Have you ever caught your cat staring at you while you were digging in the watermelon? Watermelon is the ultimate summer treat—refreshing and hydrating. Devouring watermelon while your cat is beside you, you may wonder, can cats have watermelon. Is watermelon bad for your cat? And what if your cat eats watermelon seeds?
The good news is you do not have to guiltily refuse your cat if she ever asks for a tidbit of the watermelon—cats can eat watermelon, too. But before your cut your cat a slice of watermelon, you need to learn about how to give watermelon to your cat. How much watermelon is safe for cats to consume? If you are not observant of precautions, your cat might get into trouble after consuming watermelon.
Before letting your cat dig into the watermelon, let’s first dive into the nitty-gritty of cats eating watermelon.
Cats and Watermelon
Watermelon is an ideal treat on a hot summer day, at least for humans. We know cats are carnivores and are required to eat meat to maintain good health, but you will be surprised to know about the overwhelming number of human foods that cats can safely eat. Cats can safely consume store-bought mushrooms, lettuce, spinach, avocado, etc. But what about watermelon? Can cats eat watermelon as well?
Watermelon Nutrient Profile
According to the USDA Food Central, 100 grams of raw watermelon contains the following amounts of different nutrients.
|Nutrient||Amount per 100 g|
|Vitamin A||28 µg|
Can Cats Have Watermelon?
Yes, cats can eat watermelon. Low in calories, brimming with water, and containing many other useful nutrients and minerals, watermelon makes a healthy treat for cats. That said, there are many caveats attached that need to be considered while feeding watermelon to a cat.
Cats can only safely eat watermelon flesh. Where watermelon seeds contain a toxin named cyanide, watermelon rind is just too hard for our feline friends to chew on, posing them a choking hazard. More so, watermelon flesh should only be offered as a treat—occasionally in small amounts. Eating in excess may upset your cat’s stomach, and eating it regularly would lead to the development of diabetes in cats.
Can Kittens Have Watermelon?
Knowing that cats can have watermelon, you must be wondering if your kitten can also safely eat watermelon. Well, you should not allow your kitten to get near watermelon—it should be kept away from her reach. Because the kittens have special dietary needs that can only be met by conventional cat food.
Kittens think of everything as either a snack or a plaything. They will be curious to dig in a big ball of watermelon. While you can feed your cat some watermelon flesh, make sure there is no seed or any traces of rind. Seeds and rind can get your baby kitten in serious trouble, such as choking and bloating.
Even if your cat has safely consumed watermelon, there might be consequences. To begin with, the high sweetness of watermelon can trigger a feline equivalent of a sugar rush in your fluff ball. On top of that, by feeding your kitten watermelon, you might be spoiling her eating habits. If your baby kitten develops a taste for watermelon, and you add it to her routine diet, there can be serious consequences such as obesity and dental issues.
Fun Way To Give Watermelon to CatsUsing a melon baller, you can make watermelon balls for your cat. Your cat will eat while playing with the watermelon ball.
Why Do Cats Like Watermelon?
While it’s the juiciness and refreshing taste of watermelon that make them an ultimate summer treat for humans, cats have their own and very different reasons for liking melons.
It’s not the sweet taste. Cats do not have a sweet tooth—they are sweet blind creatures. Research has proven that cats, like many other carnivores, lack receptors for sweetness. Meaning that felines are indifferent to the sweet taste of fruits like watermelons, strawberries, and apples. They have reasons other than the fruit’s sweet taste for eating them.
If not sweetness, then what is it?
It’s actually the smell of a ripe watermelon that makes cats drool, wanting to dig in. Watermelons contain the same amino acids as meat and have an aroma and appearance roughly comparable to meat. This is the reason that most cats like the fleshy part of the watermelon.
Have you ever noticed your cat begging for watermelon, but when you cut her a slice, she makes a mess by tearing it into smaller pieces, and in the end, declining to eat it? Well, let me tell you what made her do this. It is the meaty texture and scent of the watermelon that stimulated the hunting instincts of your cat. Later, she comes to know that this is not what she wanted, and thus, she may decline to eat it. But this may not always happen—at times, she might well devour it as if it is meat.
What Are the Benefits of Watermelon for Cats?
Watermelon is a refreshing and nutritious treat for humans, but what about our feline friends. Does watermelon have to offer any nutritional benefits to cats?
