Cat Nutrition

Can Cats Eat Watermelon, Is It Good for Them, and How Much?

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Cats often like foods that surprise their owners. Even though cats don’t show interest in certain foods that dogs do, this doesn’t make their food tastes any less diverse.

Can cats eat watermelon?

Yes, they can and often enjoy this food as a treat. However, many owners will stress that this is a food that cats should only eat in moderation.

This video emphasizes how watermelon can be healthy for cats, in moderation, with the seeds removed. Read on to learn more about the possible benefits, cautions, and helpful tips.

Do Cats Generally Eat Fruit?

According to Teresa Manucy, DVM, cats can eat watermelon, as well as many other types of fruit. The reason cats don’t usually eat fruit has to do with the taste receptors they have.

Cats’ taste receptors do not allow them to taste sweets. Most felines are total carnivores, and domestic cats are no exception. A cat may show interest in something sweet because it notices its owner eating it but otherwise may not notice sweets.

However, your cat might enjoy eating a few bites of something sweet as sort of an occasional treat. A few bites of watermelon flesh are safe if you have removed the seeds. However, cats should never consume any of the rinds.

If you allow your cat to indulge in the occasional sweets, keep these to less than 2% of the cat’s overall diet. A serving that measures about an inch long is a proper daily serving. Pieces of fruit are best served as a treat instead of in a meal.

Some signs that indicate a cat having trouble digesting watermelon include constipation, diarrhea, and vomiting. If you should notice having digestive problems, do not feed it anymore watermelon.

Diabetic cats should also not be given fruit, particularly watermelon. The sugar content in watermelon is high enough to cause high blood sugar spikes. When your cat’s blood sugar gets high, there is a risk of complications.

Can Watermelon Keep a Cat Hydrated During the Summer?

According to Rover, watermelon can play an important role in keeping your cat hydrated. Although this melon has many other nutrients, it stands out for having a high water content.

Think of how many times you have possibly eaten watermelon on a hot day or had a drink made with watermelon. Cats allowed to eat watermelon may feel just as refreshed as we do when eating it.

The soft, moist texture is also beneficial for some cats. Although not a complete substitute for wet food, giving watermelon pieces as a treat if your cat eats primarily dry food can be a welcome surprise.

Always remember that watermelon is a food that does not naturally occur in a cat’s diet. Feeding too much food that animals should not have may do more harm than good in the long run.

What Are Some Nutrients Cats Get from Watermelon?

According to Feline Living, cats get multiple nutritional benefits from watermelon. One of the most important is fiber, which is necessary fr healthy digestion.

If your cat has difficulties with constipation, an occasional treat like watermelon can help keep things moving along smoothly. There is no cholesterol in watermelon, and the calorie count is also low.

Watermelon contains Vitamin C. However, according to Cat Watch Newsletter, cats’ bodies make their own Vitamin C.

Although the Vitamin C in watermelon will not hurt a cat, it is not a reason to start giving it watermelon. Regardless of your cat’s diet, you can have the assurance that it has the Vitamin C that it needs.

Vitamin A is an essential nutrient that contributes to feline eye health. Although many animals can get Vitamin A from beta carotene, cats are an exception. The addition of Vitamin A from watermelon can help your cat’s eye health.

Watermelon is high in B vitamins that are essential to cats’ health. B1 helps support a healthy metabolism, B3 supports the gastrointestinal and nervous systems, and B6 helps promote healthy red blood cell production.

Your cat can also get essential mineral nutrients from eating watermelon. Magnesium is one of the most important, allowing better vitamin and mineral absorption. This nutrient also helps protein production, proper enzyme function, and bone growth.

Watermelon also contains antioxidants, which destroy free radicals, which often contribute to poor health. For example, many veterinarians have cited links between free radicals and cancer.

Although few cats are deficient in these vitamins or minerals, getting these nutrients will not prove harmful if the fruit is eaten in moderation. Watermelon is easily a healthy treat.

Why are Watermelon Rinds and Seeds Bad for Cats?

