Updated: August 5, 2022 by Kristen Chapple
Do you want your cat to eat healthy food? Of course, you do. But, what is healthy and what is not? Some cats like to try everything they see on our tables. However, most of human food has no nutritional value for our feline companions. Should cats eat ginger? Is it a superfood or another advertisement blown out of proportion?
I am pretty much into healthy food. And cats? Hmm, it’s hard to find the right words, so let’s just say that I am a cat person. So, I have decided to do some research on ginger. And cats. By the way, it is a frequent name for yellowish, orange cats. Anyhow, let’s find out what kind of food ginger is and whether it’s good for your Fluffy.
Ginger Basic Facts
Ginger is a plant native to southeast Asian islands. It belongs to so-called anthropogenic plants. It means that it doesn’t exist in the wild state, because it was selected, interbred or altered by man. We don’t know which method was used as it has been domesticated in ancient times.
Anyway, we use ginger root as a spice. And as a natural medicament. Ginger is a key ingredient in Indian cuisine, but it is used worldwide. It is hard to describe its taste, but it is certainly pungent and hot. As for nutritional value, it is not very rich in vitamins and minerals. It contains moderate quantities of vitamin B6, magnesium, and manganese. So, what’s all the fuss about?
Ginger is rich in gingerol and a few other similar compounds. Gingerol has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, sort of. It can even destroy some cancer cells, probably. This sounds like a superfood doesn’t it? There is only one problem: it is not proven.
Gingerol showed very promising results when tested in a lab. It killed some tumor cells and helped arthritis in animals. However, research that included humans failed to replicate lab results in most of the cases. Benefits were none or insignificant. Reputable scientists believe that gingerol has complicated metabolism that we can’t figure out yet. It is actually the common scientific conclusion for most antioxidants. But it is not an obstacle for many people to advertise ginger as a magical ingredient that will do miracles for your health.
Is Ginger Good for Cats?
So, is ginger good for cats? The truth is we have no idea. There are no studies on the ginger effect on cats. I read many articles that recommend ginger as a natural medicine that alleviates vomiting, sick stomach pain, etc. Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties are a bonus. But, all these suggestions are based on an assumption that ginger will benefit cats in the same way it helps humans. Oh, but we are not sure about potential benefits for humans either. And even if we were certain, cats have different metabolism, and what’s good for us can be harmful to them. So, honestly, I am quite puzzled how can anyone recommend ginger for our cats.
On the other hand, I don’t think we should fear ginger. It is not listed on either the Toxic or Non-Toxic Plant List of ASPCA. However, it is highly unlikely that ginger is toxic in small amounts. I know many cats that tried it, and nothing happened. I believe that if ginger was dangerous somebody would have reported it already. So, a morsel of ginger isn’t harmful to your cat, most probably. But, cats’ stomachs are not designed to withstand a lot of plants so any plant in larger quantities will do some harm. Also, ginger recipes usually contain some dangerous ingredients such as chocolate, or spices.
I didn’t say the most important thing, though. From a nutritional point of view, cats don’t need ginger whatsoever. So, whatever the ultimate truth about ginger, it may benefit humans, but for cats it is pointless.
At the end of the day can cats eat ginger? Yes, they can a little bit. But, I can’t find a single reason why should they. And I can think of many why should they avoid it. Not having the slightest clue how ginger affects cats should be enough. Would you eat some newly discovered plant that you don’t have a clue about?
I can totally relate to your wish to share your bite with your furball. Even though the morsel of ginger won’t poison your cat, it is a wrong approach. Just because some food may be great for us, we must not assume that it is great for cats, too. This kind of thinking can put your cat in serious danger. So, keep most of your food away from the Fluffy. High-quality cat food will provide all the nutrients your cat needs. If you want to give her something else to chew occasionally, make sure you know what it is and that it is safe and harmless.