Can Cats Eat Rice?

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This post may contain affiliate links which will reward me monetarily or otherwise when you use them to make qualifying purchases. Please read our disclosure for more info.

Whether your cat is eyeing your meal or you’re running low on cat food, it might get you wondering—can cats eat rice?

Rice is not toxic for cats, so a little cooked rice won’t kill your cat. However, regular snacks or meals with rice can cause your cat to gain weight from excess carbohydrates. Furthermore, as obligate carnivores, cats require a high-protein diet, which is a nutrient that rice can’t provide.

Table of Contents

Is Rice Safe for Cats?

Yes, rice is safe for cats as long as you cook it. White rice is better than brown, because the fiber has been removed and the white rice will be easier for their digestive system. Any rice you give to your cats must be fully cooked. That said, uncooked rice isn’t safe for cats. 

Uncooked rice is challenging for your cat’s digestive system to break down. Furthermore, uncooked rice will absorb moisture and dehydrate your cat. It may cause an intestinal blockage or may release unhealthy compounds inside your cat’s body. 

If you suspect that your cat ate uncooked rice, they may vomit, have diarrhea, or appear bloated. In this case, you consult your vet immediately. 

Can Cats Eat Cooked Rice?

Yes, cats can eat cooked rice, although you shouldn’t make it a routine part of their diet. Rice does not offer any nutrition that is essential or even useful for a cat’s diet. Cats don’t require carbohydrates, and rice doesn’t contain minerals or vitamins needed by your cat.

Sometimes, cats are given cooked rice to help regulate a digestive system that has gone off-rails due to illness. Cooked rice may help some cats recover from diarrhea or constipation. However, white rice is not usually necessary for recovery from digestive issues.

Can Cats Eat Fried Rice

You should never feed your cat fried rice. Fried rice often contains ingredients like onion and garlic, which are poisonous to cats.

Furthermore, the oil in fried rice can contribute to obesity, compounding the impact of a high carbohydrate intake from them eating rice. Most fried rice is cooked with vegetable oil, which contains high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids. These contribute to inflammation, and can exacerbate any aches and pains your cat is already dealing with.

Kittens and Rice

Kittens transition from milk to a whole food diet around the six to ten-week mark. Once they are weaned, it’s okay to eat rice in small quantities. But if they eat it regularly, it will displace more nutriient-dense foods from the kitten’s diet, and he won’t grow to to his full potential.

Cooked rice is non-toxic, so it won’t poison your kitten. Nevertheless, you should avoid feeding kittens rice, as they must obtain their nutrients from high-quality protein sources. 

Rice Alternatives

The next time someone asks you, can cats eat rice? You’ll know to say no – rice is not healthy for cats. However that doesn’t solve the potentially pressing issue you might be facing if you ran out of cat food. 

Therefore, instead of boiling up a pot of rice, consider using these healthier cat-friendly foods instead:

  • Salmon
  • Eggs
  • Quality raw meat like chicken, pork, or beef
  • Organs such as liver, kidney, or tripe

When preparing a homemade protein-packed cat meal, leave out all the seasonings, including salt. These can cause adverse reactions for your pet, especially if you add onion or garlic.

Can Cats Eat Rice?

Cats can eat rice, but really shouldn’t. Please feed your cat cat food or biologically appropriate animal protein based meals.

can cats eat rice

Kelsey Madison

Kelsey Madison is a cat lover, fostering enthusiast, part time vet tech & writer. She has fostered close to 300 animals over the last 10+ years, and currently has 3 beautiful tabby cats who love to stick their faces in her morning lattes. She is passionate about helping others develop a deeper understanding of their beloved felines and learn more about fostering.