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Can Cats Eat Kimchi? (Or Just Upset Its Stomach?)

If you are a fan of Kimchi and have a cat you may be wondering if this food is suitable for them…

Can cats eat Kimchi?

Kimchi has a high salt content. This isn’t dangerous for humans, but it can be for cats. Cats are sensitive to how much salt is in their bodies. A small amount of Kimchi once will not harm your cat, but you should avoid feeding it in the long-term.

So, now you know. But, what are the nutritional benefits of this food? Are there any health risks associated with it? Does it go bad? Keep reading for these answers, and much more…

What is Kimchi?

A dish of kimchi.

A dish of kimchi.

Kimchi is a fermented staple in Korean food that is served as a side dish. This dish contains vegetables that have been salted and fermented for flavor.

Vegetables like Napa cabbage and Korean radish are favorites within Kimchi, and they are paired with a wide selection of seasonings.

Since Kimchi comes with so many vegetable (what about artichokes? click here) and seasoning options, there are hundreds of varieties.

What is the nutritional content of Kimchi?

Source: USDA (per 100g) *

Name Amount Unit
Calories 15 Kcal
Protein 1.1 g
Carbs 2,4 g
Fat 0.05 g
Fiber 1.6 g

* See the source for the full list

Are there any health benefits of Kimchi?

Can cats eat kimchi?

Kimchi held up above a bowl.

Kimchi comes with several health benefits, which is why humans enjoy the salty yet healthy taste of the Korean side dish. If not prepared and stored properly, however, Kimchi can become poisonous.

If you have a compromised immune system, you need to be careful when eating Kimchi. Nevertheless, here are a few of the health benefits:

Probiotics

Fermented foods are a great source of probiotics, and this includes Kimchi. When consumed over time, probiotics can help your gastrointestinal health, heart health, the common cold, mental health, skin conditions, and even prevent types of cancer.

May Fight Inflammation

Thanks to the probiotics and other compounds within Kimchi, it may also help to reduce inflammation. According to various studies, eating Kimchi actually improved blood vessel health. Another study confirmed that the side-dish blocks and suppresses inflammatory compounds, which makes the food anti-inflammatory.

Helps Blood Clotting and Bone Health?

Kimchi is very rich in vitamin K, which is known for its impact on blood and bone health. As a result, it can help prevent blood clotting and keep your bones healthy and strong.

Source of Antioxidants

The variety of vegetables and seasonings within Kimchi makes it a great source of Beta carotene and antioxidants. Antioxidants are highly important in protecting yourself against heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes.

Fights Signs of Aging?

Aging is largely due to chronic inflammation and other illnesses. Since Kimchi helps to fight inflammation and provides a heavy source of antioxidants, it can help fight the signs of aging.

Some studies have suggested that Kimchi helps extend the lifespan of cell health.

Are there any health risks of Kimchi?

Just like with anything else, Kimchi comes with some potential risks:

Can it cause food poisoning?

The biggest potential risk of Kimchi is potential poisoning. Because of the fermentation process, Kimchi must be prepared and stored properly. If not, it could cause food poisoning.

Those with compromised immune systems must be cautious when eating Kimchi or any other fermented food.

For example, eating spoiled Kimchi can lead to foodborne illnesses. More specifically, mycotoxins within the mold, which will grow if the Kimchi is not stored properly, can cause you to experience nausea, diarrhea, and/or vomiting.

Can it cause cancer?

Another potential risk that has been considered is its link to cancer. Asia sees incredibly high stomach cancer rates, especially in Korea.

Studies suggest that these high rates of stomach cancer is partially attributed to the consumption of Kimchi, meso, and pickled fish, all of which are eaten frequently in this part of the world.

Should you feed your cat Kimchi?

Once again, even though Kimchi is nutritionally beneficial for humans, you should avoid feeding your cat Kimchi or at least feed it in only small doses.

Because of its high salt content, it can add way too much salt to your cat’s system. Whenever this happens, the salt will need to burst out. This may cause your cat to lose its hair.

Even though the side effects may not be very impactful, especially at the beginning, it certainly is a good idea to limit how much salt your cat consumes. Limit Kimchi intake for this reason.

It may be tempting because Kimchi has a variety of health benefits within the human body. For example, it increases good bacteria in the gut, aids digestion, prevents diseases, and more.

This is due to the health benefits of vegetables and seasoning within the side dish but, not worth making it a regular thing for your cat.

Is Kimchi OK for kittens?

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Top 10 Cat Breeds

Kittens should not be fed Kimchi. Just as with your cat, at best you will want to feed it to your kitten in limited doses. Your kitten cannot tolerate high amounts of salt, and Kimchi has a high salt content.

Given that your kitten is still developing, you do not want to feed it anything that could inhibit its growth. The less Kimchi your kitten eats, the better.

Are there better food alternatives than Kimchi for cats?

Cats do not naturally like vegetables (what about Jicama? click here), and they certainly are not drawn to fermented ones. You are most likely to want to feed your cat Kimchi because of its health benefits, not its flavor. This means that you will want to find an alternative that offers similar benefits while minimizing the risks.

The easiest alternative is supplements for your cat. There are a lot of vitamins and supplements that your veterinarian can recommend to you for inflammation, blood health, aging, and more. You will also likely need to find a separate supplement for probiotics.

Supplements are the best alternatives because they offer the same nutritional benefits, but they do not add additional calories or unnecessary salt to the cat’s diet. The main drawback is that supplements for cats can be expensive. Talk to your vet to find out which options are best for you.

Does Kimchi cause diarrhea?

Well prepared and properly stored Kimchi typically does not cause diarrhea. However, eating spoiled Kimchi can cause food-borne illnesses, such as diarrhea.

That’s because spoiled Kimchi will often include mold, which is filled with mycotoxins. Mycotoxins lead to nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting (should they be re-fed after this? click here).

Does Kimchi go bad?

Kimchi does go bad. When kept at room temperature, the side dish can last about one week after opening.

If stored in the refrigerator, however, it can stay fresh much longer and continues to ferment, causing the Kimchi to have a sourer taste. Refrigerated Kimchi can last between three to six months after opening. So long as there is no mold on the Kimchi, it is still good to eat.

Lindsey Browlingdon