Watermelon is a fruit of high nutritional content and extremely refreshing for humans, because of this it is widely consumed in summer and hot seasons. It is a fruit that is in great demand in today’s daily life as it is used in a wide variety of drinks and cocktails, it is often enjoyed as an appetizer or dessert at family gatherings and with friends, so if you have a cat as a pet and consider it already part of your family group, you must be wondering if your kitty can consume this fruit without compromising their health.
Cats can eat watermelon but with certain restrictions. Watermelon is a food that is safe for cats as long as it is provided in a limited and supervised way, in small quantities as a reward or snack once or twice a week, it is not recommended to include this fruit in the daily diet of this animal.
Being more specific in relation to the frequency of consumption of this fruit, experts agree that its administration should be done as a reward or snack 1 or 2 times a week, in addition, they recommend that when rewarding the kitten with this delicious fruit the portion provided should never be more than 10% of the daily diet, the other 90% being composed of high protein quality food necessary for the health of the feline.
Are Cats Animals That Can Eat Fruit?
It is well known that cats like watermelon, but not all fruits. Cats being purely carnivores and hunters concentrate all their interest in foods that have protein content, which is why their interest in fruits, in general, is quite low. That said, it is important to mention that it does not mean that cats have any problem with fruits, what it means is that they will always prefer other types of food before leaning towards this option, which is very good when you understand their high content of natural sugars and the damage that their excessive consumption would imply for the health of cats.
This explanation serves as a basis for remarking that watermelon is a fruit that is not toxic to cats and that they like, however, there are some fruits that should be avoided at all costs in cat food because of the implications they would have on the health of the kittens, some of them are:
- All citrus fruits. Any fruit that has some level of citric acid in its molecular structure can cause damage to the central nervous system of cats if given in large portions, even if ingested in small amounts can be affected with stomach upset.
- These fruits should be completely toxic to felines according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
- Coconut or coconut oil. Technically it is a seed that can also cause cats stomach upset, therefore elimination from a cat’s diet is recommended.
Can Watermelons Kill Cats?
A cat consuming watermelon is definitely not at risk of death if its consumption is done in moderation under the supervision of its owner, however, it is important to thoroughly investigate some important aspects regarding watermelons. Watermelon is a sweet fruit that is in the pumpkin family. It has very high water and vitamin content and contains no fat or cholesterol. Its pulp has up to 13% of digestible sugars made up mainly of glucose and fructose.
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Watermelon is an adjuvant in strengthening the body and normalizing metabolic processes. However, it should be taken into consideration that watermelon can also accumulate in its interior a large number of nitrates due to incorrect agricultural practices by its growers, which generates that in very specific occasions its ingestion is dangerous. This situation could cause in statistically very low cases food poisoning by nitrates, causing symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea in cats.
Some other risks associated with the consumption of watermelon in cats are directly related to certain parts of this fruit that should be totally avoided, which is why the intake of the watermelon should be controlled and supervised by the owner of the animal, who should prepare each portion or reward of this fruit by removing the following elements.
Unfortunately, the seeds have certain compounds inside, such as cyanide, which make them totally toxic for cats, in case of ingesting them, the cat will present severe vomiting and diarrhea. This is explained by the fact that, unlike humans, cats are very small animals, so the effects of these substances will always be more intense and dangerous. Another point against the seeds is that they cannot be digested and in an extreme case could cause choking of the feline or respiratory obstruction.
The rind is 100% indigestible by the digestive system of cats, its accidental consumption by the cat would not be fatal, however, it is better to be safe than sorry, it is recommended that before giving watermelon to your cat you completely remove the rind and all the seeds and thus avoid future stomach discomfort to the cat.
What Happens If A Cat Eats Watermelon?
If your cat has eaten watermelon pulp you should not worry initially if the portion was moderate, if, on the contrary, the portion contained seeds, rind, or both the first step you should do before anything else is to call your veterinarian and proceed to the detailed observation of your pet’s behavior.
We have reviewed and established that watermelon pulp given as a snack or treat in low to moderate amounts and 1 to 2 times per week is safe for your kitty’s health, however like absolutely everything in life, these instructions handle some fine print having to do with all the exceptions to the rule that may arise.
The first thing to understand is that even if you follow these recommendations to the letter, there may be problems with your cat’s health caused by this fruit. While it is true that the owner of the kitty could unconsciously provide an excess of this fruit to the animal, it is also true that even in very small doses the animal is not exempt from stomach problems derived from this food. Too much watermelon is synonymous with too much sugar and this is the perfect formula for your cat to go down a path towards obesity and this is the prelude to feline diabetes, only having a healthy diet can protect our pets from these diseases.
If your cat is overweight it is advisable to observe it closely to detect any symptoms that may suggest a diabetic condition, the main symptoms to observe are:
- Excessive thirst
- Constant friction
- Lack of appetite
- Inability to jump
Benefits Of Watermelon Eating For Your Cat
Always remember the following: cats do not need to eat watermelon to live a healthy life, that is, watermelon is not part of the recommended diet for optimal feline nutrition, however, it is not a forbidden food if it is dosed according to the previously reviewed. But not everything is bad in relation to watermelon and cats, this fruit can also have beneficial nutritional contributions for this animal, here we will mention some of them.
Helps Maintain Water Content In The Animal
Cats are not big fans of sweet flavors, so their attraction to watermelon is centered on the high water content of this fruit.
Fruit With High Fiber Content
Fiber is an essential element in the diet of cats for the proper digestion of food consumed, this means that a home remedy to relieve constipation is to give watermelon to your pet. If this problem is punctual, the intake of the watermelon should help the cat to improve, otherwise, if it is a recurrent condition in the animal, then it would be best to contact your veterinarian.
Watermelon Is A Source Of Vitamins
Watermelon is a natural source of vitamin A and C, magnesium, and potassium which are nutrients that all cats need. In addition, watermelon is recommended for the heart and bones as it contains carotenoid lycopene which is an excellent antioxidant that helps prevent the onset of cancer.
The responsibility of owning a pet implies a great commitment on the part of its owner. It is a responsibility that will last as long as the animal lives. Understanding that it is a being as alive as we are and that it will need special care of all kinds that will require the genuine interest of the human to understand its world and everything that benefits and harms it.
It is a task that has a starting point but not an endpoint because every day something new will be learned that will impact the life of this little being. For this reason, feeding them properly is one of those central points that cannot be neglected, and learning the benefits and prejudices of the food that our pets eat is an important step to provide a full life to these companions that have come to bring so much joy to people’s homes.
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Shawn Manaher is a serial entrepreneur but when he isn’t working, he loves dogs. He’s owned different pets over the years, and always gives a part of his heart to each pet.