Watermelon is a refreshing treat for a hot summer day for humans. As a fruit, it’s delicious and comes with health benefits. However, for your feline friend, the situation may differ.
But can cats eat watermelon? The quick answer is yes, cats can consume this fruit, but you’ll need to take precautions when preparing and serving it. While this fruit is non-toxic to cats, it might upset their stomach.
Some cats will love this treat, while others might not like it. Before adding watermelon to your kitty’s diet, here’s all you need to know.
Is it Safe to Feed Your Cat Watermelon?
As a cat owner, you can feed your cat this fruit. It’s a good supplement, especially if you notice your pet is not a good water drinker. Some cats are fussy about consuming water; therefore, this fruit should be a perfect addition, especially during hot summer months.
It’s also ideal if your kitty is suffering from mild constipation.
Health Benefits of Watermelon
Cats are obligate carnivores and get their nutrients from meat and other foods. As much as watermelon doesn’t fit in the typical diet, they enjoy it, and it has some nutritional benefits.
Let’s take a look at some of them.
As the name suggests, watermelon is primarily composed of water, about 92% of the whole fruit. This is essential for dehydrating and helping with digestion.
Watermelon contains significant vitamins that a cat needs, such as Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin C, and Vitamin B6.
The fruit also has micronutrients in low quantities. These include potassium, magnesium, biotin, antioxidants, protein, and fatty acids.
This compound gives the fruit the red color comes with additional health benefits. It strengthens your cat’s bones, decreases blood pressure, and prevents cardiovascular diseases.
Watermelon also contains dietary fibers that help the cat’s digestive system.
Unlike other food items, watermelon contains natural sugars that are better for your cat than artificial ones. However, you should be extra cautious with this, especially if your cat is diabetic. The extra sugar might be harmful to the body.
How to Feed Your Cat Watermelon
Although watermelon is not toxic to felines, several precautions should be taken before serving this treat to your pet.
It Should Be Plain
Humans love to add toppings such as sprinkling some salt or wrapping the fruit in cheese when consuming watermelon. When serving the fruit for your treat, it’s best to avoid these options and serve it plain. Cats don’t need sodium or too much dairy in their diet because it becomes tough on their digestive systems.
Make Frozen Popsicles
During extremely hot months or when your cat is dehydrated, you can opt to freeze the watermelon and serve them as natural popsicles. This will make your feline friend curious, and they are more likely to consume the popsicles.
Serve It in Moderation
Since watermelon is a treat, you should serve it to your cat in moderation. Even if your cat enjoys the fruit, it still has high sugar content, which their bodies can’t digest well. Too much watermelon can lead to stomach issues.
In addition, if it’s the first time, some cats might not be tolerant to human foods; therefore, you need to pay attention if they develop diarrhea, vomiting, indigestion, or constipation. If your cat reacts negatively to the fruit, they are likely allergic.
Remove the Seeds
Seeds found in the watermelon fruit are harmful to your cat. The seeds contain cyanide which could release toxins that are harmful to your feline friend. Once the cat gets infected, it may start vomiting or get sick with diarrhea.
Apart from causing digestive issues, the seeds can also be a choking hazard, especially for kittens and small cat breeds.
Remove the Rind
Just like seeds, your cat should not eat the rind. All the nutritional benefits from this fruit are found in the flesh and not the skin.
The watermelon rind tends to be hard and can be difficult for cats to chew and digest. This can cause choking, intestinal blockages, or a stomach upset.
Therefore, before feeding your cat, it’s best to remove the rind. The best way to serve watermelon is to remove the seeds and rind or serve the seedless varieties.
Steps To Take Before Feeding Your Cat Watermelon
While taking into account the precautions, here is a guideline you can follow before feeding your cat watermelon.
1. Talk to the Vet
Before feeding your pet any human food, it’s advisable to talk to your vet to get proper advice on the best nutrition. They can provide a guideline on which human foods are typically safe for cats.
2. Calculate the Portions
Based on the vet’s advice, you can now measure how much watermelon to include in your cat’s daily caloric intake. The vet can also guide you on the nutritional requirements of your cat depending on their weight.
3. Prepare the Fruit Properly
Just like with other foods, prepare the watermelon well and safely for your cat to consume. Wash the fruit thoroughly, remove the seeds and the rind, and then cut the fruit into tiny pieces that your feline friend can handle comfortably.
4. Monitor Your Cat
Once the cat consumes the watermelon, closely monitor the reaction for any adverse gastrointestinal issues. This step is essential, especially if it’s the first time your cat has consumed watermelon.
It also makes it easier to pinpoint the cause of any health conditions that may arise later. Once you notice any issues, call your vet immediately.
Health Concerns from Watermelon Consumption
You should avoid feeding your cat watermelon if your cat has the following health issues and symptoms.
Although the watermelon fruit contains natural sugars, it’s still harmful if your pet has diabetes. Even in low amounts, the sugar can trigger life-threatening symptoms of diabetes.
If you don’t know whether your cat has diabetes, you can watch out for symptoms such as lack of appetite, excessive thirst, constant urination, vomiting, inability to jump, and vomiting.
If your cat is on a diet and trying to lose weight due to obesity, feeding them watermelon isn’t a good choice. The sugar level still adds up to the calories that can affect the weight. Therefore, you’ll need to avoid this fruit if your cat needs to lose some pounds.
You can only know whether your cat has allergies to watermelon by feeding them the fruit. After they have consumed the fruit, you need to pay close attention to your pet to spot any reactions. The symptoms to help you determine if your cat is allergic to watermelon include vomiting, indigestion, diarrhea, choking, or constipation.
If these symptoms persist, you should cease feeding your cat this fruit because it’s not compatible with their digestive system.
How Often Should You Feed Your Cat Watermelon
Now that we’ve established watermelon should only be added as a treat, it should not make up more than 10% of the cat’s diet. Cats mostly require a lot of meat and protein in their diet; therefore, the fruit should be occasional. It would be best if you concentrated more on high-quality cat food to keep your pet healthy.
Alternatives to Watermelon for Your Cat
If you are looking for a hydrating option, there are other alternatives you can go for apart from watermelon. These foods are also good options if your cat does not like watermelons.
You can feed them vegetables such as zucchini, spinach, celery, carrots, pumpkin, or broccoli. Pet owners should introduce these alternatives in bits to supplement the cat’s primary food.
Feeding your cat a slice or two of watermelon occasionally is not harmful. This fruit is safe for your feline friend as long as you take precautions to remove seeds and the rind. You also need to closely monitor your cat if they encounter allergic reactions from feeding on this fruit.
Watermelons are also safe as long as your cat is not diabetic or obese. Furthermore, they are perfect for hydration and also come with additional nutrients. Therefore, you can add them to your cat’s diet as treats.
Featured Image Credit: Paul Brennan, Pixabay