Can Cats Eat Quinoa? 9 Healthy Reasons Why Cats Can Have Quinoa

I was recently doing my morning routine when I noticed my cat licking the leftover quinoa that I’d had for breakfast. For a moment it took me aback, because never in my over 26 years as a cat purrent had I ever seen a cat feast on that. So, can cats eat quinoa safely?

Let’s take a look and see what this plant-based grain has to offer.

Can Cats Eat Quinoa?

Yes, cats can eat quinoa. This grain is a good source of protein and essential nutrients, and it’s perfectly safe for your feline friend. However, it’s not the best option as it is high in calories. It should also be cooked before cats can eat it.

What Are the Nutritional Benefits of Cats Having Quinoa?

1. It’s a Source of Protein for Cats

Good protein is food that contains all of the essential amino acids that your cat’s body needs to function properly. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and there are 20 of them in total.

Felines need all 20 amino acids to stay healthy, but they can only produce 11 of them on their own. The other 9 must be obtained through their diet.

Quinoa is a protein because it contains all 9 of the essential amino acids that felines need. This makes it an excellent source of nutrition for furry bestie.

Essential amino acids are important for many different bodily functions, including:

-Building and repairing muscle tissue

-Regulating metabolism

-Maintaining a healthy immune system

Disclaimer: Cats need more animal proteins than plant proteins. Their bodies are more adapted to absorbing nutrients from animal protein. Plant protein should only supplement the animal protein sources.

2. Rich in Vitamins and Minerals

Quinoa is an excellent source of vitamins, providing many essential nutrients that are required for good health.

It’s also a good source of minerals, including iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese.

quinoa safe for cats
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3. Low in Fat

Quinoa is a low-fat grain that is packed with nutrients making it a great addition to your cat’s diet.

4. Easy to Digest

Quinoa is high in fiber, which helps to keep your cat’s digestive system moving smoothly and can also help to prevent hairballs. It’s also gluten-free, which is important for cats who are sensitive or allergic to gluten.

5. Can Help With Weight Loss

Quinoa is a high-protein, low-carbohydrate food that can be very helpful for felines trying to lose weight. A single cup of cooked contains about eight grams of protein and only five grams of carbohydrates.

It’s also very filling, so it can help kitto feel satisfied after eating and prevent you from overeating.

can kittens eat quinoa

6. Gluten-free

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. It is what gives bread its chewy texture and beer its foamy head.

For some felines, eating gluten can cause serious health problems. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that damages the lining of the small intestine.

This can lead to malabsorption of nutrients, which can lead to serious health problems like anemia, osteoporosis and even cancer.

7. May Promote Hydration in Cats

As a whole grain, quinoa is a good source of complex carbohydrates. These carbs are slowly broken down and released into the bloodstream, providing cats with a steady stream of energy.

It’s also a good source of fiber, which helps keep cats hydrated by absorbing water from the digestive tract.

In addition, this grain contains essential vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, potassium, and zinc. All of these nutrients help keep kitto healthy and hydrated.

If you’re wondering how much water your cat needs to take per day, you can check out this cool post I wrote on cat hydration.

8. Can Prevent or Treat Diabetes in Cats

The high fiber content in this grain can help regulate blood sugar levels, which is important for pets with diabetes. Additionally, magnesium can help improve insulin sensitivity.

There is some preliminary evidence that the grain may help prevent or treat diabetes in felines. One study found that rats fed a diet containing quinoa had lower blood sugar levels than those fed a control diet.

9. Prevents Seizures and Muscle Spasms in Cats

Quinoa helps prevent seizures and muscle spasms because it is a good source of fiber and protein. Fiber can help to slow the passage of food through the digestive system. Protein can help to build and repair muscles.

Nutrient% of daily calories needs
Lipid fat6.70%
Dietary fiber9.82%
(Table is based on calories of an average neutered/spayed adult house weighing 3.6 kgs cat and data from USDA)

Is Quinoa Bad for Cats: Possible Problems Associated With Feeding This Grain to Pets

1. Quinoa Can Be Toxic

While quinoa is generally safe for felines, there are a few things to keep in mind. Quinoa can be high in oxalates, which can cause kidney stones.

The symptoms of toxicity in cats include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and loss of appetite. In severe cases, the toxicity can lead to liver damage and death.

2. Can Cause Diarrhea and Other Gastrointestinal Issues in Cats

Quinoa contains high levels of saponins, which are compounds that can cause gastrointestinal upset in felines. Saponins are also known to be toxic to some animals, so it’s best to avoid feeding them to your cat.

Your kitty may experience gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting and diarrhea. In severe cases, quinoa can cause an obstruction in the intestines.

If your cat is experiencing vomiting or diarrhea after eating quinoa, it is important to seek veterinary care immediately.

3. May Cause an Allergic Reaction in Cats

If your cat consumes quinoa and has an allergic reaction, they may experience symptoms such as:

  • Itching
  • Swelling
  • Hives
  • Vomiting

If your cat is experiencing any of the above symptoms, it is important to seek veterinary care immediately.

Your vet will likely recommend giving your cat antihistamines and/or corticosteroids to help relieve the symptoms. In severe cases, your vet may also recommend hospitalization for IV fluids and close monitoring.

4. Quinoa Grains Pose a Choking Hazard for Cats

While quinoa is a healthy grain for humans, it can be a choking hazard for cats. If you’re considering feeding your cat quinoa, make sure to cook it thoroughly and cut it into small pieces to avoid any accidents.

How do vets determine the cause of cat anxiety?
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Can Cats Eat Cooked Quinoa?

Yes, cats can eat cooked quinoa. There are a few things to keep in mind when feeding it to your feline friend. First, cooked quinoa should be cooled before serving to your cat.

