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Why Do Cats Like Asparagus? (And Is It Safe?)

Why Do Cats Like Asparagus? (And Is It Safe?)

If you’re like most cat owners, you’ve probably indulged your curious cat by letting them sniff the occasional food item. While most cats will stop after getting a good whiff, some will take things a bit further and go for a chomp of some more unusual items.

When it comes to vegetables, one of the more common ones that cat owners report their cat eating is asparagus.

But why do cats like asparagus?

After all, cats are carnivorous and your cat’s undomesticated ancestors didn’t eat any kind of vegetable in the wild. 

While it’s a difficult question to answer, we’ve got 4 possible reasons why your cat likes asparagus.

Let’s get into it!

Reason 1: It’s New and Interesting

Your cat is curious and usually pretty darn interested in what we humans are up too. It’s also worth pointing out that like many animals, cats often use their mouths to interact with the world. While dogs are a more familiar example, the same is true for cats.

So what starts an interesting stiff could turn into a nibble as your cat tries to explore this new object in front of them.

Reason 2: They Like The Taste

It’s almost impossible for us to fully understand the taste buds of a cat. For starters, cats don’t have the taste receptors required to taste sweet food. That’s one possible reason why most cats seem completely uninterested in fruits. We also know that as carnivores, the cat would have developed a preference for the taste of meat in general which may also explain why they like but not water. 

Still, it’s possible that after giving asparagus a try they end up liking the taste. While it might seem unexpected or hard to believe considering how far off it is from their natural diets I’d point out our own “unnatural” tastes. For exhibit A, I present to you the snowball:

snowball and cat taste buds

So while asparagus might not be the typical food for your cat, some may actually enjoy the taste, and us humans have set a long precedent for eating unnatural foods!

Reason 3: They Like The Texture

When you look at what the typical domestic cat eats or what they’re wild ancestors would have eaten, asparagus certainly has a unique texture. I’d say that the top of asparagus is one of the more unique looking and feeling vegetables overall. Your cat might just like the way the asparagus feels when they chew and chomp it. It’s also possible that the asparagus feels good on your cat’s gums, especially if they’re suffering from any dental disease or gingivitis. It could be similar to the way some cats chew on cardboard or other objects for the feeling of comfort it can give their mouth.

Reason 4: Its Instinct

Okay, this one might be a bit of stretch. But while cats don’t typically eat vegetables in the wild, they will chew and occasionally chow down on grass. While the prevailing wisdom is that cats do this when they have an upset stomach in order to induce vomiting, researchers in Norway think they may have found another reason. They believe that grass-eating in cats (and many other wild animals) helps to expel intestinal parasites. This is based on extensive research and observation of chimps.

The thing is, “today’s cats likely don’t have these parasites anymore. The authors argue that the strategy probably first evolved in a distant ancestor.”

Even though grass and asparagus are quite different, it still may be some ancient instinct that drives your cat to like asparagus.

Cat Cats Eat Asparagus?

Will all the reasons why cats might like asparagus it naturally leads us to ask, can cats even eat asparagus?

The short answer is that yes cats can eat asparagus in small amounts without any problems. But while asparagus is quite healthy for humans, your cat really doesn’t need to eat it. Or any vegetables for that matter. Your cat is what’s called an obligate carnivore which means that nutritionally they only need animal meats and fats to produce all their required nutrients.

Will Asparagus Hurt Cats?

While asparagus is fine in small amounts if you give your cat too much it could cause problems with the pH of their urine and eventually lead to stones. That’s because asparagus is a high-alkaline food. However, most cats won’t even like asparagus enough to actually consume that much asparagus and instead will give it a few chews and move on to something tastier (and meatier).

Is Asparagus Found In Cat Food?

Yep, it sure is! While it isn’t the most popular ingredient due to its cost, you can find asparagus in one of our favorite cat foods on the market called NomNomNow. This premium food delivery service includes asparagus as the 5th ingredient in their chicken cuisine formula. You can even see the chunks of asparagus in the picture of the food!

Closing Thoughts

While we can never know for sure why cats like asparagus we’ve got several possible reasons with some solid evidence behind them. At the end of the day, cats are unique creatures (which is why we love them) and while some cats might go crazy over asparagus most will give it a hard pass.