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Tummy Troubles? Try Pumpkin

October 25, 2011

Photo courtesy iivv82

A few weeks ago, Ellie had some tummy troubles — we think she ate a leaf that was accidentally tracked into the house. When her stools didn’t clear up after a day, I reached out to the CH Kitty Club. What they suggested truly surprised me: Try pumpkin.

It seemed odd to me at first, but friend after friend echoed the same response. Even the staff at my shelter told me that they’ll use pumpkin on occasion to help a kitty get things straight.

So what’s the deal with pumpkin? How can it help?

First of all, let’s make it clear that we’re talking about 100% straight canned pumpkin — not the flavored pie filling. This can sometimes be difficult to find in stores, so you may want to stock up if it’s in season (like now!).

The magic behind pumpkin is its fiber and high water content. Fiber helps with diarrhea and constipation (if you can believe it) since it moves the stool through the last part of the digestive track at the proper rate so it absorbs just the right amount of water. It’ll firm up loose stools and also move constipated bowels. Who knew!

Since pumpkin’s pretty powerful, you’ll want to limit how much you give to your kitties so you don’t bind them up too much. After looking around online, I’ve seen serving suggestions averaging about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of pumpkin a day at most. Others suggest 1 tablespoon per 10 lbs of body weight, which translates into about 1 teaspoon for every 3 lbs. If you’re just starting out, try a tiny bit once a day to see how your cat reacts.

But will your cat eat pumpkin?

Surprisingly, Ellie and CG both took to it right away! If your cat’s a bit pickier, I would suggest mixing it in his wet food, or maybe mixing a treat (like tuna juice, etc) into it.

Since your cat will be consuming only a tiny amount of pumpkin each day, you certainly don’t want the can to go bad before you use it up.

To make the entire can last, spoon the appropriate amount of pumpkin out into little piles on to a plate or cookie sheet, and place it in the freezer. Once they’re solid, break them off and put them into a food storage bag. Each week, take out the number you know you’ll need, and put them in the fridge to defrost. That way, when you’re ready to serve your cat pumpkin, it’ll be fresh and ready to go!

Another option is to try Geber baby squash, according to my friend Starr. She used to work for Gerber, so she can vouch for the quality. Plus, it comes in a smaller container so you probably won’t have to worry about freezing it.

And please remember, if your kitty has diarrhea or is constipated for a number of days, or if you see blood in her stool, check with your doctor immediately.

While we’re still waiting to see how Ellie does on pumpkin (initial results have been mixed), I think we’ll keep it up with a very small amount each day. I’ll be sure to report back!

Have you ever tried pumpkin with your cat? How did your cat respond? Please share in the comments!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Catherine Paciotti permalink
    October 26, 2011 8:28 am

    I can’t see the pictures that come with your emails. What do I need to do? Thanks!

    • October 26, 2011 8:53 am

      Hi Catherine,

      I’m sorry to hear that! When you receive the emails, do you see a line of text / a link anywhere that reads “Images are not displayed. Display images below.” It may be a default setting in your email (I have it too), that prevents images from showing unless you OK it. You may also have the option to allow this every time you receive an email from my blog/Wordpress.

      For example, in my email it looks like this:

      Hope that helps, if not, please let me know. In the meantime, I’ll double-check to make sure it’s nothing on my end.


  2. February 12, 2012 6:55 pm

    My little Starr Starr had chronic diarrhea when I first got her. She was always a mess and constantly fell in it. After trying several different antibiotics, we started trying other foods. As it turns out, she just needed extra fiber in her diet (it has the opposite effect on her that it does on others). Originally she was on Science Diet Prescription W/D, but it was getting difficult to feed her separately (keeping her out of the other food and vice versa). I then started looking into supplements. I found that the Missing Link supplement had a high fiber content. We started putting a little in canned food every day, and have now been able to drop it down to every other day. No more diarrhea! She now asks for her canned food every night, even though she only gets it every other night for the past 2 yrs or so.

  3. Mary Hake permalink
    May 13, 2016 8:33 pm

    I have a seven year old male cat that is constipated. I just put some on a plate, and he couldn’t get away fast enough. Please someone help me as I am at my wits end. I’ve been giving him Metamucil but still no luck. To make this even worse, he is no longer using the litter box. So I am playing “follow the feline”, which does no good when he dumps during sleeping hours. Is there another guaranteed way to help my cat get regular again. Thanks to all of you Pet Parents!

    • Misty Avery permalink
      June 15, 2016 9:22 pm

      When I give pumpkin, I mix it in a little bit of canned food. GNC’s Ultra Mega Superfood powder for cats (from PetSmart) has a high fiber content as well, just dust dry food with it or mix in canned food.

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