The Health and Digestive Benefits of Pumpkin for Cats for National Pumpkin Day

October 26 is National Pumpkin Day, but with fall being in full swing, pumpkins will be a mainstay part of our lives for many weeks to come, from decorating for Halloween and Thanksgiving to cooking delicious pumpkin-inspired foods as well. But did you also know it turns out pumpkin is good for your feline friend, too! You don’t want them munching on the pumpkin from your front stoop, or eating canned pumpkin filling that has added sugars and sweeteners, but canned organic pumpkin, pumpkin seeds, and cooked fresh pumpkin have many benefits for cats, such as:

Pumpkin is a wonderful source of fiber for cats, acting as a laxative, which keeps the GI tract moving in a regular pattern. The combination of fiber and moisture can assist in creating bulk that stimulates bowel movements. Pureed pumpkin (with no added sugar or spice), when given in small doses with a regular meal, is known to help keep cats regular and can also help them with indigestion or upset stomachs.

How much is a small amount? According to, you should follow these guidelines when giving pumpkin to your cat (consulting with your veterinarian first before you make changes to kitty’s diet to make sure what you are doing is in her best interest, especially in instances regarding young adult cats or kittens):

Use a level measuring spoon to ensure that you are using the right amount. Adult cats: 1/2 teaspoon – 1 teaspoon pumpkin daily.

Pumpkin seeds: start with a tiny amount, 1/16 to 1/8 teaspoon. For anything higher, consult your veterinarian.

Most cats like pumpkin, but if your cat turns up her nose at the new taste/texture, try mixing the pumpkin into a wet food diet.

Be very mindful at every process of introducing the pumpkin into your cat’s diet to be aware of the GI tract and the firmness and frequency of the stools.

Hairballs in cats can also be relieved by pumpkin, much in the same way it relieves constipation and it can also aid in the treatment of diarrhea as it contains soluble fiber that can absorb excess water in the digestive tract, reducing or relieving diarrhea. If your cat has diarrhea for longer than 24 hours your veterinarian should be consulted.

Along with digestive powers, according to vetteedpumpkin is also jam-packed with nutrients that are beneficial to various bodily systems in cats by boosting the immune system and urinary health:

Vitamin A helps maintain a healthy immune system and good vision.
Vitamin C is a cofactor for enzymatic reactions and collagen synthesis.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant and enzymatic activity regulator.
Alpha-carotene is an antioxidant that prevents damage to cells.
Calcium supports cytoplasmic functions and mineralizes bones and teeth.
Iron contributes to cellular respiration, oxidation, and hemoglobin production.
Lutein supports the health of the eyes, skin, and coat.

The Cornell Feline Health Center estimates more than 50 percent of cats seen at veterinary clinics are overweight, if not obese. Obesity-related health problems include heart disease, ruptured ligaments, respiratory compromise, tiredness, diabetes, greater susceptibility to certain types of liver disease, and osteoarthritis. Cats typically get fat because they eat too much and exercise too little. By reducing your cat’s food portion and replacing it with canned pumpkin, her stomach will feel full, causing her to eat less. As with any drastic change in diet, it is always best to consult with your veterinarian to determine the best course of action for your cat.

Hopefully, you’ve come to know the pumpkin as more than just a scary carved face or a piece of pie. Just remember when it comes to our feline friends, no pumpkin pie or deserts. Sugars and sweeteners are not good for your cat and you should also not give your cat pumpkin from a pumpkin that’s been sitting on your porch. Pumpkins can grow dangerous bacteria’s and they can also grow rancid or rot outside.

No stems, no pumpkin skin, no raw pumpkin, and no soft gooey pulp from the inside of the pumpkin – all of these can cause digestive issues. Fresh pumpkin seeds can be fed to cats, but NO salt or spices. Clean and roast them at 350 °F for 1 hour first and after they have cooled, grind the seeds before adding them to food. You can also feed your cat fresh pumpkin – bake until soft, remove the seeds, and cool before feeding.

Simple as that! Enjoy and three cheers to your cat’s healthy immune system, digestive tract, and urinary health!


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  1. meowmeowmans says:

    Pumpkins have so many great health benefits for cats! Thanks for the really informative primer, Deb. We’ll bookmark this post, for sure. Hope you’re all doing well! XO 🙂

  2. Awesome info, thanks! We’ve bought cat food with pumpkin in it and the cats love it – but it’s expensive … good to know the right amount we should add into a do-it-yourself pumpkin feeding!

  3. jmuhj says:

    Thanking you for this and sharing on a favorite cat-centric site! I often talk about pumpkin for feline digestion, so I appreciate the added details and measurements you have given us.

  4. Great information ! We should give it a try ! Purrs

  5. Lots of good info about giving cats pumpkin. Unfortunately, we don’t like pumpkin very much.

  6. Ellen Pilch says:

    Great post! I wish my cats would eat pumpkin, but none will eat it.

  7. We gave Chucky canned pumpkin for years, for his digestive issues. Nowadays, I simply want toasted pumpkin seeds for myself…LOL!