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Can Cats Eat Artichoke Hearts? (Or Devastating Error?)

If you are a fan of Artichoke hearts and heard of their benefits,  you may be wondering if this food is acceptable for your cat…

Can Cats eat Artichoke Hearts?

Cats cannot eat artichoke hearts as their bodies are not equipped to handle a plant-based diet. Since their digestive systems cannot break down or even process plant matter, cats usually get diarrhea if they consume vegetables such as artichokes. 

So, now you know. But, do they have any health benefits? Can kittens eat them? What about health risks? Keep reading for these answers, and much more.

What is an Artichoke?

An artichoke is a kind of thistle that is scientifically referred to as Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus. It is known particularly for its edible base and flower buds and the many health benefits is has for humans. It is an interesting fact to know that once the flower buds of an artichoke bloom, it becomes significantly less edible.

Nutritional Content of Artichoke Hearts

Source: USDA (per 100g) *

Name Amount Unit
Calories 35 Kcal
Protein 2.35 g
Carbs 8.24 g
Fat 0.00 g
Fiber 3.5 g

* See the source for the full list

What is an Artichoke Heart?

Can cats eat artichoke hearts?

An artichoke in a field.

An artichoke heart is exactly what it sounds like for it is the meaty core of the artichoke vegetable. An artichoke heart is subsequently padded by rows of petal layers that protect the core, with a fuzzy center on the top.

One of the more interesting features of an artichoke is the thorns present on the artichoke’s petals which are reminiscent of the vegetable’s ancestral descent from thistles. Once you have understood exactly what an artichoke is, you may be wondering as to what exactly is an artichoke heart.

Are there any health benefits of Artichoke Hearts?

Artichokes are incredible for human consumption as they come with a myriad of health benefits. Here is a quick rundown of some of the reasons why artichokes are beneficial for one’s health.

01. High in Nutrients:

One of the most interesting things to know about artichokes is the level of nutrients present inside this vegetable. Artichokes contain a large number of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and fiber, moreover, they have a low-fat content.

Some of the nutrients present in this incredible vegetable are Vitamin C, K, and folate, along with minerals like iron, potassium, phosphorous, and magnesium.

02. Good for Heart Health?

One of the prime concerns of nutritionists these days is protecting bodily organs, particularly the heart. Artichokes are highly recommended by doctors because they have low LDL (bad) cholesterol and a high level of HDL (good) cholesterol.

Additionally, artichokes can help lower stress on the heart by reducing blood pressure. This is because artichokes contain a high level of potassium which can help manage higher blood pressure levels.

03. Lowering Blood Sugar?

Research suggests that the presence of an enzyme called alpha-glucosidase is responsible for facilitating the speedy breakdown of starch into glucose, efficiently reducing the amount of blood sugar present in the bloodstream.

04. Healthy Effect on Liver and Digestion?

Artichokes can help facilitate digestive health as it encourages the growth of high levels of gut-friendly bacteria. These bacteria help keep the digestive tract clean, preventing diarrhea and constipation, all the while maintaining good bowel movements.

It is also interesting to note how artichokes have antispasmodic properties that muscle spasms and inflammations, particularly in the bowels. Moreover, this vegetable contains antioxidants that protect the liver from damage while also encouraging regeneration.

These are just a few of the many benefits that artichokes have on human health. It is fascinating to discover how some preliminary research has shown artichokes to have anti-cancer properties as well.

Are there any health risks of Artichoke Hearts?

Though artichokes are vegetables that are particularly loaded with nutrients and other healthful properties, there are some notable health risks of artichokes that you need to be vary of.

01. Possible Source of Allergy?

There is no way around it, some people are allergic to artichokes which means that consuming this vegetable can trigger a mild to severe allergic reaction. It is generally believed that people who have already displayed allergic reactions to plants such as marigolds and daisies are more likely to develop a similar allergic reaction to artichokes.

02. Can have Negative Side Effects?

Even if you don’t have an allergy to artichokes, sometimes consuming this vegetable, especially in large quantities can cause conditions such as bloating, an upset stomach, diarrhea, or even gases.

Should you feed your cat Artichoke Hearts?

You should not feed your cat artichoke hearts. Cats are primarily carnivorous which means that their bodies are not equipped to handling the breakdown and digestion of plants and vegetables (what about lettuce? click here).

Cats are naturally very curious creatures which means that if they come sniffing about your plate of artichokes, you might be tempted to give them some. Before doing so you must remember that cats have different digestion systems from humans.

Additionally, canned versions of artichoke hearts are more dangerous for cats as they contain preservatives, But, to be safe avoid all types.

Is Artichoke Hearts OK for Kittens?

Artichokes are not OK for kittens.  Kittens are just small cats which means that their digestive systems are significantly less developed than their adult counterparts.

As established previously, artichokes can have negative health effects on your furry feline, which means that there will be a more disastrous effect on kittens than on cats.

Are there better food alternatives than Artichoke Hearts for cats?

Owning a cat is a big responsibility as all you may want to do is to make sure that you keep it as healthy and happy as possible. Artichoke hearts have so many health benefits for humans that one can’t help but think that they are good for cats as well.

This is untrue, as there are plenty of other food alternatives to give to cats to keep them healthy without compromising their well-being.

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Top 10 Cat Breeds

Cats generally don’t need vegetables to be well-nourished. Artichokes can be a big source of energy for humans as they contain good carbohydrates, however, cats get their energy directly from meat. Thus they don’t really need the nutrients and carbohydrates they would get from artichokes.

Here is a quick list of food alternatives to give to cats to ensure they have all the nutrients they need to grow well.

  • Red or white meat: Make sure it’s cooked as raw meat can make them ill.
  • Cat food: great varieties are readily available in stores everywhere.

Do Artichoke Hearts cause Cats diarrhea?

Consuming artichoke hearts can cause cats to develop a case of diarrhea. This is because the cat’s digestive systems are used to handling meat, thus by consuming a vegetable the internal system of cats is severely disrupted.

Such disruptions can cause your cat much discomfort, particularly in the form of mild to severe diarrhea.

Does Artichoke Hearts go bad?

Just like all good things in life, artichoke hearts also go bad. However, it is important to remember that the way they are stored plays an impact on their expiration date. Fresh artichokes can last up to four days without going bad, with the number of days increasing to a week if they are refrigerated.

Canned artichokes can last from six months to a year depending on whether or not they are refrigerated.

Lindsey Browlingdon