Can Cats Eat Broccoli?

Sandra C. Mitchell, DVM, DABVP
By Sandra C. Mitchell, DVM, DABVP on Mar. 1, 2024
orange tabby cat looking a plate of raw vegetables

Adobe Stock/scharfsinn86

Broccoli is a popular veggie for us humans to snack on, but what about our four-legged felines? Though we might not think that our cats would enjoy vegetables, your kitty might show some interest when it’s on your plate. But can cats eat broccoli, or is broccoli bad for cats?

Here’s what to know before sharing broccoli with your pet.

Is Broccoli Good for Cats?

Because it’s not toxic, broccoli is safe for cats—but it isn’t necessarily good for them.

Cats are obligate carnivores. This means they need to get the majority of their calories directly from animal-based meats. Other foods, including vegetables like broccoli, are harder for them to digest and generally don’t yield much useful nutrition. 

However, if your kitty enjoys broccoli, it’s safe for them in small amounts. Broccoli is also rich in fiber and low in calories, sugars, and fats.

Just be sure to keep the portions small; feeding your cat too much broccoli can result in gastrointestinal (GI) upset, gas, and abdominal discomfort. Large pieces of broccoli for cats can could also result in a choking hazard or gastrointestinal obstruction.

How Much Broccoli Can Cats Eat?

If your feline friend shows interest in broccoli, start by sharing a small piece—one that’s about the size of your pinky nail. If no signs of stomach upset occur after they chow down, you can gradually increase the amount.

In general, you can feed your cat broccoli in portions about the size of your thumb (cut into smaller pieces) once or twice per week. If at any point in time you notice signs of gastrointestinal upset after your cat eats broccoli, stop offering the veggie.

It’s always best to check with your veterinarian before adding new food to your cat's food bowl.

How To Safely Prepare Broccoli for Cats

If you decide to share some broccoli with your cat, only offer small amounts of cooked, chopped broccoli. It must be totally plain (with no seasonings or butter). Cooked broccoli is easier for your cat to digest, although raw broccoli is also safe if chopped prior to feeding. Steaming or baking the broccoli maintains more of its healthy qualities, but boiling this vegetable is also safe.

Other Foods to Feed Your Cat

Looking for other cat-friendly human foods to share with your feline? The best option is to take a walk through your grocery store’s meat department for inspiration.

Cooked meats are often very popular with cats and add some nutritious calories as a special snack. Lean meats such as turkey, chicken, beef, and a variety of fish flavors such as tuna, salmon, and haddock are likely to be both popular with your cat and a healthy addition to their diet.

Sandra C. Mitchell, DVM, DABVP


Sandra C. Mitchell, DVM, DABVP


Sandra Mitchell is a 1995 graduate of the New York State College of Veterinary Medicine. Since graduation, she has worked in many fields...

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