“And I’m in the field of dandelions, wishing on everyone…” Who else has this song stuck in their mind after spending not more than three minutes on TikTok in the morning? Who else plays this song for their four-legged friend whenever she sees a dandelion and starts acting weird? Can cats eat dandelions?
You’re not the only one wondering, and you have nothing to be embarrassed about! Your furry friend has probably gotten bored with her regular cat food and cat treats and she’s looking to spice things up with an occasional fruit, vegetable, or… a plant.
Dandelions might not be the first thing you remember when thinking about your cat‘s diet, but they‘re a gripping thought, nonetheless. Dandelion flowers, dandelion leaves, and dandelion roots have their place on a human‘s plate, but who‘s to say the same thing about your cat‘s plate?
Don‘t worry, according to our friends over at the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), cats can eat dandelions. Dandelions aren’t poisonous to your feline friend. But, she shouldn’t eat them on a regular for a bunch of reasons we’re going to discuss throughout the article.
What are dandelions?
We should start from the beginning, shouldn’t we? Dandelions aren‘t JUST annoying weeds, regardless of what your grandmother keeps saying whenever you and your feline friend come over.
Actually, these yellow flowers (Taraxacum officinale, for those of you who are looking for more than a “cute yellow flower” description) grow EVERYWHERE around the world. They’re pretty dandy (pun ABSOLUTELY intended) because they have a bunch of nutritional and health benefits.
They originated in North America, and they have been used by Native Americans FOR CENTURIES for medicinal purposes. “How can a simple flower have medical benefits?”, you might be asking. What are the benefits of dandelions?
Dandelions have SO MANY benefits they deserve a separate article. For example, dandelions are rich in antioxidants that can improve your immune system and maintain the proper function of your digestive system. They can reduce your cholesterol, regulate your blood sugar, and lower your blood pressure.
Dandelions have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. And, let’s not forget that dandelions can keep your skin and hair happy and healthy. Actually, you can find dandelions listed as one of the ingredients in numerous supplements.
We’re pretty sure that dandelions are starting to look like the crème de la crème of plants right about now. But, before you and your four-legged friend run off to the nearest meadow and realize your wildest cottagecore dreams, you might want to consider a couple of things.
Can cats eat dandelions?
Cats can eat dandelions because these yellow flowers aren’t considered poisonous (thank you ASPCA!). But, there’s always but when it comes to feeding your cat anything she isn’t supposed to eat on a regular.
You see, cats are carnivores. They require a bunch of meat, animal protein, and animal nutrients to survive and thrive. They don’t require fruits, veggies, greens, and whole grains the same way humans do.
And their digestive systems don’t even possess the enzymes necessary to break down and process most foods humans eat on a regular. Do you want to feed your cat a mouth-watering cake? Cats can’t even taste sweet things. You want to feed your cat cheese? Cats are lactose intolerant.
You get the picture, you can’t really share everything you eat with your cat. Even when she gives you that look. Even when she meows and purrs your ears off. And even when she suffocates you with cuddles and kisses hoping you capitulate.
Cats can eat dandelions, so you don’t have much to worry about. But, cats shouldn’t eat dandelions regularly because (although packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants) they aren’t a natural part of a cat’s diet.
What’s good about dandelions?
You might have guessed this one yourself, but dandelions are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. We mentioned a couple of health benefits (a couple, more like a ton!), but these benefits don’t really apply when we’re talking about your pet’s diet.
Here’s the thing, your precious purrincess should get most of her nutrients from cat food, cat treats, and (potentially) from other animals. Wild cats get their nutrients from the flesh (and the insides) of their prey. But, your not-so-wild cat can’t do that, now can she?
She can munch on a dandelion or two to get her dose of vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C, and vitamin K. Vitamins help boost your cat’s immune system and maintain the health of her bones, skin, and hair (Beyonce who?!). They also ensure the proper function of her nervous system.
Feeding dandelions to your cat can provide her with a dose of potassium, magnesium, manganese, and calcium. Your cat needs her daily dose of vitamins and minerals to ensure the proper function of enzymes that are responsible for maintaining the health of her metabolism.
Dandelions might not be a natural part of your cat’s diet. But, they‘re certainly a part that’s going to make her happy and healthy. Come on, who wouldn’t want to run through a field of dandelions?!
Trust me, you don’t have to keep asking yourself “can cats eat dandelions?” and “are dandelions poisonous?” because they can and they’re not.
What’s bad about dandelions?
Nothing’s bad about dandelions, but you can never be TOO CAREFUL when it comes to your cat’s health and your cat’s safety. This flower isn’t the first thing you remember when you think to yourself “Hmm, are there any plants that can kill my cat?”
But, you can’t forget that dandelions can carry certain pesky passengers that can cause harm to your cat’s health. Yes, we’re talking about herbicides and pesticides that can find their way onto a dandelion flower or a dandelion leaf.
Herbicides and pesticides ARE poisonous to cats. They can cause a bunch of adverse reactions such as stomach upset, diarrhea, vomiting, and other digestion issues. They can even cause an overnight staycation at your cat’s litterbox (diuretics aren’t as fun as we made them sound).
But (other than a couple of farts) dandelions shouldn’t cause harm to your cat unless they’re consumed excessively over a longer period. Let’s just say that the two of you can run through that field of dandelions once or twice a month, not more than that.
Can cats eat dandelion flowers?
They sure can! Dandelion flowers aren’t poisonous to cats and they don’t contain pretty much ANYTHING to raise your eyebrows at. Dandelion flowers contain a bunch of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which makes them a great pick-me-up.
Next time you catch your cat chewing on dandelion flowers, give her a hand (or should we say a paw?). These yellow flowers are certainly better than other herbs your cat can find in the field (or in the garden). Chamomile, lemongrass, and mint shouldn’t even be in the same sentence as dandelion flowers.
Can cats eat dandelion leaves?
Yes, they can! Dandelion greens or dandelion leaves get an A+ from your four-legged friend. They’re pretty pleasing to play with, and they’re a great refresher when your cat’s feeling a little bit parched. You can sprinkle them on top of her regular cat food or feed them to her as they are.
Dandelion leaves are pretty versatile, you can even boil them and make a refreshing dandelion tea. And, there’s no reason for your furry friend NOT to enjoy any of them.
Can cats eat dandelion root?
They absolutely can! Actually, the dandelion root supports your cat’s healthy liver function and helps with detoxification and waste excretion. Cats with digestive problems such as constipation or diarrhea can benefit from an occasional dandelion root treat more than healthy cats.
But, that’s not to say that dandelion roots shouldn’t find their way into your cat’s bowl unless she’s dealing with health problems. Dandelion’s great for everyone! Feel free to run off to that dandelion field with your four-legged friend as soon as you’re done reading this article.