By Kim Rain
Published: 01/14/2021, edited: 02/19/2021
Often associated with summer barbecues and cookouts, watermelon is a delicious and easy alternative to desserts and other treats. There’s nothing else quite like this watery, sweet fruit on a hot day. But if your cat is pawing at your hand trying to snatch a bite, you may be wondering if cats can enjoy watermelon too.
The answer, in short, is: YES! Cats can eat watermelon. But before you hand over a slice to your begging feline, there are a few things you should know about this yummy, red fruit.
There’s no doubt your cat will love to munch the crunchy texture of watermelon pulp, and though they aren’t usually fans of sweet foods, cats do seem to enjoy the taste as well. Watermelon is low in calories, and full of healthy vitamins and minerals, including Vitamins A, B1, B6, and C, magnesium, potassium, biotin, and lots of antioxidants.
Watermelon is also comprised of about 90 percent water, which is good news for any kitties who experience constipation or mild dehydration. In the wild, cats get most of their water from live prey, but domestic kitties who primarily eat dry food can be at risk, as they often don’t drink enough water to make up for the loss. Since cats prefer to eat their water in foods, watermelon can be a pawfect way to make up the difference.
No matter how safe a food is, there will always be some exceptions. While watermelon is generally safe for healthy cats, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian first if your kitty has a health condition. Along with the vitamins and minerals, watermelon also contains natural simple sugars and is high in carbohydrates, so it shouldn’t be given to diabetic cats.
Just like us, some cats can exhibit an allergy or adverse reaction to a seemingly safe food, so always watch your kitty for any symptoms when giving them watermelon. If your cat vomits, or experiences diarrhea or constipation, they may be allergic to watermelon and shouldn’t be eating it. While symptoms are usually mild, consult your veterinarian immediately if they continue or worsen, or if you notice any other symptoms of allergic shock in your cat.
If your healthy kitty is ready to give watermelon a try, don’t just hand over any piece. When feeding watermelon to your cat, be sure to prepare it correctly, and feed the right amount.
While the pulp inside watermelon is juicy and furbulous, the seeds can cause choking or an intestinal obstruction, neither of which you want your furry pal to experience. They are also full of cyanide, and while a few seeds won’t harm us, they could be toxic for your cat’s smaller body. It’s best to take the seeds out first before feeding to your cat, or go for the seedless variety. While you are at it, be sure to cut away the rind too which can be difficult to digest. And lastly, though some people like to salt their watermelon, be sure to leave it off when feeding it to your kitty as they don’t need extra sodium. Then, cut up the watermelon pulp into bite-size pieces and serve!
Knowing how much is the right amount of watermelon to give your cat may take a moment of math, so bear with us! Even though watermelon does contain good nutrients, it should still be counted as a treat. Any treats should only comprise about 10 percent of a cat’s daily caloric intake. This means that if your cat consumes 250 calories per day, treats including watermelon should only be about 25 calories. On average, one cup of watermelon equals about 45 calories, so half a cup should be more than sufficient to satisfy your kitty’s craving and stay in a safe caloric range. Be sure to adjust amounts based on your own cat’s daily calorie intake.
So, at the next summertime feast, or anytime snack, you can share tasty watermelon with your favorite feline who’s sure to purr their approval. And to cool them down on a blisteringly hot day, or for a lengthened treat, try freezing the watermelon first!
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