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Is Chicory Toxic To Cats? Safety And Feeding Tips

is chicory toxic to cats

Is chicory toxic to cats? Studies have shown that the chicory plant is great for humans, with anti-inflammatory properties. But, food that’s good for us isn’t always the best for our pets. Luckily, chicory is not toxic to cats. In fact, some commercial cat and dog pet foods might actually include chicory as an ingredient. However, cats are obligate carnivores. This means they do not need plant matter to survive or stay healthy. As a general rule, cats fare better on diets made up of animal matter. Feeding them plants like chicory can cause upset stomachs, even though the plant itself is not known to be toxic. In this guide, I’ll take a closer look at the potential benefits chicory can offer to our cats, and whether your cat needs chicory as part of its diet.


Is Chicory Toxic to Cats?

Chicory is not toxic to cats. This is an open-field flower that you might be growing in your garden. And, if your cats are anything like mine, they’ll love to investigate everything you’re doing – even if that means chewing and digging at your plants.

You don’t need to panic if your cat eats the chicory plant. It is not toxic, but it can cause some mild gastrointestinal upset, like any non-toxic plant can in cats. This is because cats’ digestive systems are not designed to process vegetation like this. Cats are obligate carnivores. So, they get all of the nutrients they need from meat and animal products.

What Part of Chicory is Edible to Cats?

Several recent studies have found health benefits for cats that consume chicory roots. Scientists at Friskies and Nestle Research and Development Centres found that chicory can boost a cat’s digestion and skin health among other benefits.

is chicory toxic to cats

Health Benefits of Chicory Root to Cats

In recent days, some pet food manufacturers have started adding chicory root to their foods. Similarly, supplements are now available with quite promising claims. Let us look at the tested and proven health benefits of chicory for your cat to avoid confusion.

1. Chicory Supports Digestion

Several studies have found chicory root to be quite beneficial in reducing stomach discomfort in both humans and animals. One study administered chicory-derived inulin to humans suffering from stomach gasses and found that it improved tolerance.

Chicory root is a rich source of fiber. Fiber promotes good digestion in humans and animals. So, if your cat is suffering from digestion issues, you might want to try switching to a commercial food that includes chicory in its ingredients. But, remember to always consult your veterinarian first if your cat is having any health issues like this. They will be best placed to identify any underlying causes.

2. Helps With Biome Balance

Chicory is also instrumental in balancing your cat’s biome. In other words, the inulin found in the root helps regulate bacterial balance right from the mouth to the intestines. This can prevent and soothe digestive problems and discomfort.

3. Improves Cat’s Immune System

The other potential health benefit of chicory to your cat is that it helps its overall immune system. A healthy immune system will go a long way to improving your cat’s overall quality of life.

4. It Promotes Appetite in Cats

A fussy cat is always frustrating. But, some fussy cats will love commercial foods with chicory. And, some veterinarians might recommend trying foods with chicory to deal with digestive issues that can suppress appetite in our pets.

Remember, if your cat has suddenly stopped wanting to eat their food, you should always consult your veterinarian before trying remedies like chicory root. They will be able to identify what is causing this reaction in the first place, and treat any health problems.

The Risks Associated with Chicory for Cats

Given the potential benefits listed above, offering chicory to your cat might seem like a no-brainer. But, there are risks to consider before you do. Chicory is not toxic to cats, but even non-toxic plants can cause stomach upset in our kitties. Particularly if they eat large amounts. So, if you’re offering your cat food with chicory root, or if you want to add some chicory root to their current diet, always start off with a very small amount to test your cat’s reaction.

It’s also worth mentioning that chicory shouldn’t be used in place of proper veterinary treatment. So, if your cat is already experiencing digestive issues, or is showing signs of illness, go to a vet first, before trying chicory. An upset stomach and lack of appetite can be symptoms of some really serious health problems. Chicory won’t necessarily fix a health issue that causes these symptoms. It can soothe the symptoms, but won’t address the underlying cause. Leaving this untreated can cause your cat’s health to worsen.

Do Cats Need Chicory?

Our domestic cats, like their wild ancestors, are obligate carnivores. This means they do not need any plant matter to lead a healthy life. They can survive and thrive on a diet made completely of meat and animal products. So, no, your cat does not need chicory.

This doesn’t mean that chicory can’t offer some benefits. But, your cat should be getting all of the nutrients they need from their main diet.

How Much Chicory Root Can You Give a Cat?

While many studies support the medicinal benefits of chicory, these studies are mostly anecdotal. In other words, there are no conclusive tests that can support the medicinal use of chicory. So, you should never use chicory as a substitute for real medicine and veterinary help.

If you have spoken to your vet and want to try chicory in your cat’s diet, either choose a reputable commercial brand that includes this ingredient and transition to this new food. Or, add a very small amount of this plant to your cat’s diet. Start in very small amounts, as some cats may not react well to chicory. Any plant matter, including chicory, can cause stomach upsets in cats, including vomiting and diarrhea. If this happens with your cat, stop feeding them chicory immediately.

Other Foods to Offer Your Cat

There are plenty of other foods and treats you can share with your cat. But, it’s always worth researching a new food before offering it on a plate. Even meaty snacks can contain high levels of salt, and other nutrients that can harm our cats in very large quantities. Here are some of our other cat food guides so you can check if the following foods are safe:

Is Chicory Toxic to Cats? Final Thoughts

Chicory is not toxic to cats, but it can still cause some digestive issues because cats are obligate carnivores. This plant can offer some potential benefits, but it should never be used as a substitute for medicine. If your cat suffers from a lack of appetite or indigestion, visit a veterinary doctor. You can also buy cat foods that are enriched with chicory. This is the best way to feed your cat without worrying about dosage issues if your veterinarian has recommended trying it.

More Cat Care and Food Guides




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