Summertime and watermelon were created for each other. Its tasty sugary structure is perfect for cocktails and fresh summer desserts. This fruit is a source of vitamins and other healthy ingredients. Moreover, it’s meant to share with all your friends and family. You can’t eat watermelon on your own. It’s a crime! As your cat is a full-fledged part of your family, it will be logical to share this fruit with it, too, right?
But is it as healthy for your four-legged friend as it is for you? It is a doubtable question. Cats are carnivores by nature. Their digestion differs from that of any human or dog. What is good for us can be dangerous for our fluffies. We are omnivores by nature. We can easily eat plant food. However, it can be hazardous for cats. Actually, not all human food is toxic to these pets (read the exclusions here). There are a lot of snacks that can be beneficial to your cat’s diet.
So is watermelon good for your cat? Let’s find out.
Why is watermelon healthy for humans?
This fantastic fruit is both tasty and healthy for us. One of the most essential benefits of watermelon is its structure. It is 92% water, so this fruit can keep you hydrated for many hours.
Moreover, it is low in calories. There are only 46 calories in 1 cup! It’s your perfect choice if you want to go on a diet. Moreover, your diet will be enjoyable and tasty. Blueberry has about 85 calories per cup for comparison. So calorie-wise, it is the second dietary product after a watermelon. And it’s twice as generous!
However, watermelon doesn’t consist only of water. It has a lot of vitamins and minerals like vitamin C and carotenoids. It is also rich in lycopene. This is a compound responsible for red tomato and watermelon color. This ingredient doesn’t only make these fruits look good. It also makes us feel the same way. Lycopene lowers blood pressure and helps to fight cardiovascular disease.
Is watermelon healthy for cats?
Cats can eat watermelon. Moreover, many of them enjoy the taste and adding fruits to feline diet is one of the cat nutrition trends. Yes, here we have so much in common with our four-legged friends. They enjoy its texture, and it keeps them hydrated as well.
But this fruit is not what cats need naturally. It is high in sugar. And cats poorly digest all kinds of it. If your cat eats watermelon regularly, it is not okay at all. This may lead to a number of severe digestive problems and even diabetes.Claudine Sievert, DVM
You shouldn’t replace the main meal with watermelon. Moreover, make sure you don’t give this fruit in large quantities. Some small pieces will be enough for a day.
So if you intend to feed your cat with watermelon, you need to remove all the seeds from the slice. They present a choking hazard.
How do you know that your cat ate too much watermelon?
As we already mentioned, watermelon consists of two main parts: water and sugar. The first ingredient is healthy for all human beings. The second one can be dangerous, especially for your kitty.
If your cat eats watermelon regularly, get ready for serious problems. The first one is obesity. Then blood sugar will rise steadily, and a danger of diabetes and other long term health issues occur.
Here are the main symptoms of your pet’s diabetes:
- Excessive thirst
- Constant urination
- Inability to jump
- Lack of appetite
If you notice at least one of these symptoms, you need to call your veterinarian immediately. Keep an eye on your cat and describe all the symptoms you observe in detail. The most important thing is not to miss the beginning signs of diabetes.
If you still worry about the blood sugar level of your cat, you can check the packages. Almost all the manufacturers place the list of ingredients on the etiquette of the product. However, not all of them are so responsible. If you still doubt, you can consult your vet about the quality of the food you buy for your fluffy. Remember that some treats may be too high in sugar and carbohydrates.
So can cats eat fruits?
Cats do like watermelon and its taste. However, it’s also a well-known fact that they are not so highly interested in other kinds of fruits. They are carnivores, so all kitties need is a lot of meat.
However, they consider fruits to be beneficial food. They want to taste it because you like it a lot. The thing is that cats are inquisitive by nature. They want to feel and experience everything new. When your fluffy watches you eating fruits with pleasure, it also wants to taste it. Your cat just wants to know whether it is as good as you consider it to be. So you can give a small piece of fruit to your feline friend. That’s how you can actually make friends with your kitty. It will be grateful to you, and you’ll get a cat with a perfect all-day mood.
You can be sure that fruits are not dangerous to cats if given in small amounts.
Still, there are some kinds of fruit that you shouldn’t give to your cat in no case.
All citrus contains a lot of citric acid. This ingredient may lead to central nervous system breakdowns if given in large enough doses. It is also dangerous in small amounts. Your cat is about to have a stomach upset.
The ASPCA states that these fruits are toxic to cats. They can cause kidney failure. The poisonous substance in these fruits is still unknown. However, it can cause a lot of trouble. So put these fruits away from your kitty as soon as you bring them to the kitchen.