Additionally, only small amounts of quinoa should be fed at first as some cats may experience digestive upset if they eat too much too fast.

Finally, if your cat has allergies, please consult your veterinarian before adding quinoa to their diet as it may trigger an allergic reaction.

So, How Do You Cook Quinoa for Cats?

1 cup quinoa

2 cups water


1. Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer.

2. Add the rinsed quinoa and water to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

3. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the quinoa is cooked through and has absorbed all the water.

4. Remove from heat and let cool before serving to your cat.

Can Cats Eat Steamed Quinoa?

Absolutely! Raw quinoa can be hard for cats (and other animals) to digest. Steaming or boiling the grain before feeding it to your cat will make it easier for them to digest and absorb the nutrients.

How to Feed Quinoa to Your Cats

Quinoa safe for cats

If you’re looking for a way to add some variety to your cat’s diet, quinoa is a great option. Not only is it packed with nutrients, but it’s also a delicious treat that your cat is sure to love. Here are a few tips for feeding quinoa to your cat:

1. Start with a small amount: When introducing quinoa to your cat, start with a small amount and gradually increase the amount over time. This will help your kitto to adjust to the new food and avoid any digestive upset.

2. Cook: The grain should be cooked before feeding it to your furry friend. This will make it easier for your kitty to digest and absorb the nutrients from the grain.

3. Add some protein: To make sure that your cat is getting all of the nutrients they need, add some protein-rich foods like chicken or fish to their quinoa dish. This will also make it more palatable for them since felines love meat!

4. Serve as a treat: Quinoa can be served as a treat or mixed into your cat’s regular food. If you’re serving it as a treat, make sure to only give them a small amount so that they don’t overindulge.

Can Cats Eat Grains: Alternatives That Can Be Fed to Cats?

Although cats are obligate carnivores, there are still some grains that they can enjoy. Some include:

Amaranth: This is a highly nutritious grain that is rich in protein and fiber. It is also a good source of vitamins and minerals, including iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

Buckwheat: Buckwheat is a nutrient-rich grain that is high in fiber and protein. It also contains several vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus.

Millet: It’s a nutritious grain that is high in fiber and protein. It also contains several vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus.

Oats: These are nutritious grains that are rich in fiber and protein. They also contain several essential vitamins and minerals, including thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc selenium.

Can cats eat grains: Alternatives that can be fed to cats?
Photo of oats by Castorly Stock on Pexels.com

How Much Quinoa Can Cats Eat?

The amount of quinoa you feed your cat will depend on their age, weight, and activity level. For most adult cats, less than 1/4 cup of dry quinoa is a good starting point.

If your cat is particularly active or tends to be on the lean side, you may want to increase their intake to 1/2 cup per day.

Kittens and senior cats may need less quinoa than adults – talk to your veterinarian about how much is right for your pet.

Avoid feeding felines with pancreatitis this grain as it may harm them. Additionally, it should not be a staple feed for your furry friend as cats are obligate carnivores and need meat protein to survive.

Is Quinoa a Complete and Balanced Food for Cats?

Quinoa is not a complete and balanced food because it does not contain all of the nutrients that cats need. Cats need animal proteins as their main meal. Quinoa can, however, supplement other foods.

However, there are some things to consider if you are thinking about feeding your cat quinoa.

Is Quinoa Good for Cats With Kidney Disease Too?

Cats suffering from kidney disease should not eat quinoa or quinoa sprouts. Quinoa is high in oxalates which form kidney stones. Although these are normally passed in urine, they can accumulate and require surgery to remove.

Adding a diet with oxalates to a cat with kidney disease will only make their kidneys strain more.

Keep in mind, you should also not include salt in your kitto’s meal. This is because salt can worsen the symptoms of kidney disease.

Other Frequently Asked Questions on Cats Eating Quinoa

Can Kittens Eat Quinoa?

Yes, kittens can eat quinoa. In fact, quinoa can be a great addition to their diet as it is high in protein, which is essential for proper growth and development. Kittens under 6 weeks should not eat quinoa.

It’s also a good source of fiber, which can help keep your kitten’s digestive system healthy. Additionally, quinoas contain vitamins and minerals that are important for overall health.

Can Cats Eat Black Quinoa?

Black quinoa is a variety of quinoa that is high in protein and nutrients, so it may be a good option for your cat if they are interested in trying it. Avoid making it their main meal. Constantly feeding your cat only quinoa will lead to malnutrition.

Be sure to cook the quinoa before feeding it to your cat and start with a small amount to see how they react.

Can Cats Have Tricolor Quinoa?

Cats can have tricolor quinoa, but it is not a common food for them. Tricolor quinoa is a variety of quinoa that is naturally colored red, white, and black. It is also sometimes called “tricolor quinoa.”

Is Quinoa Flour Healthy for Cats?

Quinoa flour is a healthy alternative to wheat flour for our furry besties. It is high in protein and fiber, and low in carbohydrates. It also contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein source.

Additionally, the flour is also gluten-free, making it a good option for cats with allergies or sensitivities to wheat or other grains.

cats eat quinoa flour
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Can Cats Eat Quinoa Bread?

Yes, felines can eat quinoa bread. Cats need animal protein to meet their nutritional needs, so it should only be given to them in small amounts as an occasional treat.

Can Cats Eat Quinoa Every Day?

Although cats can eat quinoa, it is not necessary for their diet, and don’t need to eat it daily. If you do feed your kitto quinoa, make sure to cook it first. Raw quinoa can be toxic to felines.

Is Quinoa Better Than Rice for Cats?

Quinoa is higher in protein than rice, and it also contains more fiber. Quinoa is also a good source of iron, magnesium, and potassium, while rice is a good source of thiamin, niacin, and vitamin B6.

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