Lacking fat, low in calories, and rich in vitamin C, oranges make a great treat for humans. Owing to the nutritional profile of oranges, it is no wonder that oranges have become an integral part of our routine diet—from cooking to baking, eating peeled carpels, and drinking a glass of fresh juice in the morning. But what about our feline friends? Can cats eat oranges? Can they appreciate the juiciness of oranges as we humans do?

Giving Human Foods to Cats

The nutrient requirements of cats are very different from us humans. Cats also process human food very differently. This is the reason that what we can safely put in our mouths might not be safe to put in our cat’s bowls.

Where some human foods are inherently toxic to cats, such as chocolate, onion, and garlic, many human foods are safe for cats, such as store-bought mushrooms, spinach, avocado, and so on. But even the things that are said to be non-toxic to cats need to be given to cats occasionally as a treat and that too after the vet’s approval. Before giving anything to your cat, you should not only do internet surfing but also run it by your vet.  

Let’s get specific; let’s learn about oranges and cats.

Can Cats Eat Oranges?

Can cats eat oranges? No. Cats cannot eat oranges.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has listed oranges as toxic to our pets, including cats, dogs, and horses. In fact, due to the presence of certain essential oils and compounds in citrusy oranges, they are considered toxic to cats.

Cats seem not to like the citrusy smell of oranges, so probably you do not have to worry about them stealing an orange carpel. But you never know. After all, cats being mischievous creatures might be tempted to give it a try. This is why you are advised not to eat oranges with your cat sitting next to you, especially if she does not find the citrusy aroma of oranges repelling. To satiate their curiosity, she might steal a carpel of orange or nibble on the orange peel, leading to the development of health issues, such as diarrhea, vomiting, depression, etc.

Can Cats Eat Mandarin Oranges?

Among oranges, mandarin oranges are favorites of many—they are easier to peel, sweeter in taste, and smaller in size. So one may contemplate that maybe mandarin oranges (if peeled with seeds removed) are safe for cats to eat.

No! Cats cannot have mandarin oranges either. They are just another type of orange and contain all elements that are present in common oranges. So you cannot give mandarin oranges to your cat.                       

What About Other Citrus Fruits?

Can cats eat citrus fruits? What about lemons? Can cats have lemons? These might be the next questions lined up in your head.

Sorry to disappoint you if you were planning to eat grapefruits, raisins, lemon, limes, etc., with your feline friend. Unfortunately, no citrus fruit is good for cats—citrus is bad for cats. According to Jenna Mahan, no citrus fruit is good for cats—eating any would upset their stomach and may even cause nervous depression.

Oranges and Cats

Cats are curious and mischievous creatures—for them, everything is either a plaything or something to munch on. They want to taste everything that their owners are putting in their mouths. If you are snacking on an orange and your cat is nearby, she will be staring right at you, meowing and pawing at your leg, asking for an orange. She will either start playing with the orange as if it was a tennis ball, or she will start digging into it.

Oranges and cats may seem like a good combination to some, but it really is not. Unlike humans, cats cannot reap the benefits of oranges—there is not much in oranges for our feline friends to appreciate. Here is why.

Cats Are Sweet-Blind

To begin with, cats are sweet-blind. They are not equipped to appreciate sweetness—they lack sweet taste buds. So they will be indifferent towards the tangy sweetness of oranges.

If you were only excited for your cat experiencing the sweet taste of oranges, your efforts won’t yield any fruits as your fur ball cannot taste it.

Cats Produce Their Own Vitamin C

No doubt, vitamin C is vital for the good health of our feline friends. But unlike humans, cats produce their own vitamin C—they do not need an external source of vitamin C to meet their requirements.

External sourcing of vitamin C can lead to an excess of it, which can be deadly for cats. In addition to other issues, it can make cats susceptible to the acidification of cat urine, which, if not controlled, can result in the formation of crystals, causing a deadly blockage.

