Can Cats Eat Rice? Pros And Cons Of Rice In Feline Diets

10/11/2023 - 2 Comments

Rice is a staple in many countries. Sometimes, your feline companions want to try your food. But can cats eat rice? As a responsible pet parent, you should provide your pets with the best nutrition possible. This guide will dig into the potential benefits and risks of feeding cats rice. Let's find out the truth right now!

Can Cats Eat Rice? Is Rice Good For Cats?

Yes, you can feed rice to cats in moderation. Although rice isn't toxic to your pets, it should be a tiny part of their diets.  Rice brings some health benefits to cats. For example, cat owners may give their pets rice when they have digestive issues.  Cats are obligate carnivores. Hence, animal-based protein accounts for most of their diet. That's why rice can't give them a balanced diet.  Rice is only good for cats if you know how to feed them properly. Moreover, white rice is different from brown rice because your feline friends react differently to them.

White rice

Can cats eat white rice? Yes. We have white rice after processing brown rice. And after the treatment, the rice becomes softer. Cats can chew it easier, then.  Moreover, white rice is one of the easiest grains to digest, even for animals. Your pets also love it due to its low dietary fiber content.

Brown rice

Kittens will find it harder to digest brown rice. Their digestive system can't get all the nutrients found in brown rice, and fiber is the only thing they absorb.  Yet, compared to white rice, brown rice is richer in vitamins. It has more iron, magnesium, fiber, selenium, potassium, and folate. All of these nutrients may disappear after the treatment to transform brown rice into white rice.

Uncooked rice

Feeding uncooked rice to cats can pose several digestive risks, such as stomach discomfort and bloating. Moreover, it may have lectin, and this natural pesticide can induce vomiting and diarrhea in cats.  Some people say that uncooked rice will explore a cat's stomach. It's a myth, though. However, you shouldn't feed your furry friends this treat.

Seasoned rice

Cats shouldn't consume any seasoned foods, including rice. Seasonings, like spices, garlic, and salt, harm your pets. For example, some of them will induce digestive upset and irritation in your lovely feline.

Fried rice

Like seasoned rice, fried rice isn't a good idea to feed cats. The seasonings, especially onions, you add when frying the rice can ruin red blood cells in cats.

Rice cakes

Rice cakes refer to dishes made from rice shaped into a tasty morsel. Besides, their ingredients can be rice flour or grain rice.  However, some rice cakes may contain harmful ingredients for cats, like sugar, chocolate, caramel, or cinnamon. Others come with onion, salt, and garlic.  As a result, rice cakes can be good or bad. The key is the ingredients of the cake.  

  1. Cats can eat rice in some cases

Benefits And Risks Of Feeding Rice To Cats

Is rice bad for cats? Rice comes in different forms. And as we have discussed above, some can be safe for cats, while others aren't. As a result, rice brings benefits and risks to your pets.


Can a cat eat rice? You can feed rice to cats sometimes. Yet, only give them the cooked, unseasoned one. Here are some benefits your feline buddies can have if you use this feeding method:

  • Rice is safe for cats and sometimes can help with their digestive systems.
  • If you are looking for some cat treats, consider rice as an affordable and simple choice.
  • Rice plays a role in providing a nutritionally-balanced diet for your pets. Moreover, it can be a filler ingredient, making it an excellent option for commercial cat foods.
  • You can use rice to hide cat medicines.
  • Plain and boiled rice is helpful for gastrointestinal issues in these animals.
  • Brown rice, with its abundant fiber content, helps with constipation.


Although rice offers health benefits for cats, the risks are still there. For example:

  • Some people like to give rice to their kitties. However, the tiny stomachs can't absorb all the nutrients. Hence, some of them will go to waste.
  • Rice can act as filler food. However, if you use too much, your pets will feel full and can't eat more beneficial dishes for their development.
  • Cats are carnivores. It means that rice shouldn't take up a huge part of their daily diets. Otherwise, your pets will lack essential nutrients, like animal-based protein.
  • The carbohydrate content in rice is a headache. Although commercial cat foods contain grains, they only account for a tiny part.
  • Moreover, carbs will increase blood sugar in your furry friends. And if you don't adjust their diets, they will suffer from diabetes and obesity.

2. Pros and cons of feeding rice to cats

How Much Rice Can A Cat Eat?

