You never know what your curious kitty is going to get into next, that is why it is so important for cat owners to be aware of potential dangers within the home. After all, foods and other household items that are perfectly safe for us can have severe effects on our cat’s health.
We are here to talk about dragon fruit. This delicious tropical fruit has been growing in popularity in recent years. Not only are we eating it raw or freeze-dried, but a lot of drinks include dragon fruit as well. So, what exactly is dragon fruit, and can a cat eat it? Dragon fruit is not toxic to cats, but it shouldn’t be offered to them often. Let’s find out the reasoning behind cats and their limited fruit intake.
What Is Dragon Fruit?
Dragon fruit is a unique, exotic-looking tropical delicacy that is native to southern Mexico and Central America. The fruit grows on the Hylocereus cactus, commonly referred to as the Honolulu queen. The most unique part about his cactus is that its flowers only open during the night.
The dragon fruit itself also goes by the names pitaya, pitahaya, and strawberry pear. It gets its name from the green scales and bright red skin that resembles a dragon. Dragon fruit is now grown all over the world and the most common variety is the type with white pulp and black seeds.
There is also a type that has red pulp with black seeds and another with yellow skin, white pulp, and black seeds—but these are rarer. Dragon fruits are only slightly sweet and do not have an intense taste.
Health Benefits of Dragon Fruit for Humans
Dragon fruit has many potential health benefits for humans. It is important to note that just because a certain food has great health benefits for humans, does not mean it has the same benefits for our kitties.
- Rich in antioxidants
- High in fiber
- May help lower blood sugar
- Immune support
- Rich in vitamin C
- Boosts iron levels
Cats and Dragon Fruit
So, can cats eat dragon fruit? Yes, they can. However, that does not mean it should be added as a staple to their diet. Dragon fruit is not toxic to cats and if they were to munch on some dragon fruit sitting out on the counter, it’s not going to cause any serious harm.
Dragon fruit may be nutrient-rich and come packed with health benefits, but as obligate carnivores, cats are not able to properly digest plant material and get the benefits from it as humans can. Cats get all their needed nutrients directly from meat, so there is no real reason to supplement their diet with dragon fruit.
Can Cats Eat Other Fruits?
The answer to this question is not so simple. Some fruits and other human foods are perfectly safe if consumed by cats, while others are not.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the safe and not-so-safe fruits you have sitting around the house:
Fruits Safe if Consumed by Cats
When speaking of non-toxic fruits, your cat could suffer from some digestive upset, including diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea if they consume large amounts. This is because their digestive systems are not designed for anything other than meat. The following are considered safe if consumed in very small amounts:
Fruits That Are Unsafe for Cats
It is equally important to be aware of the unsafe fruits for cats to prevent any toxic effects. If your cat were to consume any of the following, you need to reach out to your veterinarian immediately for further guidance. It is also very important to know the symptoms of toxicity so that you can be on the lookout.
Keeping Your Cat on a Balanced Diet
The best way to ensure you are feeding your cat a proper, balanced diet is by speaking to your veterinarian and coming up with a meal plan. Most commercial cat foods on the market are designed to meet all the nutritional requirements your cat needs.
The importance of feeding your cat high-quality cat food is immeasurable. To ensure overall health and wellbeing, you want to feed food of top quality that is appropriate to your cat’s age, size, and activity level. Not all cat foods will come with the same quality standards, so it is important to learn how to read the food label.
Types of Cat Food
There are quite a few options when it comes to types of cat foods available. Each food type can be fed in addition to another, you just need to ensure you are feeding the correct quantity and avoid overfeeding.
- Dry kibble
- Wet cat food
- Frozen or refrigerated raw food
- Freeze-dried raw cat food
- Semi-moist cat food
Healthy Snacks You Can Offer Your Cat
We’ve included a list of some healthy snacks you can offer your cat in addition to their regular diet. It is important to do so in moderation to avoid obesity.
- Cooked, unsalted lean meats (small amounts)
- Dried liver (small amounts)
- Pieces of kibble
- Bits of wet food
- High-quality commercial treats
There is no harm if your cat were to get into a small amount of dragon fruit, as this delicious, increasingly popular cactus fruit is non-toxic to cats. Since cats are obligate carnivores that get all of their needed nutrients from meat and their commercial cat foods, there is no real reason to supplement their diet with dragon fruit.
Before adding anything to your cat’s diet or changing it in any way, always speak to your veterinarian. It is also very important to contact them if your cat were to eat any food or get into any household item that could potentially cause them harm. If it was a small amount of dragon fruit, you’re in the clear.
Featured Image Credit: brendawood33, Pixabay