I wouldn’t necessarily recommend owning both rabbits and cats – cats have been known to hunt and eat rabbits after all, and depending on the cat (and the rabbit), you may end up only owning a very satisfied cat.
But depending on the temperament of the cat and where the rabbit lives, many owners have gotten away with owning both, which means sometimes the curious cat may get into the rabbit’s food or you may be tempted to let your begging cat try a bit when you are feeding the rabbit.
This leads many owners to wonder: can cats eat rabbit food?
Short answer: While rabbit food probably won’t hurt a cat or make it sick or anything, it’s also got nothing in it that is nutritional for cats to eat. So, you have nothing to worry about if your cat stole a bit of rabbit food, but it’s also not something you particularly want to encourage.
Do Cats Like Rabbit Food?
Rabbit food is mostly made up of alfalfa and other grass, vegetable, and grain products, so it’s unlikely that most cats will go after it because they like it. Cats are obligate carnivores – they crave and need meat in order to stay healthy.
That being said, cats are also quite curious and sometimes they do like a bit of grass to settle their stomachs. They may also want to try the food to express domination over the rabbit or because they like to see what you’re doing. This doesn’t necessarily mean they like rabbit food, but some cats may nibble on it anyway.
However, you just never know about cats! Some cats may enjoy eating it because of the texture or even the flavor. If that sounds like your cat, it’s important to keep the rabbit food well away or you may end up with a sick cat.
Do Cats Hate Rabbit Food?
Most cats just don’t care about rabbit food – it would be a bit of a stretch to say that they hate it. There is simply nothing in rabbit food that would be appealing to cats except for the occasional nibble.
Can Rabbit Food Kill My Cat?
Rabbit food is not toxic to cats, so if your cat snuck some, you probably don’t have much to worry about, assuming they didn’t eat a whole pile of it. However, rabbit food is also not meant for cats to eat, meaning that at best, you’ll have a cat that isn’t getting any nutritional benefit from it, and at worse, you may have a bloated, uncomfortable pet.
Most rabbit food is made with things like alfalfa and other grasses and vegetation. It is high in crude fiber – about 22%! This is ideal for rabbits, but way too much for cats who only need up to 3.5% crude fiber in their diet. The rabbit pellets also don’t contain any of the key minerals (like taurine) that cats require to stay healthy, meaning that they are, at best, junk food.
Because of the sheer amount of crude fiber in rabbit food, cats who eat too much of it can end up with an upset stomach, bloating, and constipation. They can also end up vomiting or having other digestive problems.
Furthermore, a cat that eats too much rabbit food will feel too full to eat their own food, so they are missing out on important nutrients of their own. Most cats wouldn’t choose to live on rabbit food for too long, but one supposes that if a cat did, they would end up malnourished and unhealthy. (Cats should never be vegetarians!) In that case, it could be possible that rabbit food would kill a cat, but it would take a long time and be akin to neglect.
In short, eating the occasional rabbit food isn’t going to kill your cat or even make it sick. However, rabbit food is not something cats should be eating regularly. If you see your cat getting into it, do your best to dissuade it, and hide the rabbit food somewhere out of your cat’s reach.
If you do notice your cat having a strange reaction to rabbit food such as itching, rashes, strange behaviors, or difficulty passing stool or any other problems, it’s best to talk to your vet as soon as possible. It could be that your cat is allergic to the rabbit pellets and will need to be looked at.
How Much Rabbit Food Can I Feed My Cat?
Cats really shouldn’t be eating rabbit food at all! It’s the complete opposite in composition of what cats actually need in order to stay healthy.
But if your cat absolutely adores it, then it should be given as a treat, which means it should make up no more than 10% of your cat’s intake of daily food and calories and only once a week or so at that.
But it’s best to find treats that are specifically for cats as rabbit pellets have absolutely nothing in them that is beneficial for cats whereas at least cat treats will have protein in them.
Are There any Health Benefits to Rabbit Food for My Cat?
Not really. If your cat was suffering from constipation, a rabbit pellet may help move things along due to the high fiber content, but even then, the appropriate cat food and plenty of water are probably a better choice.
There really are no other benefits to rabbit food for cats, though some of them may like to chew on them for the texture. Honestly, given what rabbit food is made up of, cats playing with them is probably more of a concern!
Rabbit food is the complete opposite of what cats need to stay healthy. It’s made up of vegetation and hay, not meat or proteins, and has at least 8-20x more fiber than any cat needs to stay healthy!
It probably wouldn’t attract most cats, except vaguely out of curiosity, and eating too much of it will likely cause constipation and in the long run, malnutrition.
Cats should eat their own food, rabbits should eat their own food, and even as a treat, rabbit pellets really aren’t a good idea. Feed your cat food that is appropriate for your cat in order to keep it healthy and happy.
Has your cat ever eaten rabbit food? What was its reaction and how do you keep your cat away if they liked it?
Pam is a self-confessed cat lover and has experience of working with cats and owning cats for as long as she can remember. This website is where she gets to share her knowledge and interact with other cat lovers.