The answer depends on your pets' overall calorie intake. Here is how you can determine the proper serving of rice to feed them:

  • Total treats should only make up for 10% of a cat's daily calorie consumption. So, if your feline friend receives 200 calories a day, the rice should account for about 20 calories. In this case, one teaspoon of rice, about five calories, will carry 2.5% of his overall calories.
  • You can also consult your vet to establish a proper pet diet plan.
  • Observing your cats is also a good way. If they look healthy and have no severe effects after eating rice, you can add it to their cat foods.
  • Rice can't be your cats' meal replacement. While they can have one or two bites, anything more than that is not recommended.

3. Do not let cats eat too much rice

How Often Can Cats Eat Rice?

The answer depends on your cats' overall health and their tolerance to rice. For example, healthy cats won't have any underlying issues after eating rice.  Meanwhile, if your pets are pretty weak, consider carefully before introducing them to any new foods.  Even so, generally, cats should only consume rice on rare occasions. Feeding them cooked rice once in a while is acceptable.  Please remember that rice lacks essential nutrients for cats. As a result, it may lead to nutritional imbalances if fed too frequently.  

4. Cats should not eat rice too frequently

How To Feed Rice To Cats Safely?

If you don't want to miss the benefits of rice to cats, learn how to use it properly. The following tips will help you with this:

  • Smaller grains, such as couscous, cornmeal, and barley, offer many benefits and are easier for your pets to digest. Hence, giving your cats only white or plain rice would be better.
  • You just use rice as an occasional treat for cats. Hence, it shouldn't account for more than ten percent of their calorie intake.
  • Raw rice is a terrible idea. Thus, try to cook it before giving it to your lovely pets. Otherwise, they will experience vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Eating new food can be a stress for some cats. So, let your buddies decide if they will try them. With that thought in mind, start with a tiny serving of plain, cooked rice. Next, ask your cats to smell their new dish first. If they seem to like it and don't have any tummy troubles, consider feeding them this treat next time.
  • You can mix rice with other cat-safe foods, such as peas, zucchini, and carrots. These additions can encourage your pets to try their new foods. Yet, remember to consult your vet to ensure those ingredients are safe for your buddies.
  • Choose brown rice over white rice if you want your cats to get more nutrients.

5. Learn how to feed your cats properly

Alternatives To Rice For Cats

Human foods can be safe for cats. The key here is to avoid additives like salt, spices, sugar, garlic, onions, and other harmful ingredients.  So, if you want to share your treats with your pets, your options include the following:

  • Lean meat: Plain chicken, lamb, beef, salmon, and tuna are suitable for cats.
  • Vegetables: Carrots, broccoli, squash, and pumpkin are all healthy foods.
  • Fruits: Your cats may also love blueberries and watermelon.

6. Consider alternatives to rice


1. Is plain rice good for cats?

Yes. Plain rice, including brown and white rice, is the best option for cats. You also need to cook it properly, ensuring it turns moist and soft.  Moreover, when cooking, do not add any seasonings or extra ingredients to the rice. And if you accidentally put garlic, salt, or onions in the plain rice, your cats can sense them and react to them negatively.

2. Is it OK for cats to drink rice water?

Yes. Rice water can soothe upset tummies. Hence, if your cats are suffering from diarrhea, treat it with rice water.  Besides, rice water helps remove potential ingredients in a cat's stomach. But even so, you can only use this method in moderation. Otherwise, too much rice water will lead to constipation and bloating in cats.

3. Is rice hard for cats to digest?

It depends on which rice you choose and how you feed your cats. For example, white rice is easier to digest than brown rice. Besides, cooking rice will make it softer, allowing your pets to consume it easily.  On the other hand, uncooked rice is difficult for cats to digest. It will also lead to bloating and digestive issues.

4. Can cats eat rice pudding?

No. Rice pudding may have cream and milk, while cats are lactose-intolerant. As a result, this sweet treat can cause severe stomach upset in cats.  Furthermore, rice pudding is often rich in sugar. Although cats can't perceive sweetness, the sugar content is harmful to them, potentially leading to obesity and diabetes.

5. Can rice help with stomach problems in cats?

Yes. Rice has complex carbohydrates and fiber that help your cats feel full. These nutrients also harden their loose stools to assist their digestive systems.


Can cats have rice? The answer is yes; however, you need to ensure that you have cooked it properly and only give it to your pets occasionally.  Rice can be good or bad for your feline friends, and the answer depends on how you feed them. It's best to consult your vet before offering cats any new foods.  Hopefully, you will find this guide helpful. If you need more tips for feeding your pets, do not hesitate to reach us. Thank you for reading!

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About Billy Nguyen
I'm Billy Nguyen, currently CEO/Founder Cat Images, with over 3 years of experience in cat care and training. I hope the knowledge I share brings useful value to promote your pet care effectively.

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