Your cat can enjoy the season’s holidays with…pumpkin!

I love you pumpkin
I love you pumpkin

(c) sianc / Dollar Photo Club

With Halloween just behind us and Thanksgiving only a couple of weeks away, it seems like pumpkins are everywhere you look.  And this is good news for your kitty, because pumpkin is a healthy supplement you can easily incorporate into your cat’s diet.  Additionally, thanks to the miracle of canning, it’s something that he can enjoy year-round, not just during the cool-weather holiday season!  The primary benefit of pumpkin is its naturally high dietary fiber content.  If your kitty has occasional digestive issues, pumpkin can help with the following:

  • Constipation – The fiber in pumpkin will help “get things moving” if your kitty is a bit backed up.  It will clear out the gastrointestinal tract and help your cat get back on track!
  • Diarrhea – Even though this is pretty much the opposite of constipation, fiber is also excellent at absorbing extra moisture and can help get rid of the “runs”.
  • Weight Loss – If you’re trying to help your cat shed a little weight, you can substitute some pumpkin for food in his diet to help him feel a bit more full without the added calories.  You’ll definitely want to talk with your vet about how much food you can substitute with pumpkin, or before starting him on any reduced calorie diet, just to make sure he stays healthy!

If your cat experiences constipation or diarrhea, you may have occasional “outside the box” issues.  Both of these conditions result in a loss of control for your cat, so he may end up “going” when and where the urge strikes him; unfortunately, this can be outside of the litterbox.  These conditions can also be painful, and your kitty does not have the instinct to sit in his litterbox to wait until his bowels are ready to move.  So try to understand where your cat is coming from – he doesn’t want to go outside of the litterbox!

If you decide to help treat your cat’s constipation or diarrhea by adding pumpkin to his diet, you should see improvements within a few hours to 1-2 days.  Most cats will enjoy a bit of pumpkin mixed in with their wet food, or all by itself.  You’ll want to buy the pure, cooked, pureed canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling) and start your cat on it by adding 1/2 teaspoon to your cat’s wet food once per day to see how he does.  You can gradually increase the amount of pumpkin to a total of 1 tablespoon per day, divided between meals. To keep pumpkin from spoiling, you can freeze it in ice cube or muffin trays and thaw it when necessary, or even give it as a frozen snack!  Pumpkin, in limited quantities, can be added to your kitty’s meals on a regular basis.

If your cat continues to experience diarrhea or constipation, you’ll need to consult your veterinarian to make sure your kitty is healthy.  You shouldn’t rely on pumpkin alone to “cure” your cat, although it is a supplement that can help!  Always ask your vet if you have any questions or concerns about your cat’s health.

Does your cat like eating pumpkin?  Let us know in a comment below! 🙂

Marci Koski

Marci Koski

Dr. Marci Koski is a certified Feline Training and Behavior Specialist whose mission is to keep cats in homes and out of shelters. If you are having problems with your cat's behavior, visit Marci's website at Marci also volunteers with Furry Friends, a no-kill cat rescue organization in Vancouver, WA. You can learn more about Furry Friends at their website,

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