Can cats eat rice?

In this brief article we will answer the question,”Can cats eat rice?” We will also explain how much rice is safe to feed your cats. We will discuss if rice helps cats with diarrhea. We will finally briefly explain some situations when rice is bad for cats.

Can cats eat rice?

Yes, cats can eat rice in moderate amounts. Rice is safe for cats to consume although if they eat a lot of it, it may result in gastrointestinal problems. Cats can only digest small amounts of rice because they produce the enzyme amylase that breaks down amylose and amylopectin, the 2 main components found in starch.

How much rice is safe to feed your cats?

Rice should only be fed to cats as an occasional treat. If a cat consumes a lot of carbs it can result in gastrointestinal problems such as bloating, gas and diarrhea. 

There’s no definite measurement for rice feeding to cats but an occasional feeding of rice once or twice in a week should be sufficient. If your cat’s diet is more than 35% carbs then it will result in gastrointestinal problems.

What types of rice should you feed your cats?

Cats can eat all varieties of rice as long as they are plainly cooked without use of salt, butter, oil or seasoning. Some types of rice that cats can eat include:

Brown Rice

Cats can feed on brown rice although the outer bran layer is usually a bit difficult to digest as compared to white rice.

White Rice

White rice is much softer and it’s much easier to digest because it does not contain its fibrous components.

Does rice help cats with diarrhea?

No, rice is not the best option for assisting cats with diarrhea. Cats are primarily carnivores and it’s highly unlikely that a cat that is not feeling well is going to eat boiled rice.

If you add ingredients such as butter and gravy so as to infuse some taste to your rice, this will only end up increasing the fat content and can worsen gastrointestinal issues in cats. 

If your cat is experiencing diarrhea you are better off giving it any commercially available and therapeutic intestinal diet foods. These foods usually contain dietary fiber that feed the probiotic bacteria in your cat’s gut and can boost back their digestive health.

When is rice bad for cats?

There are certain scenarios that you should refrain from feeding rice to your cats and some measures that need to be taken so as to avoid any harmful effects in cats and such include:

Cats sensitive to new foods

If your cats are not used to eating grains, you should only feed them in moderation or steer clear of feeding altogether. This is because cats are obligate carnivores and therefore their metabolism and gastrointestinal tracts are adapted to meat consumption and grain consumption can result in digestion issues.

Feeding them a lot of rice 

Research has shown that cats whose diet is made up of more than 25 percent rice bran have low taurine levels resulting in the development of taurine deficiency. Taurine is a very important amino acid in cats and is only available in animal protein.

Rice is a good source of fiber and if given to your cat in high quantities can result in diarrhea and also constipation.

Feeding them uncooked rice

Uncooked rice has the problem of being very difficult to digest for cats and can also lead to side effects such as abdominal pain, gas, bloating and stomach upsets. Uncooked rice as well tends to have residues of a natural pesticide known as lectin.

Lectin can result in harmful effects such as vomiting, diarrhea and bloating in your car. If you notice that your cat is in pain and has the mentioned symptoms for more than 24 hours then make sure to take it to the vet.

Feeding them rice with spices and additives

Spices and ingredients such as salt, onions, garlic and other additives which are used in cooking rice can be toxic to your cats. Onion and garlic usually contain a toxic compound that can result in oxidative damage to your cat’s red blood cells.

Garlic can also result in an illness called gastroenteritis which has some symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea and oral irritation.


In this brief article we have answered the question,”Can cats eat rice?” We have also explained how much rice is safe to feed your cats. We have discussed if rice helps cats with diarrhea. We have finally briefly explained some situations when rice is bad for cats.


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