Can cats eat rice? Is rice toxic to cats?

long haired Persian cat needing grooming
Ginger Cat House does not aim to replace your Veterinarian. Ginger Cat House offers practical advice but will always advise you to seek Veterinary attention for further information if your cat is unwell.

Can I cats eat rice? The quick answer is yes, most cats can eat rice, however, it needs to be prepared properly and in the correct amount.

While rice is not naturally found in a cat’s diet, the majority of cats find rice the easiest grain to digest and in some cases, such as a cat with diarrhoea, rice can be beneficial for your cat.

Related posts:
Can cats drink soy milk?
Can cats eat mangos?
Is pineapple toxic to cats?

bowl of white rice - cats can eat rice

Can cats have rice? – All you need to know

As previously mentioned rice is the most easily digestible grains for cats and it is also extremely bland. Therefore, you may find your Vet recommends plain rice and chicken as a meal when your cat has an upset stomach.

So yes, your cat can eat rice but as with everything it is important it is in moderation and as part of a balanced diet for an obligate carnivore.

Shall I feed my cat white or brown rice?

Both brown and white rice is safe for cats and neither one if more beneficial than the other.

In fact, rice does not have too much nutritional value for cats, which is why a cat should never be fed on rice long term, alone.

Rice for cats should purely be used as an addition to a bland diet to help your cat when they have a sensitive stomach.

As with any food, some cats may not eat rice.

How shall I prepare rice for my cat?

Rice should always be given to cats cooked.

Uncooked rice should be never be given to cats as it can cause bloating, constipation and vomiting. Often uncooked rice may also contain a pesticide called lectin. However, if your cat steals the odd grain of uncooked rice you should be fine, but never fed your cat uncooked rice or allow them to help themselves.

Just with humans, take care when reheating rice to feed a cat. Reheated rice can cause vomiting and diarrhoea due to the presence of bacteria,  while this not always the case, I would advise not taking the risk.

Only feed your cat plain rice. Never be tempted to cook the rice with chives, garlic, onions, etc to make the rice more appetising. Garlic and Onion are toxic to cats. Also, remember, you most likely feeding your cat rice to aid a sensitive stomach – the blander the better.

Is rice ever toxic to cats?

As mentioned above, rice can be toxic to cats when additional ingredients such as onions and garlic are added in. Plain, cooked rice is the only rice which should be fed to cats.

Rice should only be fed to cats in moderation and as part of a balanced diet. A cat can never be fed solely on rice as they are obligate carnivores. Cats cannot produce their own taurine which is why they cannot live without meat in their diets. A cat which is just fed rice will become malnourished and unwell quickly. A kitten fed rice will not develop or grow.

The majority of cats thrive best on a specially prepared diet tailored to their current needs (depending on life stage, ailments, diseases, etc). Preparing a home-based diet is not something which is easily done to a high and correct standard.

Cats can eat rice as a treat or when used to help stomach sensitivities, however, on a day to day basis it is more advisable to feed your cat a prepared diet.

Is rice good for cat diarrhoea?

Yes, as long as your Veterinary Surgeon has not told you otherwise, rice mixed with plain cooked chicken/white fish can help a cat with diarrhoea. The bland dish is easily digestible and will allow your cat’s stomach and intestines time to heal and recuperate. Being easy to break down, it will easily give your cat the energy they need to stay perky.

When feeding a chicken and rice diet to your cat, it is advisable that 25% of the dish is rice with 75% making up the protein portion – this again facilitates the cats need for meat protein.

Related: How to fatten up your cat – safe and simple methods

If you decide to feed your cat rice for diarrhoea it is still important to monitor them closely. While it is fed to aid the stomach, if you are seeing no improvement or if the diarrhoea or stomach worsens over 24-36 hours, then your cat needs to be taken to a vet to be checked over. Prolonged diarrhoea and/or vomiting can lead to dehydration.

In short, yes cats can eat rice but only in moderation and as part of a balanced diet. Ensuring your cat is happy and healthy is crucial to being a great cat owner and providing for them nutritionally is one of the key ways of doing this.