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 you 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 watermelon, let’s first dive into the nitty-gritty of cats eating watermelon.
Can You Give Your Cat 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 vegetables and fruits that cats can safely eat. Watermelon is one of those things that cats can eat.
The fleshy part of watermelon without any seeds can be given to cats. However, you cannot give rind and seeds of watermelon to your cat.
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, making 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.
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?
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. In such cases, 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.
Fibers found in watermelons also help with the smooth regulation of the digestive system. In addition to that, watermelons are a good source of vitamin A, keeping their skin, coat, and muscles in good shape. Moreover, watermelon also contains lycopene, which helps keep bone diseases and cardiovascular diseases at bay in senior cats.
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 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.
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.
To sum up, can cats have watermelon? Yes, but only in moderate amounts, and that too without seeds and rind.