Of Mousers and Melons: Can Cats Eat Watermelon?
According to VetStreet, As you shop for your next barbecue and select a watermelon, you may recall seeing videos of big cats enjoying watermelon.
You may be wondering if your little house cat shares his larger feline friend’s affinity for one of America’s favorite summer snacks.
Watching a leopard tear into a watermelon may make you think this snack could be a good source of enrichment for your cat just as it is for the big cats at the zoo. The answer may surprise you.
Your small domesticated carnivore is able to enjoy watermelon with you and may even be excited to have it! Cats may also enjoy honeydew and cantaloupe if it tickles their fancy.
Considering that ancient Egyptians worshipped cats, it is incredibly appropriate that cats enjoy watermelon, as the first watermelon was harvested in Egypt.
So at your next meal that has melon on the menu, save a piece for Fluffy! Let’s discuss what cat owners need to know about enjoying watermelon with their cats:
Why feed your cat watermelon?
Most cat owners struggle with getting their cats to drink water. If your cat enjoys watermelon, this snack is a helpful way to keep your favorite feline hydrated, as watermelons are made of ninety-two percent water.
Watermelons are also a way to make sure your kitty meets their vitamin A and vitamin C requirements.
Watermelons are grown in approximately one thousand two hundred varieties; if your cat enjoys watermelons you now have a way to introduce a little variety into their snack menu.
This could also be a fun way for your family to bond; everyone can sample the different types of watermelon together.
If your cat is picky, you can top quality cat food with watermelon juice to make their meal more enticing.
How to serve watermelon to your cat
Cats should only be served ripe, red, fresh watermelon. They should never be given watermelon that has expired or is not safe for a human to consume.
There are several ways that watermelons may be served to cats. The best way if you will be feeding watermelon for the first time is to cut the watermelon into small chunks and place them in your cat’s bowl.
As your cat eats the watermelon it may be a little messy; you may want to purchase a mat to place your cat’s bowls on to prevent watermelon juice drying on the floor.
Alternatively, you could hold a piece for your cat to eat from your hand. This allows you to invite your cat to sample this snack in an easy to clean location, and by holding the watermelon, the mess can be limited to one spot.
Holding the watermelon for your cat to eat is a bonding opportunity
Some cat owners cut a watermelon in half and allow their cat to play with one half as they eat it.
This method is not recommended, as your cat would have access to the seeds and rind of the watermelon.
Providing a large piece to your cat also will result in a large amount of watermelon being consumed; cats are carnivores and as such watermelon should not make up more than ten percent of their diet.
According to CatHealth, Watermelon can be diced and frozen into an ice cube for cats to enjoy in hot weather. However, most cats are very sensitive to the temperature of their food and may not enjoy eating frozen watermelon, as they prefer warm food.
As cats are sensitive to the textures of their food, they may enjoy the flavor of watermelon but not the texture.
If your cat seems to enjoy the flavor but not the texture, you could remove the seeds and rind, then liquify the watermelon in a blender.
The watermelon juice can be served to a cat in a bowl. Watermelon juice should never replace a cat drinking regular water.
Can your Cat partake in a Watermelon Keg?
If you make a watermelon keg, do not allow your cat to eat the leftover pieces. Any watermelon they enjoy should not have been in contact with alcohol at all.
Some individuals sadly choose to give their pets alcohol for entertainment purposes; animals are able to become drunk similarly to humans and for whatever reason, they find this funny.
However, alcohol is toxic to cats and should never be given to them; not even a small amount can be safely consumed according to NaturalWonderPets.
No Seeds or Rind Please
However, watermelon seeds are not healthy for cats to eat and they must be removed before your cat enjoys this summery snack.
Watermelon seeds are large enough that they are able to become stuck in your cat’s small throat. The seeds also contain cyanide, which of course is toxic to cats.
If your cat consumes a seed, monitor them closely, and seek veterinary care if they exhibit symptoms of distress such as vomiting or diarrhea.
Watermelon rind is not easily digestible by cats. They may enjoy chewing it, but it has the potential to cause issues later.
As such, cats should only be given the middle flesh of watermelon with seeds removed.
I will take a mouse with my melon: the obligate carnivore
Most cat owners know that they are living with little hunters. Perhaps you have received the high honor of being gifted with your cat’s prize catch.
While many cat owners attribute this to their cat’s impressive prey drive, they may not realize that the prey drive is a result of their cat’s natural ability to fulfill their nutritional needs.
According to AvodermNatural, Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning that while they are able to eat certain fruits, vegetables, and plant matter, they need a diet high in protein. Cats cannot survive on a vegetarian diet.
If your cat enjoys watermelon, it is important to make sure this snack is given in moderation and does not replace the protein cats require in their diets. Watermelon should be an occasional snack, not a staple in your cat’s diet.
Watermelon cannot be a significant part of your cat’s diet; cats may consume too much watermelon, which will result in digestive upset and an unbalanced diet.
If you want to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your cat’s diet, or are considering making your cat homemade meals, be sure to consult with your veterinarian to ensure your cat receives all the necessary nutrients they require.
Cat got your tongue? The Tail of Taste Buds
Humans are fortunate to have nine thousand taste buds, which give us the ability to taste flavors that are sweet, meaty or savory, salty, sour, and bitter.
Cats only have four hundred seventy taste buds! No wonder the cat wanted to steal your tongue! While cats do have similar taste buds to ours, their sweet taste buds are not as strong as ours.
If you have a cat who appears to prefer dessert over dinner, there is a reason for that too. Cats are drawn to foods with high-fat content, and as most desserts are not beach body-friendly, this explains their attraction to the sweeter menu items.
Is watermelon healthy for all cats?
Veterinarians do not recommend that diabetic cats consume watermelon. If your cat has any unique health conditions, be sure to consult with your veterinarian before feeding watermelon to your cat.
It is also possible for cats to be allergic to watermelon. If you have never fed your cat watermelon before, be sure to only feed a small amount the first time.
Observe your cat afterward and watch out for vomiting, diarrhea, or digestive upset.
Next time you bring a watermelon home, make sure to share a seed-free piece with your favorite feline, and record the taste test to share with your friends!