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Can Cats Eat Iceberg Lettuce? (Treacherous Mistake?)

If you are a fan of Iceberg lettuce and have some spare you may be wondering if cats can appreciate it as much as you do…

Can Cats Eat Iceberg Lettuce?

Cats cannot eat iceberg lettuce because their bodies, which are made to digest meat, are less equipped to handle plant-based diets. Due to the inability of their bodies to properly digest vegetables such as iceberg lettuce, cats often get diarrhea if they consume them. Moreover, iceberg lettuce primarily has an extremely high water content, which makes it dangerous for the cat to consume.

So, now you know. But, are there any health benefits of this lettuce? What about risks? Can it cause diarrhea in cats? Keep reading for these answers and much more…

What is Iceberg Lettuce?

Can cats eat iceberg lettuce?

An Iceberg lettuce.

Iceberg lettuce is known colloquially as crisp-head lettuce and is characterized by its cabbage-like bulb shape that is enclosed with layers of pale green leaves. Lettuce grows annually, with its iceberg variety preferring to develop in a cool climate, over a longer span of winters.

Iceberg lettuce is known for having a distinctly crisp texture tinged with a sweet taste. It is often used in many forms such as salads, burgers, wraps, and so on, being a great favorite of children and adults alike due to its mild nature.

Nutritional Content of Iceberg Lettuce

Source: USDA (per 100g) *

Name Amount Unit
Calories 12 Kcal
Protein 1.18 g
Carbs 2.35 g
Fat 0.00 g
Fiber 1.2 g

* See the source for the full list

What is the difference between Romaine & Iceberg lettuce?

Iceberg lettuce is different from its Romaine counterpart in many areas such as appearance, nutritional content, as well as shelf life. Here is a quick rundown of the main differences between the two kinds of lettuce.

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01. Appearance:

Iceberg lettuce has a pale green color, romaine lettuce has a significantly darker hue. Moreover, while romaine has distended leaves, it is the iceberg counterparts that feature a rather rounded shape overall.

02. Nutritional Value:

Romaine lettuce contains a high amount of nutrients while being one of the foods offering the least amount of calories per serving.

It is also a source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorous along with several essential vitamins such as A, C, B, K, and beta-carotene.

While romaine provides 8 calories per serving, their iceberg counterpart is also a low-calorie food, giving 12.5 calories per serving. Iceberg lettuce also has minerals and vitamins, though in fewer amounts than the romaine kind.

Iceberg also contains a little amount of dietary fiber and protein. Bear in mind that at the end of the day Romaine lettuce contains more folate, as well as vitamins A and K.

03. Shelf Life:

Iceberg lettuce is widely used because it has a long shelf life, which means that if stored correctly, it can last longer before going bad. Romaine lettuce, however, has a smaller shelf life.

Are there any health benefits of Iceberg Lettuce?

Iceberg lettuce is a decent source of vitamins, and minerals while having a low-calorie amount per serving, making it a healthy thing to consume. Here are some of the health benefits of consuming iceberg lettuce.

01. Enriched with Vitamins

Iceberg lettuce has a significant amount of vitamins A, C, K, which are rich in antioxidants, help strengthen your immune system, and prevent bone fractures.

Moreover, Vitamin K in particular is one of the essential nutrients that manage blood clotting. It also contains calcium that helps maintain bone health and nerve function.

A type of B vitamin named folate is also present in iceberg lettuce, making it a good source of nutrition for pregnant women as it helps in the formation of DNA and other genetic material.

02. Contains Minerals

Minerals such as calcium and potassium are present in iceberg lettuce. These minerals are beneficial for human health as calcium helps maintain the strength of bones, and assists in muscle and nerve functionality, along with ensuring blood clotting.

Potassium, on the other hand, helps neutralize the effects of consumed salt and significantly decreases blood pressure.

03. High Water Content

The fact that iceberg lettuce is made up of 96 percent water ensures that it helps keep the human body cells hydrated.

04. Low Calories

containing simply 12.5 calories per serving, this amount is practically negligible. This makes iceberg lettuce a great option for those who are trying to reduce their calorie intake, helping prevent obesity.

Are there any health risks of Iceberg Lettuce?

Although I can’t find any specific health risks for Iceberg lettuce, they have an essentially lower amount of nutrients than other leafy greens like spinach and kale. Moreover, potential health risks of iceberg lettuce may depend on the conditions in which they are cultivated and subsequently if they have been contaminated by troublesome bacteria such as Salmonella, Listeria, and E. coli.

Should you feed your cat Iceberg Lettuce?

Iceberg lettuce with tomatoes.

Iceberg lettuce with tomatoes.

I would not recommend you feeding your cat Iceberg lettuce. This vegetable contains Vitamin A which runs a high risk of being toxic for your cat in large amounts. And, as a precaution, I wouldn’t recommend it.

Some cat owners give their cat a very little amount and argue it helps in the cat’s digestion. Though the recommended amount varies from cat to cat. Whilst some might also argue a leaf or two in your cat’s food may also help keep your cat hydrated and good for the cat’s skin. I would steer clear and look for other alternatives.

Is Iceberg Lettuce OK for Kittens?

As you have seen, iceberg lettuce is considered toxic for cats, thus it is not a good idea to give it to kittens. This is because kittens have less developed digestive tracts than their adult counterparts which means that something like Vitamin A which might be toxic to cats would definitely be harmful to the kittens.

Feeding kittens with iceberg lettuce may upset the nutrient level of their bodies, upset their stomach, as well as cause them to get diarrhea. Excessive loss of nutrients may even be fatal for the little kittens.

Are there better food alternatives than Iceberg Lettuce for cats?

It is always a good idea for concerned cat owners to feed their felines food alternatives of iceberg lettuce that are high in vitamins and minerals such as fresh meat and high-quality dry cat food.

Though some pet owners recommend giving small quantities of vegetables to enrich the diet of their cats, remember that cats are more equipped to consuming and digesting meat. Thus, to ensure that you provide your cat with the most nourishing of foods, it is a good idea to give them cooked red or white meat that is fresh.

Moreover, there are many great cat food options, wet and dry, that are readily available in the market. These can be given to the cat as sources of vitamins and minerals.

Can Iceberg Lettuce Cause Cats Diarrhea?

Iceberg lettuce can cause diarrhea in cats if taken in large amounts by the felines. This is because the lettuce has laxative properties, which means that overconsumption by felines can cause their stomachs to become upset. Moreover, the high water content of the iceberg lettuce is responsible for making things runny, in the truest sense.

Does Iceberg Lettuce go bad?

Despite having a long shelf life, iceberg lettuce can easily go bad, especially if it is not kept in ideal conditions. Normally iceberg lettuce can last as long as seven to ten days when kept in the refrigerator. Lettuce that has gone bad becomes distinctly slimy in texture and turns brown and smelly. It is not safe to consume lettuce that has gone bad.

Lindsey Browlingdon