What Happens If A Cat Eats Kale?

Cats are notoriously picky eaters, and as pet owners, we strive to provide them with the best possible nutrition. But what about human foods like kale? This leafy green has become a trendy superfood in recent years, and many cat owners wonder if their feline friends can also reap its health benefits. So, what happens if a cat eats kale?

Firstly, it’s essential to understand that cats are obligate carnivores. Their diet should consist mainly of meat, and while kale is packed with nutrients like fiber, vitamins C and K, and antioxidants, it’s not necessary for their diet. In fact, feeding your cat too much kale can cause digestive issues like vomiting or diarrhea.

Additionally, the high levels of oxalates in kale can lead to calcium oxalate stones in your cat’s urinary tract. That being said, offering your cat a small portion of kale as an occasional treat won’t harm them. However, always monitor their reaction and adjust their diet accordingly.

In this blog post, we’ll delve further into what happens when a cat eats kale. We’ll explore the potential benefits and risks associated with feeding your feline friend this trendy superfood and discuss which foods are best to include in their diet for optimal health and nutrition. So let’s get started.

What is Kale?

Kale, a leafy green vegetable, has taken the health world by storm with its various nutritional benefits. As a member of the Brassica family, which includes other vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage, it is no surprise that kale is considered a superfood for humans. This versatile vegetable is loaded with fiber, vitamins A, C, and K, calcium, and iron. However, when it comes to our feline friends, kale is not an ideal food for them.

Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they require a diet rich in animal-based protein to meet their nutritional needs. While certain vegetables can be consumed in small amounts, large amounts of plant matter can cause digestive issues and even blockages. Therefore, it is best to avoid feeding cats large amounts of plant matter like kale.

Kale comes in various varieties such as curly kale, dinosaur kale (also known as Lacinato or Tuscan kale), and red Russian kale. Curly kale is the most common variety and has tightly curled leaves with a slightly bitter taste. Dinosaur kale has long flat leaves with a sweeter taste while Red Russian kale has purple stems and leaves with a milder flavor than curly kale.

Though kale is considered a superfood for humans, it is not recommended for cats to consume due to potential risks associated with its consumption. Kale contains compounds called glucosinolates that can interfere with thyroid function and lead to hypothyroidism in cats. Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland produces insufficient amounts of thyroid hormones resulting in symptoms such as weight gain, lethargy, and skin problems. In severe cases, it can even lead to heart and kidney problems.

Moreover, plant matter takes longer to digest and can cause gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting and diarrhea in some cats. Therefore, if your cat accidentally ingests kale or any other plant-based food, monitor their behavior closely and contact your veterinarian if you notice any unusual symptoms or behaviors.

Are Cats Obligate Carnivores?

In other words, their bodies are designed to digest and absorb nutrients from meat-based protein sources. Unlike some animals and humans, cats cannot produce certain essential nutrients on their own, making a well-balanced diet crucial for their health.

In the wild, cats hunt and consume prey such as mice, birds, and small animals. This is because their digestive system is optimized for animal-based proteins. Feeding your cat a diet that includes high-quality animal protein sources is key to keeping them healthy and happy.

While kale may be a superfood for humans due to its high nutrient content, it is not an appropriate food source for cats. Although it belongs to the same vegetable family as broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, cats lack the digestive enzymes needed to break down plant-based proteins efficiently. If a cat were to eat kale, they may experience digestive upset such as vomiting or diarrhea.

Furthermore, kale contains oxalates that can bind with calcium in the body and potentially lead to urinary tract issues in cats. That’s why it’s important to keep this leafy green out of your cat’s diet.

As responsible cat owners, we must ensure our furry friends get the nutrients they need from their food. A well-balanced diet that includes high-quality animal-based protein sources is crucial for their optimal health. Here are some examples of suitable protein sources for cats:

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Beef
  • Fish

Can Cats Eat Kale?

While kale may be a popular superfood for humans, cats have different dietary needs and restrictions.

First off, cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they require a diet high in protein and low in carbohydrates. Vegetables like kale may seem like a healthy addition, but their digestive systems are not equipped to process plant-based proteins. It’s essential to provide your cat with high-quality animal protein sources such as chicken, turkey, beef, and fish to ensure their health and happiness.

But what about the harmful compounds in kale? Oxalates are found in this leafy green and can cause kidney stones in cats if consumed in large amounts. Additionally, isothiocyanates can irritate your cat’s gastrointestinal tract and lead to vomiting.

While small amounts of kale may not harm your cat, it’s best to limit their consumption of this vegetable. Instead, focus on providing your cat with a balanced and nutritious diet that meets their specific dietary requirements.

What are the Potential Risks of Eating Kale for Cats?

Unfortunately, the answer is not that simple. While kale is a superfood for humans, it may not be the same for cats.

One of the main concerns with feeding kale to cats is its high concentration of oxalates. These naturally occurring compounds can bind with calcium in the body, leading to the formation of crystals or stones in the urinary tract. Urinary blockages can quickly become life-threatening for cats.

Moreover, kale’s high fiber content can cause digestive upset in cats. While fiber is beneficial for digestion, too much of it can lead to vomiting and diarrhea. These symptoms can be uncomfortable and potentially dangerous if left untreated.

Kale also contains sulfur compounds that some cats may be sensitive to. This can cause gastrointestinal distress and other health issues.

Overall, it’s best to avoid feeding kale to your furry friend altogether. Instead, provide them with high-quality animal protein sources that meet their unique nutritional needs. Remember that cats are obligate carnivores and require a high-protein diet to thrive.

