Can Cats Eat Rice? Is Rice Safe for Cats?

People have grown rice for more than 5,000 years and hence, it is one of the oldest cereal grains. It is a staple food for almost 50% of the world’s population. When it comes to growing rice, 90% of it comes from Asian countries.

There are various types of rice but based on the production, it can be classified into two groups – either white or brown.

White is the most common kind and brown rice is healthier. The latter type of rice is available in a variety of shades like black, purplish, or reddish.

Can Cats Eat Rice?

Cats can safely eat rice in small to moderate quantities provided that it is thoroughly cooked without adding salt and spices. Mix small amounts of soft cooked rice with meat, fish or other cat foods. Since cats are obligate carnivores, they need meat to survive and rice shouldn’t be the only food of the cats.

In Asia, many pet owners feed their cats rice and also in the west, rice is a standard ingredient in numerous commercial cat food items. The fact is that rice is not ideal as an only food as cats need fish or meat as their main food ingredient.

You can definitely give your cat some home cooked rice that you make for yourself along with a major protein ingredient.

If you make rice especially for the cat, then ensure it is unsalted because they need less salt than us and if they eat rice in large quantities then it is better to keep it unsalted to avoid health problems.

Make sure that you feed your cat rice with some meat or fish because they do need these food items.

Nutritional Facts of Rice

White and brown rice contains carbohydrates and some amount of protein, and no fat or sugar. Cooked rice has a lot of water, almost 70% of the weight of the rice. Both the types of rice – white and brown have similar calorie count, carbs, and protein.


Rice is mainly carbohydrate, which is almost 80% of its dry weight. Most carbs are packed with starch, which is a common form of carbohydrate.

Starch is made of long strings of glucose – amylopectin and amylose. Different varieties of rice have different amounts of these compounds in them which affects its texture.


Brown rice has more fiber than white rice. During the processing of white rice, the grain loses the parts that contain most amounts of soluble fiber called hemicellulose like seed coat or bran.

The amount of soluble fiber in white and brown rice varies.

Carbohydrates & Cats

Domestic cat’s wild successors are carnivores and thus the domestic cat still resembles the wild successor.

Studies have found that pet cats can digest all the carbohydrates they consume with a meat-based meal.

In their natural habitat, cats eat small prey like birds and rodents that are power-packed with protein, average in fat and have only minimal amounts of carbs.

Just like us and other animals, cats need a particular amount of energy to perform their normal day-today activities which they get from 3 segments of nutrients – protein, fats and carbohydrates.

Though carbs are not an important part of their diet, they do provide them energy, unless the pet cat is pregnant or feeding its kittens.

Other than energy, there are a few other health benefits of adding carb-rich foods to a cat’s diet. Carbohydrate metabolism creates heat in the body and produces the required building blocks for other nutrients like non-essential amino acids, vitamin C and others.

Cats usually like to eat multiple small meals which means that they intake small quantities of food regularly. Thus, small amounts of regular intake of carbohydrates may work well for liver enzyme physiology.

Cats break down carbs in a different way than dogs and other animals but healthy cats can very well digest, absorb and make use of dietary carbs.

Feeding excessive carbs to your pet cat can lead to feline obesity and/or diabetes. Make sure to check the food nutrition labels to understand the intake of carbs in your cat’s meals. [01]

In some cases, you may find that a few cat treats are loaded with excessive sugar and carbs. In such conditions, check with your vet to udnerstand whether it is a good treat for your feline or not.

Can Cats Eat Brown Rice?

It is okay to give your cat brown rice as an occasional treat in small quantities. In a few cases, vets recommend feeding your cat plain and boiled rice when she/he suffers from diarrhea. On the other hand, brown rice is rich in fiber and it is used to help with constipation.

How to Serve Rice to Cats?

If you are feeding rice to your cat, ensure to include large quantities of meat products in it.

Cook rice without adding salt, spices and seasoning and serve it with mixing the boneless meat, scrambled eggs or small amounts of cooked veggies like broccoli, spinach, carrots and asparagus. 

Alternative Human Food Cats Can Eat

Boneless Meat

Boiled boneless meats are loved by cats but you should ensure it does not contain any flavourings, preservatives and seasonings that may be harmful to your pet.

Cats usually eat bone-in meats but those who are used to chow will find it tough to manage the bones. Thus, it is always wise to choose boneless or minced meat.


Boneless boiled fish are great for your pet cat. You can even give canned tuna to your cat in small quantities. Since fish is power-packed with protein, make sure your cat’s diet does not only include canned fish.

Cooked Eggs

Cats can eat boiled or scrambled eggs – unsalted and without any seasonings. But this may load their diet with fat. Thus, a better way is to scramble or boil egg whites and it contains almost zero fats.

Never feed them raw eggs because consuming raw eggs or egg whites can increase the risk of being infected with a bacteria (salmonella). This bacteria can affect the cat and the cat parent.

A few symptoms of being infected with this bacteria are diarrhea and vomiting.


Feeding rice in tiny quantities to your cat is fine unless it is plain and boiled. Make sure to read through the other sections of this article like nutritional value, alternative human foods to feed your cat and how to serve rice to cats to gain more knowledge on the topic.