Can Cats Eat Artichokes?

12 Min Read

Artichokes, those exotic and intriguing vegetables that grace our plates in a myriad of delicious ways. But have you ever wondered if these delectable delights are safe for our feline friends? Well, you’re in luck! In this blog post, we’re going to dive deep into the question that’s been plaguing cat lovers everywhere: can cats eat artichokes?

The Curiosity Awakens

Picture this: you’re enjoying a scrumptious artichoke-based dish when your feline companion, with eyes wide with curiosity, starts inching closer. That’s when the question pops into your mind: “Is it safe for my cat to nibble on artichokes?”

The Purr-fect Answer

Let’s cut straight to the chase and put your feline worries to rest. No, cats should not eat artichokes. While artichokes might be a delicious and healthy choice for us humans, they aren’t exactly tailored to meet the nutritional needs of our whiskered pals.

Even though artichokes themselves are not toxic to cats, they do not offer any substantial nutritional value for our whiskered companions. In fact, they are unlikely to garner much interest from most cats due to their unique taste and texture.

Now that we have a better understanding of a cat’s dietary needs, let’s address the big question:

The Nutritional Conundrum

Cats are obligate carnivores, which means their bodies are designed to thrive on a diet primarily composed of meat. They require certain nutrients, such as taurine, that are found abundantly in animal protein. On the other hand, artichokes do contain many vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial nutrients for cats like:

  • Vitamin C: Important for immune function and collagen production.
  • Folate: Essential for cell growth and many metabolic processes.
  • Vitamin K: Important for blood clotting and bone health.
  • Manganese: Aids in bone formation and metabolism.
  • Magnesium: Required for many enzymatic reactions and organ function.
  • Fiber: Aids digestion and helps keep cats full between meals.

However, the nutritional benefits of occasional artichoke treats are negligible and should not be viewed as a substitution for a complete and balanced cat food.

The Digestive Dilemma

Not only do artichokes lack the necessary nutrients, but they also pose a challenge to a cat’s delicate digestive system. These thorny delights contain a compound called cynarin, which can cause digestive upset in cats. From upset tummies to potential diarrhea, the aftermath of a feline feasting on artichokes can be far from pleasant.

Signs of Artichoke Overindulgence

Now, let’s say your mischievous cat manages to sneak a nibble of an artichoke against your best efforts. How would you know if there’s cause for concern? Look out for these telltale signs that your cat might have had a little too much artichoke goodness:

  • Vomiting: If your cat starts hurling more than just hairballs, it could be a sign of artichoke-induced distress.
  • Diarrhea: Messy litter boxes are never fun, but if your cat’s litter box becomes an even greater mess, artichokes might be the culprit.
  • Lethargy: Is your normally energetic feline suddenly more sluggish than usual? Artichokes could be the reason behind the sudden change in behavior.

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s best to contact your veterinarian for guidance and to rule out any potential complications.

Are Artichokes Safe For Cats to Eat?

If you wan to give your cat artichokes, then the short answer is: yes, artichokes can be safe for cats to eat in moderation and when prepared properly. However, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Only offer your cat the soft inner leaf bases (the “heart”) and avoid the tough outer leaves. The outer leaves can be a choking hazard and are difficult for cats to chew.
  • Remove any thorns or spines before giving artichoke to your cat. The prickly bits can scratch their mouth or throat.
  • Only provide artichokes that have been cooked without any additional seasonings or additives – raw artichokes contain certain compounds like cynarin that can cause nausea or stomach upset in some animals, and certain herbs or spices commonly used in human cooking can be harmful to them.
  • Only give artichokes as an occasional treat in moderation. Due to their high fiber content, too many artichokes may lead to digestive issues in cats like gas, diarrhea, or constipation when given excessively.
  • Some cats may be allergic to artichokes. Watch your cat closely the first time they eat artichokes to ensure they don’t exhibit any allergic reaction symptoms like itching, swelling, or rash. Discontinue immediately if any negative reaction occurs.
  • Artichokes are non-toxic to cats but the tough outer leaves and thistles can still pose a risk of injury or blockage. Only provide the soft, inner portions of the artichoke and always supervise your cat when offering this treat.

