Please note that if you choose to give your cat pumpkin, it's important to use plain canned pumpkin with no spices in it. The spices put into pumpkin pie filling are not good for kitties.
Potential Benefits of Pumpkin for Cats
Digestive Health: Pumpkin is high in fiber, which can help alleviate both constipation and diarrhea. The soluble fiber in pumpkin absorbs excess water and helps bulk up a cat's stool, reducing or eliminating diarrhea. Fiber can also act as a laxative for cats suffering from constipation. The fiber in pumpkin adds bulk to a cat's stool and can soften it, making it easier to pass.
Carmine suffers from Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) and eats canned pumpkin everyday as part of his diet. Carmine used to suffer from bouts of constipation, but since he's been eating pumpkin everyday, he no longer gets constipated.
Weight Loss: Fiber also promotes a feeling of fullness, which may help your cat eat eat less and lose weight. Ask your veterinarian about replacing a small portion of your cat's food with pumpkin as part of her weight-loss plan.
Hairballs: Pumpkin can help kitties digest the fur they swallow while grooming. Regularly feeding pumpkin can help reduce the number of or eliminate hairballs for your cat.
Moisture: Pumpkin is 90% water. Adding pumpkin to your kitty's meals increases his water intake, which aids in the prevention of dehydration. Increasing water intake is especially important for cats with any type of urinary tract condition.
Feeding and Storing
Most cats like the taste of plain pumpkin, so you can feed it as a snack. Alternatively, you could put a little pumpkin in your cat's wet food. Carmine and Milita eat their pumpkin mixed into their canned food dinner each day.
Some companies also make canned cat food with pumpkin in it. I've seen pumpkin in Natural Balance, Weruva, Against the Grain, Wellness, and Soulistic canned cat foods.
You can store pumpkin in the refrigerator for a few days. If you don't go through pumpkin quickly, divide it into ziploc bags and store it in your freezer, thawing as needed. You could also fill an ice cube tray with pumpkin and thaw as needed.
Do you feed your cat pumpkin? What benefits have you seen from doing so?