lettuce: Round lettuce varieties which include iceberg and butterhead lettuce.
- Leaf lettuce: There are three types of leaf lettuce, red, green, and oak. Leaf lettuces have looser-packed leaves which grow in green or red depending on the variety.
- Romaine lettuce: Also known as cos lettuce, Romaine lettuce is a crunchy variety of lettuce that forms a long head and is commonly used in Caesar salad.
- Celtuce lettuce: Also known as asparagus or Chinese lettuce, celtuce lettuce is grown primarily for its thick stem and leaves. This variety of lettuce is popular in mainland China.
Benefits of feeding lettuce
Lettuce is made up of 95% water so is a good option to increase fluids in the cat’s diet, especially if he or she is on a dry food diet.
The high fibre can add bulk to stools.
Lettuce is extremely low in calories, so will not add extra calories, which is especially important in overweight cats.
Contains nutrients including vitamins A and K, potassium, calcium, and folate.
How to feed lettuce to a cat
Cats are obligate carnivores and require a species-specific diet, and lettuce does not meet these needs, therefore it should only be given as an occasional treat and should not replace the cat’s ordinary diet.
Always wash lettuce thoroughly before feeding to cats to remove pesticides and other potential nasties. Do not give lettuce that has dressing on it, as it may contain traces of garlic which is toxic to cats.
Break up into bite-sized pieces or strips, limit to three or four times a week.
Chilled lettuce can be a refreshing treat on hot days.
Other foods cats can eat
Once again, it is important to remember that cats should always eat a species-appropriate diet. Treats should make up no more than 10% of the cat’s food intake.
Healthy, low-calorie snacks include:
- Melon (seeds removed)
- Kiwi fruit
- Green beans
- Cooked pumpkin
- Zucchini (courgette)