Stashed prominently on my pantry shelf is a can of pumpkin ready to dish out at the first signs of digestive upset in my cat, Casey, or my dogs Kona and Cleo. For as long as I can
remember, canned pumpkin has been the recom-
mended go-to food to ease mild constipation or
diarrhea. But good luck finding any peer-reviewed
scientific studies in veterinary journals validating
pumpkin’s health claims for cats.
“I was unable to find a single experimental
study in the peer-reviewed veterinary literature of the clinical use of pumpkin in cats
for any conditions,” said Tony Buffington,
D.V.M., Ph.D., emeritus professor of Veterinary
Clinical Sciences at The Ohio State University
College of Veterinary Medicine and a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary
What about the idea that dishing up a dollop
of canned pumpkin can help prevent hairballs?
“Again, I could not find any published studies of
this claim,” Dr. Buffington said. “But canned pump-
kin has been fed to cats as far as I can tell for many
THE FINICKY CAT BY ARDEN MOORE
of Pumpkin POWER
JUST IN TIME FOR
HALLOWEEN, HERE ARE
MORE PUMPKIN INSIGHTS TO PONDER:
• Shelf life: An opened can of pumpkin
with a lid stays fresh for about five daysin the refrigerator.
• Freeze it: Take an empty ice cube tray, add a dollop
of canned pumpkin or the Castor & Pollux brand with
water, and let it freeze. Grab a pumpkin “popsicle” wheneeded, let it melt, and dish it up to your cat.
• Steer clear of serving pulp from
your decaying Halloween pumpkin or a
tablespoon from your pumpkin pie to your cat.
The pulp can be too taxing on her digestivesystem, and the pie containspices and sugar.