It Keeps Cats Hydrated
To begin with, by sharing a piece of your watermelon with your cat, you are strengthening your bond with her. In addition to that, it is also good for keeping you and your cat hydrated on sweltering summer days. Many times, in the summer, cats are not drinking as much water as they should. So, if your cat is not drinking water you can put some watermelon juice in your cat’s water bowl.
Similarly, if she is not eating wet cat food, you can try soaking her kibbles in watermelon juice. This will help her stay hydrated. This helps cats in their fight against kidney malfunction.
It Helps With Digestion
Fibers found in watermelons also help with the smooth regulation of the digestive system.
Great Source of Useful Vitamins and Minerals
In addition to water and fibers, watermelons are a good source of useful vitamins—A, B1, B6, C. More so, watermelon also has to offer other useful minerals, such as potassium, magnesium, copper, zinc, and phosphorous. These vitamins and nutrients are essential for keeping cats’ skin healthy and their overall health intact.
Antioxidants Help Ward off Diseases
Moreover, watermelon also contains lycopene and beta carotene, which help keep bone and cardiovascular diseases at bay in senior cats. These antioxidants also help prevent free radical damage and decrease the risk of the development of serious feline diseases such as cancer.
Keep in Mind!You should keep in mind that watermelon is not a source of a balanced diet for your cat. Therefore, making it an integral part of your cat’s diet would not be a good idea.
Are There Any Health Hazards of Watermelon for Cats?
As discussed above, your cat can safely eat watermelon, but you need to be cautious as careless consumption of watermelon may lead to serious tummy troubles and dental issues in your cat.
What if Your Cat Eats Watermelon Seeds?
While accidentally ingesting a thin and pale seed of watermelon is not a cause of concern, eating a solid ripe watermelon seed can be dangerous. Biting into the hard crust of watermelon seed may break a tooth of your kitty.
On top of that, watermelon seeds contain cyanide. You must be wondering, we humans often ingest watermelon seeds, but it never hurts us. How come it is dangerous for cats? But unlike us, cats are much smaller in size. Therefore, even traces of cyanide can be deadly for your cat.
If your cat is lucky, she may consume a watermelon and does not exhibit any sign of sickness. This is the best-case scenario—before your cat’s internal immune system could detect the watermelon seed, it’s pooped out. If it is not the lucky day for your cat, the detection of a single watermelon seed will stimulate the cat’s immune system, and the process of purging will be initiated. Your cat will suffer from diarrhea and vomiting, expelling everything from the body. The purging process will start within an hour of consuming the seeds. This can lead to dehydration in your cat.
What if Your Cat Eats Watermelon Rind?
Watermelon rind is too hard to chew, even for humans. It can take your cat hours and hours to properly chew it. However, cats get tired of chewing and start swallowing large chunks of rind, which can cause choking, or a blockage in the throat or intestine.
Eating rind may also trigger cleansing of the bowel, according to PetMD. Even if your cat does not exhibit any bad effects of consuming, you will notice that she is uneasy all the time, feeling bloated, and experiencing stomach cramping.
Eating Too Much Watermelon
Where eating a little watermelon flesh is not to worry about, cats consuming watermelon in excess can lead to obesity in cats, especially senior cats that do not exercise much. The higher amount of fructose in watermelon can also lead to the development of diabetes.
How to Give Watermelon to Cats?
- Make sure your cat is not allergic
- Get rid of the watermelon rind
- Get rid of the seeds—maybe use the middle seedless part
- Cut the seedless watermelon flesh into small pieces—about the size of your cat’s kibbles
- For the first time, offer a very small amount and check for any signs of sickness in the cat
- If your cat does not show any signs of sickness, you can gradually increase the amount of watermelon
- Never forget that moderation is the key while feeding human foods to cats
- Never feed them watermelon more than once or twice a week
- Mind the caloric intake of your cat—excessive caloric intake make them obese
Final verdict: Can Cats Have Watermelon?
Brimming with water and low in calories, watermelon—watermelon flesh—makes a great refreshing snack for cats, provided it is being offered sparingly as a treat. It is not only safe for cats to eat but also has to offer many health benefits. It provides cats with useful vitamins and minerals that are crucial for their overall health. More so, it provides antioxidants that help cats ward off many serious feline diseases. That said, eating watermelon rind or seeds could be detrimental to feline health.
Now that you know if a cat can have watermelon or not, perhaps you want to take a quick look at “Can Cats Eat Mango?”