- Coconut or coconut oil
In fact, if coconut oil is ingested in small amounts, it can’t be dangerous to your cat. But you need to know that the flesh and milk of coconut may provoke stomach upset, loose stools, or diarrhea. We do encourage you to be very attentive when you give these fruits to your cat. Keep an eye on your four-legged friend when it eats coconut. Moreover, coconut water is also high in potassium. This ingredient is okay if your cat gets it in small doses. It can be even healthy for your cat’s kidneys and heart. However, large amounts can also cause diarrhea.
What are the alternative healthy snacks?
As we already mentioned, cats do love the food that we eat. However, some products are also beneficial but less dangerous. Try to give vegetables to your cat instead. They are rich in nutrients that are useful both for humans and cats. Vegetables can become a perfect part of a balanced meal.
Here is the list of vegetables that is useful to cats:
- Peas (they are often found in many prepackaged foods for pets; it is a tremendous vitamin-filled addition)
- Green bell peppers
- Celery (cats love the crunch)
- Spinach (it is high in vitamins A, C, and K)
- Pumpkin (that’s how you can get fiber in your cat’s diet)
As you see, there are many variants to develop a much more varied diet for your cat. You can combine different types of snacks and change them from time to time. But don’t do it very often. Cats need a balanced food. Their digestive system is not used to changes at all.
And an alternative source of water is… just a bowl of water or a drinking fountain for pets.
Or you can always call your vet. Together you can develop a much more detailed meal schedule. It would be better to consult a professional, as he/she can help you to calculate portions better.
What you should remember when giving fruits and vegetables to your cat
The main thing you need to remember is that fruit and veg snacks must not be a significant part of your cat’s daily meal. The thing is that your cat needs a balanced diet. And these products are not balanced at all. You can give them as a special treat. Use fruits and vegetables as a rewarding food for your fluffy when it does something perfectly well. For instance, it can be a great way to show gratitude and love if your kitty behaved well all day long. Your cat will also be grateful to you.
Actually, cats are not very excited about new food in their diet. They become curious only if this food is connected to you. If they watch you enjoy it, they will want it too. In other cases, they are quite traditional. They love meat, and that will be enough.
Food supplements like fruits, cakes, and vegetables can be just a rewarding meal for them. But it’s also good to give your cat such type of food, as it diversifies diet. Moreover, you can get to know your cat better by watching it eat a new kind of food.
However, if you want to give your cat a new snack, you need to do it gradually. First of all, cut a small piece of the fruit you want to give. Put it on the plate. Now it is essential to keep an eye on your fluffy. Watch its reaction. There can be 2 possible variants. Your cat may eat the fruit at once if it likes the flavor. This may happen if you give it some strawberries or bananas. It may smell it for a couple of minutes as well. It is also okay. Cats are both curious and careful. If your cat likes the smell, it will 99% eat it afterward.
If your cat refuses to eat fruits, there is also a way out. Eat it yourself. As we already mentioned before, cats love what their owners love. They become very sharp-sighted in everything that concerns humans. If they watch you eat something with pleasure, they will want it too. So cut a small piece of fruit and taste it yourself. Make sure your cat sees what you do. Show an example to your cat. Now it is 100% sure the food is all right. Put it on the plate.
If your cat still refuses to eat fruit, it is better to give up the idea. You can also consult your vet to find out where the source of the problem is. Sometimes it is all about temper. It may also happen that cats associate food from humans with something negative. If you took your cat from a shelter, there is a possibility that your cat suffers negative effects from someone else’s bad behavior. People happen to be cruel. It could be poisoned by lousy food (intentionally or not).
As you see, there are a lot of variants, so you should better consult your vet.
It is always fun to start a food experiment. However, you must be sure it won’t have negative consequences. Always remember that your cat is a carnivore. It has a very sensitive digestive system. Hundreds of years of evolution prepared your cat for digesting meat. Its stomach and protein are a perfect match. So keep it in mind before changing your cat’s daily meal schedule.
90% of the vital nutrients your cat needs are in meat. If you replace a balanced meal with fruits or vegetables, your cat will feel the lack of healthy ingredients. This may lead to a number of serious problems in the future. The most common are obesity and diabetes, as fruits are very high in sugar. Is it worth a couple of experiments? We doubt.
Always consult your vet before changing the diet. Together you can develop a perfectly balanced meal schedule. The snacks can become beneficial rewarding food for your fluffy. Remember to change the snacks from time to time. Cats don’t like to get bored. Always read the contents of the product on the etiquette. There can be some sugar in it. So be attentive. Develop a perfect schedule for your cat, and it will be happy and healthy!