According to Megan Austwick, watermelon seeds can be a choking hazard for cats. Another thing that many are unaware of is that watermelon seeds contain cyanide.

Kittens and smaller-sized cats are at risk of choking on watermelon seeds. A cat that likes the taste of watermelon is likely to start gobbling up the pieces. If the seeds are still present, the cat may swallow several of them at once.

If a cat has eaten enough seeds, it may also cause an intestinal blockage. Although this scenario is more likely with the rinds, this is still an issue that you need to consider. It is better to be safe than sorry and remove the seeds first.

Cyanide, also present in apple seeds, is found in watermelon seeds and is highly poisonous. At the very least, your cat could have a severe stomach upset from ingesting these seeds. Cyanide poisoning can cause death at the most.

Watermelon rinds are difficult for cats to chew, as well as digest. When a cat is unable to chew its food properly, choking is a risk. Even if these pieces pass through the digestive system, they are still capable of causing significant discomfort for a cat.

Stomach or intestinal blockages are a possibility when cats ingest watermelon rinds. Vomiting or not being able to pass bowel movements are common symptoms. Your cat may also be in severe and visible pain.

A blockage in the digestive tract is an emergency for a cat. Without quick interventions that may include surgery, the cat could go into shock and die. Surgery for a blockage is expensive, making such a situation something to avoid if possible.

How Can Watermelon Cause Diabetes in Cats?

All Cat Secrets highlights how easily too many sugary foods like watermelon can cause feline diabetes. The key thing to keep in mind is that watermelon is a treat to consume in moderation.

According to Sandy Eckstein, diabetes is a condition that has grown in cats, often due to obesity.

When a cat eats too many foods with high carbohydrate content, including sugary foods, they are at an increased risk for diabetes. A combination of a bad diet and a lack of physical activity has made this condition more likely in cats.

Although veterinarians estimate that diabetes affects 0.5 to 2% of the feline population, many others are likely undiagnosed. Cats that are overweight or obese are more likely to be diabetic, but normal-sized cats may also be diabetic.

Burmese cats, for as-yet unknown reasons, are a cat breed more likely to get diabetes. Larger breeds, such as Maine Coons, are not not to have a higher risk. However, overfeeding can help contribute to a cat’s risk.

The most common symptoms of diabetes in cats have increased urination and increased water consumption. Another symptom that owners might notice is their cat having a ravenous appetite. Diabetes affects metabolism, leading to an increased appetite.

If you suspect that your cat may have diabetes, a trip to the vet is in order. Owners should never attempt to start giving insulin shots themselves without involving their vet. A veterinarian can diagnose feline diabetes through exams, urine, and blood tests.

Regardless of whether your vet opts for insulin therapy or prescribes oral medications, your cat will see some dietary changes proscribed. A low-carbohydrate diet is helpful to help keep your cat’s blood sugar levels under control.

Insulin injections are the most common treatment for managing diabetes in cats. Your vet will prescribe insulin specifically for cats. This type of insulin will provide better glucose level management than the insulin commonly prescribed for humans.

Sometimes, cats can take oral medications. However, these are more common in situations where cats cannot tolerate insulin injections, which is rare. Oral medications can also have unpleasant side effects for your cat.

Unlike people who have diabetes, cats customarily require a fixed insulin dosage, so you won’t need to check the cat’s blood sugar at home. If any changes are necessary, vets will be able to find out using routine blood tests.

One thing that applies across the board, regardless of whether your cat receives insulin or oral medication, is that treats too high in sugar or other carbohydrates are out. Consuming too many of these foods will make a diabetic cat sicker.

Cats can eat watermelon in moderation, with the rinds and seeds removed. This fruit does offer benefits when given as an occasional treat. However, avoid giving your cat watermelon if it is living with diabetes.

Stacy Reed is a writer who lives with three cats who never miss a chance to teach her more about life and, of course, cats. She has been a cat parent since her teens, having had cats ranging from domestic shorthairs to Siamese mixes. Some of what she specializes in writing about includes general cat care, as well as health and behavior.

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