So while cats should stay away from artichokes, they can absolutely be a safe treat option for cats in moderation and when properly prepared, be sure to remember these tips to keep your feline friend happy and healthy.

Feline-Friendly Alternatives

Just because artichokes are off the menu doesn’t mean your kitty can’t enjoy a variety of other tasty treats. Here are some feline-friendly alternatives that will tickle your cat’s taste buds without compromising their health:

  • Cooked Chicken: A lean and protein-packed option that cats often find irresistible.
  • Fish: Opt for cooked fish, such as salmon or tuna, which are excellent sources of essential omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Cat-Specific Treats: Explore the wide range of commercially available treats formulated specifically for feline palates. Just be sure to check the ingredients for any potential allergens or harmful additives.


Here are some frequently asked questions about cats and artichokes:

Can artichokes be part of my cat’s regular diet?

Artichokes can be an occasional treat for cats but should not make up a large part of their regular diet. Due to their high fiber content, too many artichokes may lead to issues like gas or changes in stool. As with any treat, artichokes should be limited to no more than 10% of your cat’s daily calories.

Will artichokes make my cat gassy?

The high fiber content and certain carbohydrates in artichokes may lead to excess gas in some cats. To reduce the chance of gas, only give cooked artichokes in moderation and be sure to watch your cat for a few hours after giving them artichokes for the first time. Excessive gas can often be managed by spacing out or eliminating the treat.

Can kittens eat artichokes?

Artichokes may be suitable for kittens in very small amounts and under supervision. Make sure all pieces are minced or mashed to prevent choking. Kittens have sensitive digestive systems, so watch closely for any signs of upset stomach.

Are canned or jarred artichokes okay for cats? 

Canned or jarred artichoke hearts packed in water are fine for cats in moderation. Avoid those packed in oil, as too much oil can lead to digestive issues and weight gain in cats.

Can I give artichokes to a diabetic cat? 

Artichokes are a high fiber, complex carb food that may affect blood sugar levels in some diabetic cats. Only introduce in moderation and monitor your cat closely. It is best to check with your vet before giving treats to a diabetic cat.

How many calories do artichokes have? 

A half cup of cooked artichoke hearts contains about 80 calories. This is equivalent to about 4% of an average cat’s daily calorie needs. Limit treats to no more than 10% of your cat’s calories per day.

Can I grow cat-safe artichokes in my garden?

 Yes, if you ensure all spiny and thorny outer portions of the plant are kept away from cats. The tender inner leaves and heart can be safe if prepared properly. Plant only non-toxic varieties and consider deterrents to keep cats out of the garden.

Should I give my cat canned or fresh artichoke? 

Fresh, cooked artichoke hearts are a more natural option but either canned (in water) or fresh can be suitable in moderation. Rinse canned artichokes thoroughly to remove excess sodium. Avoid those canned in oil.

How should I prepare artichoke for my cat? 

Thoroughly rinse the artichoke and cut off about 1 inch from the top. Use kitchen shears to cut off all sharp points from outer leaves. Steam or boil until a fork easily pierces the bottom- about 30-40 minutes. Allow to cool, then scrape off fuzzy choke and cut the heart into bite-sized pieces, mashing slightly before serving.

How can I make artichokes more appealing to my cat? 

Mash cooked artichoke hearts with a little bit of tuna water, chicken or vegetable broth to boost the aroma and palatability for many cats. You can also try topping artichoke hearts with a little bit of cooked egg yolk, bone broth, or baby food.


While artichokes may be a culinary delight for humans, they should not find a place on your cat’s plate. As obligate carnivores, cats require a diet rich in animal protein and specific nutrients that artichokes simply cannot provide. To keep your feline friend healthy and happy, it’s best to stick to a balanced diet specifically designed for their needs.

Remember, the next time your cat gives you those irresistible pleading eyes while you savor a delicious artichoke dish, you can confidently say, “Sorry, kitty, artichokes are off-limits for you!”

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