If you’re looking to incorporate more greens into your cat’s diet, speak with your veterinarian about safe options. Instead of risking your cat’s health with kale, consider safe alternatives that won’t put them at risk.

How Does Kale Affect Thyroid Function in Cats?

We all know that kale is a superfood for humans, but unfortunately, it’s not the case for our precious feline companions.

Kale is part of the cruciferous vegetable family, which also includes broccoli and cauliflower. These vegetables contain goitrogens that can interfere with the functioning of your cat’s thyroid gland by blocking iodine uptake, which is essential for the production of thyroid hormones. Hypothyroidism is a common condition that results from this interference, causing your cat to produce too little hormone and leading to a slow metabolism.

The symptoms of hypothyroidism in cats are significant and can include weight gain, lethargy, hair loss, and constipation. While small amounts of kale or other goitrogenic foods are unlikely to pose any significant threat to your cat’s thyroid function, long-term ingestion of large amounts can cause severe health issues.

It’s crucial to monitor your cat’s behavior if you suspect they have eaten a lot of kale or other goitrogenic foods. If you notice any unusual symptoms such as those mentioned earlier, contact your veterinarian immediately. Your vet may recommend blood tests or other diagnostic tests to check for any abnormalities in your cat’s thyroid function.

In conclusion, while kale is undoubtedly an excellent addition to a human diet, it’s best to avoid feeding large amounts of cruciferous vegetables to your beloved feline friend. Opt for high-quality animal protein sources that meet their unique nutritional needs instead. Remember, your primary goal should always be keeping your furry friends healthy and happy. To help you further understand this topic, here are some essential points to consider:

What are the Symptoms of Hypothyroidism in Cats?

Hypothyroidism is a common condition in cats that occurs when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone. This hormone plays a vital role in regulating metabolism, so when it’s insufficient, it can cause a range of symptoms that can be difficult to spot. What are the symptoms of hypothyroidism in cats? Let’s explore.

First and foremost, if you suspect your cat has hypothyroidism, take them to the vet for an evaluation. Diagnosis typically involves blood tests to evaluate thyroid hormone levels. With that said, here are some common symptoms of hypothyroidism in cats:

  • Weight Gain: One of the first signs of hypothyroidism in cats is weight gain. Even if their diet or exercise habits haven’t changed, they may start packing on the pounds due to a slower metabolism caused by the lack of thyroid hormone. This weight gain can lead to obesity, which puts cats at risk for other health problems.
  • Lethargy and Decreased Activity Levels: Cats with hypothyroidism may seem less interested in playing or interacting with their environment and may sleep more than usual. Additionally, they may show signs of constipation and have a decreased appetite.
  • Intolerance to Cold Temperatures: Hypothyroidism can affect a cat’s ability to regulate body temperature, making them more sensitive to cold temperatures. You may notice your cat seeking out warmer spots in your home, such as sunny windowsills or cozy blankets.
  • Behavioral Changes: Cats with hypothyroidism may experience changes in their behavior, such as increased irritability or aggression. They may also become less active and appear less interested in their surroundings.

It’s important to note that these symptoms can be caused by a variety of conditions, so it’s crucial to have your cat evaluated by a veterinarian if you suspect they may have hypothyroidism. If left untreated, hypothyroidism can lead to more severe health complications such as heart disease and neurological problems. However, with proper treatment, most cats with hypothyroidism can lead happy and healthy lives. Treatment typically involves daily medication to replace the deficient thyroid hormone.

Can Kale Cause Digestive Issues in Cats?

The answer is a bit complicated, so let’s dive in.

Let’s start by clarifying that kale is not toxic to cats. However, it can cause tummy troubles if consumed in large amounts. This is mainly due to its high fiber content, which can lead to gastrointestinal upset like diarrhea and vomiting. Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning their diet should consist of high protein and low carbohydrates. Although small amounts of fiber can be beneficial for cats, excessive fiber intake can cause digestive issues.

But wait, there’s more. Kale also contains compounds called glucosinolates that can affect thyroid function in cats. These substances may interfere with the body’s ability to absorb iodine, leading to hypothyroidism. This condition can result in weight gain, lethargy, and other health problems.

Furthermore, even small amounts of kale may not sit well with some cats. Signs of kale intolerance may include lethargy, loss of appetite, and vomiting.

However, don’t write off kale altogether. This leafy green has plenty of nutritional benefits for humans. It just may not be the best choice for our feline friends.

If you want to give your cat a taste of kale, make sure it’s only in moderation and as an occasional treat. If your furry friend experiences any digestive issues after consuming kale, it’s best to avoid feeding it to them in the future. As always, consult with your veterinarian for personalized advice on your cat’s dietary needs and health concerns.


In conclusion, while kale may be all the rage for humans, it’s not a suitable food source for cats. As obligate carnivores, felines require meat-based protein sources in their diet. While small amounts of kale aren’t likely to harm your cat, feeding them too much can lead to digestive issues like vomiting or diarrhea due to its high fiber content. Furthermore, the excessive levels of oxalates in kale can cause calcium oxalate stones in your cat’s urinary tract.

Additionally, kale contains glucosinolates that interfere with thyroid function and can result in hypothyroidism in cats. This condition causes insufficient production of thyroid hormones leading to symptoms such as weight gain, lethargy, and skin problems.

To ensure optimal health and nutrition for your furry friend, it’s essential to provide them with a well-balanced diet consisting of high-quality animal-based protein sources such as chicken, turkey, beef, and fish. If you’re looking to add some greens into their diet, consult your veterinarian about safe options.

As responsible pet owners, our top priority should always be keeping our pets healthy and happy.