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Can Cats Eat Rice?

By Stacy Painter
published: May 24, 2023 • 2 min. read
bowl of steamy rice on table

Rice is a staple food in many cultures, which means there’s a great likelihood your cat will find the opportunity to give it a try. Whether or not your cat is interested in tasting rice will depend on their unique personality, but is it safe to feed rice to cats?

The quick answer: Yes, cooked rice is safe for cats to eat.

Rice can be a great source of carbohydrates to round out a meal for humans, but it doesn’t work the same way for cats.

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Hazards of feeding rice to cats

Though rice is not toxic to cats, you shouldn’t intentionally feed it to your cat because it is a filler food that is not essential to their diet. Cats do not have any nutritional needs for rice, and eating rice can make them too full to eat the healthy diet they need.

Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they should eat a diet consisting mostly of meat, and their digestive systems aren’t as equipped to digest grains such as rice. Though rice is a great way to bulk up a meal for humans, cats don’t require carbohydrates in the same way. Rice is an ingredient in some commercial cat foods, but only in small, carefully calculated amounts.

If a cat consumes too much rice or other carbohydrates on a regular basis, this can lead to obesity. Filling up on carbs can also mean your cat is eating less of their nutritionally balanced cat food, which can lead to nutritional deficiencies.

Letting your kitty taste a couple of grains of rice here and there shouldn’t hurt anything. Be sure the rice is fully cooked, because uncooked grains of rice are difficult to digest and may contain a natural pesticide called lectin which can cause stomach upset. Don’t share rice that has been seasoned with spices or sauces.

Stacy Painter profile
By Stacy Painter

Stacy has always been an animal lover and has worked in the pet industry and pet insurance specifically for over a decade. As a writer since early childhood, content writing for Healthy Paws pet insurance was a natural career path to combine her two passions. She currently lives in Florida with her boyfriend and Taiwanese rescue dog, Kaya.

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