Rice is one of the most popular cereal grains produced for worldwide consumption. It comes in a wide range of varieties and can be used for the preparation of countless dishes.
An urban legend says feeding uncooked rice to birds makes them explode, and some apply that tale to cats as well. However, rice in moderate portions can help your cat's digestion and give him the energy he needs to chase birds away from your window and jump on your countertops.
However, rice is nonetheless a grain crop. And many high quality cat food manufacturers actually praise their products on being grain-free.
How much rice you feed your cat or if you should even feed your cat rice at all is dependent on the cat's age, body and health condition. With that said, here are the essential questions you should be asking if you're thinking about feeding your cat rice or simply just want to know more on the matter.
When is white or brown rice good and safe for my cat?
As mentioned, rice can do wonders for you cat's digestion which is all the more important as cats have notoriously sensitive stomachs. Even if they are healthy overall, they can still suffer from diarrhoea, which can lead to a variety of secondary problems caused by dehydration.
A small amount of cooked rice mixed with your pet’s typical food can improve digestion in terms of making their stools harder and stopping the diarrhoea, thus preventing dehydration. Soft and moist cooked rice is easy for digestion.
Moreover, rice is non-toxic and won’t have side effects granted it's given to them in moderate quantities. Many cat foods actually contain grains like rice, wheat and corn. The carbs in rice also give your cat energy to help him stay peppy and perky all day.
Source: The Happy Cat Site
When is rice bad for my cat to eat?
As with most food, moderation is key and feeding your cat rice has both its pros and cons. Felines are carnivores and their primary source of nutrition comes from meat. Rice can’t give your feline friend much protein – and cats thrive mainly on proteins.
Despite its digestive benefits, rice doesn't actually have much nutritional value for cats. In fact, too much rice can lead to malnourishment thus affecting your cat's lifespan and overall health. They are more than capable of surviving without it, provided you give them a high quality cat food diet.
If it’s given to newborns or small kittens, a rice-based diet can cause underdevelopment. In other words, the risks rice poses to your cat's health outweigh the one benefit of it battling diarrhoea.
Should I give my cat or kitten rice?
Now that you know the benefits and downsides to rice as feline food, it’s time to ask the fundamental question – can cats eat rice and should you give it to your own cat?
It's important to note that uncooked grain crops must be off limits for cats of all breeds and ages. Cooked rice must be mixed in small amounts with a food your cat is already used to and only if it’s suffering from a severe case of diarrhoea.
If you do decide to feed your cat rice, make sure that at least 50 percent of your ingredients come from meat products, preferably up to 75 percent. Even if the first ingredient listed is a meat product, there can still be more grains than meat.
Look carefully at the rest of the ingredients — if the next three or four listed are grains such as rice, wheat or barley, those ingredients combined can make up more than 50 percent of the food.
If in doubt, you can always ask your vet to recommend some food brands that contain the proper amount of protein for your cat.