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Can Cats Eat Lychee? Vet-Reviewed Nutritional Facts & FAQ

Rachel Giordano

By Rachel Giordano

Can Cats Eat lychee

Vet approved

Dr. Maja Platisa Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Maja Platisa

In-House Veterinarian, DVM MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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If you’re a cat owner, you may wonder if you can feed human foods to your feline on occasion. Everyone likes a little variety from time to time, and cats are probably no different. Providing a little something extra for your kitties gives them an additional aspect to their everyday food, but it needs to be done safely. Sometimes, cats can enjoy a special treat of fruits and vegetables. If you’re a lychee fan, you may wonder if it’s safe to let your kitty enjoy this sweet fruit. The short answer is yes, cats can eat a little bit of lychee, as it’s not considered toxic, but only after the skin and the seed have been removed.

Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they need animal protein in their diets to be healthy. If you want to feed your cat lychee on occasion, certain preparations and precautions should be practiced before feeding the fruit to your kitty, so pull up a chair and let’s explore this tropical fruit.

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Can Cats Eat Lychee?

The lychee fruit, also known as “litchi,” is native to China and provides good sources of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for people. Given the health benefits lychee provides, you may wonder if your cat can reap the same benefits. There is very little information about the amount of lychee cats may be able to safely eat, not to mention the lack of research on the health benefits, which are directly extrapolated from human medicine, so it is unlikely cats will benefit from the nutrients in such a small amount of fruit. Your cat’s diet is their main source of vitamins and minerals, and you can’t rely on other occasional snacks to provide them with any significant amount of nutrients.  

You should only give lychee in moderation to avoid possible gastrointestinal problems.

All cat owners know that cats don’t drink much water. With that said, lychee contains roughly 81 grams of water, making it a good source of hydration. Don’t be surprised, though, if your kitty shows no interest in the fruit because cats cannot taste sweets. A study revealed that cats are “sweet blind,” meaning they lack the receptors on their tongues to taste sweets. In short, your cat may or may not want to try lychee, but in most cases, it’s safe to give it a try occasionally.

lychee on a plate
Image Credit: atulsomani, Pixabay

How Do I Give My Cat Lychee?

Lychee isn’t a fruit that you can pick up and start eating right away, and that certainly goes for your cat. Preparation is involved in getting it ready for safe consumption.

To prepare, peel the pinkish, leathery skin from the fruit. You can use your fingernail to pierce the bumpy skin; the riper the fruit, the easier the skin will peel off. We should note that unripe lychee could be extremely toxic for people and even fatal, but research is lacking on the same possible effect in cats. Still, we believe you should be cautious, as it’s best to be safe than sorry and potentially make your cat sick, or worse. When the lychee is ripe and ready for consumption, the skin will be a lush pink or red color.

After you remove the skin, you’ll notice the fruit’s white flesh. From here, you’ll need to remove the pit. Simply slice the white flesh in half, and the pit will come right out. Removing the pit is crucial because it’s inedible and can become a choking hazard for your kitty. The skin is also inedible and very chewy; only the white flesh of the fruit should be given to your cat in very small pieces. The pit or seed can also cause a blockage in the gastrointestinal tract if swallowed by mistake.

How Often Can I Give My Cat Lychee?

Moderation is key in providing lychee to your cat safely. By moderation, we mean maybe a couple of times a week and no more than a couple of little slices of the fruit’s white flesh. Afterward, monitor for diarrhea or vomiting. If your cat suddenly feels ill after consumption, discontinue giving lychee. Speak to your vet about the appropriate amount of lychee fruit for your cat.

Can I Give My Cat Canned Lychee?

No, you should avoid giving canned lychee because it may contain added ingredients that can harm your cat, such as syrup, various additives, and artificial sweeteners. Syrup contains a massive amount of sugar, and that’s not good for your cat’s health, and some artificial sweeteners may be harmful for cats. If you want to feed your cat lychee, the best bet is to feed only a small amount of fresh lychee fruit that has been peeled and the pit removed.

maine coon cat eating
Image By: Lita Keire, Shutterstock

What Fruits Are Toxic to Cats?

 While all fruit may seem safe to feed our feline friends, some are downright toxic. Among such fruits are cherries, citrus fruits (lemons, limes, oranges), grapes, and raisins.

What Fruits Are Safe for Cats?

Cats can enjoy most fruits, but again, moderation is key in feeding fruit safely. Among the fruits that your cat can consume safely are bananas, blueberries, apples, strawberries, and pineapple, to name a few.

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Final Thoughts

Ripe lychee is a safe fruit to feed your cat, but only in moderation. However, if your cat is diabetic, consult your veterinarian before giving lychee. The sugar content may not be suitable for your cat’s condition, and your vet may recommend avoiding this fruit.

As a cat parent, it’s essential to know what you can feed your cat in the way of human food and what to avoid. It’s ok to give your cat certain human foods on occasion, but it should be limited to just that, and human food should never replace your cat’s regular diet.

If you’re ever in doubt about what to feed your cat as a special treat, your veterinarian can assist you in ensuring you’re giving your cat something that’s not harmful. Remember, if you decide to give your cat lychee, make sure the lychee is ripe with a lush pink or red color.

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Featured Image Credit: greissdesign, Pixabay

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