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Can Cats Eat Amaranth? (Or An Absurd Mistake?)

If you have some Amaranth grains or leaves, you may be wondering if your cat could benefit from eating them…

Can Cat’s Eat Amaranth?

Cats can eat amaranth, but it should never replace their day-to-day diet. Also, there are reasons why amaranth would be great for some cats, and for certain cats it may not be a good idea. However, it is possible for cats to eat it. 

So, now you know. But, what is the nutritional content of Amaranth? Can kittens eat it? Are there any health risks associated with it? Keep reading for these answers, and much more…

What is Amaranth?

Can cats eat Amaranth?

Amaranth growing wild.

Amaranth is a family of plants that take a few different forms. In most cases, it is a small, tan grain or wheat. This plant is often consumed with the grains processed or the actual leaves can be boiled and served.

Nutritional Content of Amaranth:

Source: USDA (per 100g) *

Name Amount Unit
Calories 371 Kcal
Protein 13.56 g
Carbs 65.25 g
Fat 7.02 g
Fiber 6.7 g

* See the source for the full list

Are there any health risks of Amaranth?

There are several health benefits that amaranth can offer, whether it be for us humans or a cat. Read on to find out some of these benefits!

01. Help with weight loss?

Amaranth has been known to help with weight loss. This is because it is a low-fat grain that is high in protein and fiber, which have been proven to help with weight loss!

02. High Protein Content

Amaranth’s high protein levels can also help build muscle. This is excellent for cats, as it will allow them to remain healthier and more active for a long time. Not only does this help with playtime and other types of rapid movement, but also with the general health of your cat as well.

03. A great source of fiber & Manganese

Thirdly, amaranth has a lot of fiber, which can help with digestion. Also, it has a ton of manganese in it, far more than your cat will need daily. Manganese is important for several reasons.

Not only does it help animals with bone growth and bone density, leading to a more physically healthy animal, but it also helps with improving brain function, keeping your kitty sharper and mentally healthy for far longer.

04. Rich in Iron, Magnesium & Phosphorous

Among these things, amaranth is also rich in iron, magnesium, phosphorous, and plenty of antioxidants, which can all help the health of your cat long-term!

Are there any health risks to amaranth?

There doesn’t seem to be any known health risks associated with cats consuming amaranth regularly. However, do not jump right into feeding it to your cat.

If you want to feed your kitty some amaranth, consult your vet to get their view on it first. Then if they agree, perhaps it is best to start with low amounts.

For now, it is probably best to minimize risk, as there could be some unforeseen health risk for your specific cat.

Should you Feed your Cat Amaranth?

I would not advise you to feed your cat amaranth. Even though the health benefits listed above could improve the health of your cat, there are more nutritional beneficial meals on offer that have been fed to cats for decades.

Is Amaranth OK for Kittens?

Amaranth in a bowl.

Amaranth in a bowl.

I would not advise you to feed your kitten Amaranth. Even if there is currently no available evidence that it’s a bad idea to give amaranth to kittens.

This is because this lack of evidence could be because the research has not been done, not that it is safe for cats. So, for a kitten, I would be very cautious.

Also, kittens that are too young may struggle eating solid food, and amaranth needs to be chewed so it can be properly and safely swallowed and then digested.

Food Alternatives for Cats

There are a few other grains that are healthy for cats such as corn, cornmeal, brown rice, and barley. These grains all have some of the health benefits of amaranth and are probably easier and less expensive than amaranth.

Toxic Plants for Cats

Some plants, unlike amaranth, can’t be given to cats. Plants like tulips, lilies, cyclamen, castor bean, and yew, among many others are toxic to cats and kittens. This list can get pretty long, so there is only one solution.

Before you feed your cat anything that you haven’t fed it before, make sure to thoroughly research whether or not it can have adverse health effects. Doing this will ensure the safety of your cat, and make you a better and more responsible pet owner.

What plants can kill a cat?

Skunk cabbage, oleander, mistletoe, and hydrangea shrubs can all be very fatal to your cat. Do not under any circumstances feed these to your cat, or keep them in any place that is remotely near where your cat can realistically reach.

This list is longer than just these four, so just like with plants that are less toxic (but still toxic), research what you are putting into your cat’s body! It is extremely important for the health and safety of your cat that you do this.

Do Cats Need to Eat Plants?

Cats are carnivores, so they do not necessarily need to eat plants. However, even in the wild, some cats are prone to eating plants for extra nutrients that meat cannot easily provide, such as antioxidants found in amaranth. Sometimes cats also just love the taste of plants (what about sprouts? click here), or even chew them out of boredom!

Is Amaranth Banned in the US?

According to this site, Amaranth is not banned in the US. However, there are various rumors of it being banned. Also, it is listed as Non-toxic on the ASPA site.

It is unclear where these rumors came from but sometimes things are misinterpreted and get passed on as facts without any ill intention.

Could a cat live on an Amaranth Diet?

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Cats could not live strictly on Amaranth. This is because they are obligate carnivores and need animal-based protein. So, this food would not satisfy their bodily needs.

There have been other debates about cats being vegan (what about Aquafaba? click here), or even cat owners being vegan. But, ultimately this is not possible for cats, even though there are vegan cat foods on the market.

Lindsey Browlingdon