Are Oranges Bad For Cats?

Are oranges toxic to cats? According to PetMD, oranges are not safe for cats, and consumption of even a small amount of orange can cause several health issues such as digestive irritation, vomiting, and in extreme cases, it can lead to diarrhea and nervous system depression.

Here is why oranges are bad for cats.

Essential Oils

The APSCA has classified oranges as toxic to cats due to the presence of essential oils psoralens in oranges.

Oranges contain essential oils such as limonene and linalool. When consumed in small amounts, it can cause gastrointestinal issues ranging from vomiting to diarrhea.  But when consumed in excess, your cat may develop nervous system depression.

Can Cats Eat Oranges Peel?

Are orange peels toxic to cats? Yes, orange peels are not suitable for cats either. The essential oils toxic to cats are highly concentrated in the orange peel, so orange peels are more harmful to your cat’s health than its pulpy flesh. While eating oranges, you should carefully dispose of the orange peel—never leave it on the table as your cat may nibble on the peels and get in trouble. Initially, your cat will get nauseous and may start vomiting. She may experience bad case diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration and imbalance of electrolytes.


This toxic compound present in oranges is responsible for the development of photosensitivity in our feline friends. Developing photosensitivity, your cat may hurt herself by getting out in the sunlight. You will have to keep your photosensitive kitten indoors, with no exposure to sharp light for around 48 hours. After that, the cat will be fine. But if the issue persists, you may need to contact a vet.

Citrus Poisoning in cats

As discussed above, citrus fruits, including oranges are toxic to cats. Therefore, if a cat eats oranges or some other citrus fruits, they develop citrus poisoning.

Signs of Citrus Poisoning in Cats

Cats immediately start to exhibit the symptoms. Depending on the amount of orange that your cat has consumed, the severity of symptoms exhibited would differ. Below are some of the common signs of citrus poisoning in cats:

Treating Citrus Poisoning

If your cat has only taken a lick or two of orange, there is nothing to worry about. Your cat may vomit—throw out the citrusy content, and that’s it. But sometimes, when the cat has consumed citrusy oranges in excess, the signs could be more severe. In such cases, you must rush to the vet. He might perform gastric lavage to wash out her stomach and flush out all the toxins.

If the cat has not eaten orange but has only come in contact with citrus fruits, she may develop allergic dermatitis. In this case, you should give your fluffball a bath that will remove all the toxins from her skin and relieve her pain.  If you took time in bathing your cat, she may have already developed some reddened patches of irritation. In such cases, you should contact your vet, who will prescribe some topical corticosteroids to apply on the reddened and inflamed patches.

Do Orange Peels Keep Cats Away?

There is always an exception, but usually, our feline friends do not like the citrusy aroma. This is the reason that many cat-repelling products use a citrusy smell. Many people put orange peels under the Christmas tree to keep their felines away from the tree. Diffusing orange essentials oils in an area will keep the cats away, but this exposure to essential oils may lead to citrus poisoning in cats. Therefore, you are advised to use safe cat repellants such as feliway pheromone spray or diffuser.

So What’s the Final Verdict?

Can cats eat oranges?

No! Cats cannot eat oranges. Most cats are repelled by the strong citrusy smell of oranges so they stay away. So you probably don’t have to worry about your cat eating oranges unless she is an exception and doesn’t find citrusy aroma repellent.

Now that we know about ‘can cats eat oranges,’ you might be interested more in what human foods can cats eat and what they cannot. Head to our Cat Food section and know more about different human foods and its benefits or hazards for cats.

Find out what other foods cats can eat or not eat:

CucumberStrawberriesBaconAlmond Milk
SpinachMangoesHot DogsWhipped Cream
MushroomsOrangesCinnamonPeanut Butter
RosemaryAvocadoSpiderPotato Chips
PicklesPistachiosChicken WingsFrench Fries
BroccoliBananasFishDog Food
Foods cats can eat or not eat

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *