Cats are obligate carnivores. This means that they must eat meat in order to thrive and survive. However, more varieties of cat food are being made to include fruits and veggies. While meat is biologically appropriate for cats, they can also benefit from the hidden health enhancing effects that fruits and vegetables give them.

Anti-Inflammatory Ingredients in Cat Food

Fruits and vegetables have natural anti-inflammatory properties that make for great additives in cat food. DHA, an Omega 3 fatty acid also known as docosahexaenioc acid, contains the best anti-inflammatory properties. Other plant based anti-inflamatory ingredients include: L-Carnitine, broccoli, acai-berries, pomegranates, green tea extract, Lycopene (found in tomatoes), curcumin (from turmeric), ginger, and quercetin (found in apples).

While you may recognize many of these ingredients in the cat food you purchase, you won’t see anti-inflammatory information on the bag’s packaging. Since these ingredients are not registered as anti-inflammatory drugs, regulations prevent them from being listed as having anti-inflammatory benefits. However, it doesn’t mean the benefits aren’t there.

Providing a natural anti-inflammatory to your pet on a consistent basis provides a proactive way to help keep your cat healthy, rather than worrying about inflammation once it is visible. Visible inflammation can include sunburn, hot spots, or swelling and joint pain. However, inflammation can occur throughout your cat’s entire body, causing invisible health issues, such as coronary disease, diabetes, arthrities, cognitive decline, and even obesity. All signs of chronic inflammation, these diseases can sometimes be prevented from occurring by giving your cat anti-inflammatories.

Antioxidants in Cat Food

Fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices are also sources of natural antioxidants. Anti-inflammatories help to prevent inflammation from occurring while antioxidants are natural defense mechanisms that work to neutralize free-radicals. Free-radicals are natural, negative by-products of normal metabolism that occur in all animals, including humans and pets. Using natural antioxidants helps to limit the damage caused by free-radicals. Vitamin C and Vitamin E are antioxidant vitamins. However, there are many more antioxidants that occur in fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices, including: blueberries with proanthocyanidins, carrots with beta-carotene, and rosemary with quinones. Typically, antioxidants work throughout the body to provide overall health benefits, but some benefit specific parts of the body. For example, dark, leafy vegetables and marigolds provide lutein, which helps protect eyes from ultra-violet light.

Fiber in Cat Food

A third hidden health benefit found in fruits and vegetables is fiber. While fiber used to be viewed as a cat food filler, research has shown that having the proper type and blend of fiber provides important health benefits to your cat’s digestive system health, which in turn affects your cat’s overall health. Fiber is used to control the proper movement and absorption of food in your cat’s digestive system. Fiber also supports the growth of a healthy population of bacteria and microflora in the digestive system, which benefits the health of the small and large intestinal tracts. Fruits and vegetables added to cat food helps provide the different types of fibers needed to maintain a healthier digestive system.

Supplementing Your Cat’s Food

If you decide to keep your cat on his current food, you can always add some fruits and veggies as a supplement. Some suggestions include:

  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Blueberries
  • Cranberries
  • Pomegranate
  • Apple
  • Papaya
  • Sweet Potato
  • Peas
  • Turnip
  • Red Pepper
  • Cherries
  • Green Beans

Please be aware, though, that not all fruits and vegetables are safe for pets. Onions, grapes and raisins, and garlic are just a few that can cause your cat to be sick or even die. If you are going to supplement your cat’s food with additional fruits and vegetables, please research the items before feeding them to your cat.

Popular Cat Food with Fruits & Veggies

Here are a few popular cat foods that contain fruits and veggies. (This list is not all-inclusive.)

Acana Grasslands
Cat & Kitten
Acana Wild Prairie
Cat & Kitten
Blue Buffalo Basics
LID Turkey & Potato
Blue Buffalo Healthy Living
Chicken & Brown Rice
Blue Buffalo
Indoor Health Adult
Blue Buffalo
Weight Control
Blue Buffalo
Wilderness Chicken
Earthborn Holistic
Feline Vantage
Earthborn Holistic
Grain Free Primitive
EVO Grain Free
Turkey & Chicken
Iams Healthy Naturals
with Wholesome Chicken
All Life Stages
Nulo FreeStyle Grain Free
Duck & Lentils Indoor
6 Fish
Regional Red
Primal Freeze Dried
Feline Chicken & Salmon

About The Author Kristen Sydelko

Kristen is the Web Coordinator at PetSolutions. She has over 5 years of experience working in the pet care industry, with many more years of pet ownership experience! When not at PetSolutions, Kristen enjoys spending time with her family (which includes an extremely spoiled Lab mix), crafting, and trying to decide when to set her fish tank back up.

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