Pumpkin For Cats

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With Halloween fast approaching, this seems an appropriate time to discuss the use of pumpkin for cats with gastrointestinal problems including diarrhea, constipation or just a plain upset tummy.

Old-time cat breeders have used pumpkin since before there were commercial medications to help with digestive problems.

Recently, with the increase in the popularity of holistic veterinary medicine, pumpkin has once again gained a higher profile as a digestive aid.

For Diarrhea

Since the dietary fiber in canned pumpkin absorbs water, it can be a great help in treating diarrhea. Some reports state that pumpkin firms up loose stools within a few hours.

For Constipation

While it may seem contradictory since it helps with diarrhea, but canned pumpkin is also an excellent stool softener and a good natural remedy for constipation.

Indigestion

A bit of pumpkin can also help settle an upset tummy or a kitty with indigestion.

Type of Pumpkin

You cannot feed just any type of pumpkin to your cat. You want to choose 100% pure pureed pumpkin. It can usually be found in the canned vegetable aisle of the grocery store.

Do not use pumpkin pie filling! It has added ingredients that definitely would not agree with your cat's digestive tract.

How Much?

How much pumpkin to give your cat is not an exact science :-).

  • Generally, add between 1/2 and 1 teaspoon of pumpkin to every meal.
  • Give kittens a bit less and adults a bit more.
  • Gauge the effectiveness of the dosage by (there is no delicate way of putting this) observing the output in the litter box. By evaluating the stool, you can fine tune the dose to obtain the desired results.

How To Give It

  • If the cat usually eats wet food, the pumpkin can be added to the meal.
  • Some cats love pumpkin and eat it readily.
  • Other cats won't eat food with pumpkin added to it.
  • Fortunately, pureed pumpkin can be easily drawn up into a 3cc syringe and fed to the cat directly.

Preparation

Pureed pumpkin comes in a can and has a short shelf life once the can is opened. If you are only using a little pumpkin, you end up wasting a lot. Instead of allowing the contents of the open can to go to waste, divide the contents into single doses and place it into muffin cups. The muffin cups can be covered and kept in the freezer until needed.

How Soon?

The cat's stool may begin to firm within a few hours of eating the pumpkin puree. Generally, if it is going to work, it works within a day or two. If you don't see results within that time frame, try increasing the amount of pumpkin you are feeding by feeding it more often or giving more each feeding.

Precaution

Pumpkin can be helpful in dealing with diarrhea or constipation that is due to a temporary imbalance in a cat's digestive tract. If the cat has a parasite such as giardia or coccidiosis, medications specific to those conditions are needed. Pumpkin will be ineffective in such a case.

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