Watermelon is that summer fruit we all know and love, and look forward to as a post-meal palate cleansing fruit, or a really refreshing smoothie that is so welcome on a hot summer’s day.
And it’s not just us humans who love watermelon – some cats do too! The thirst-quenching sensation of biting into a watermelon is shared by your feline companion, especially if it’s a hot day. And as a member of your family, sharing your watermelon with your cat can be a great bonding experience for the both of you, too.
Can cats eat watermelon?
The answer is yes – cats can eat watermelon. But it’s always good to remind ourselves that cats are not humans, and they have different dietary and nutritional needs. Cats are known carnivores in the wild, which means their digestive systems cater mostly to meat and fish protein. Humans on the other hand, are omnivores, and our digestive systems are built to break down both plant and meat based food effectively.
So if you’re wondering if you can share some of your juicy, tasty watermelon with your cat – don’t worry, you can. But too much of a good thing can be bad, so the real question here is – how much is too much watermelon?
How much watermelon can cats eat?
The watermelon is a juicy but sugary fruit. The human body can process sugar effectively, but when it comes to cats, a little bit of sugar goes quite a long way. Cats that regularly consume large amounts of watermelon in their diet may have an increased risk of conditions like obesity or diabetes.
So, once in a while, a little piece of watermelon is alright to share with your cat. It will help to cool her off in the heat, as well as make her happy with the taste of that naturally sweet watermelon flavor.
Why watermelon is beneficial to health
Watermelons are 92% water, which means it is packed to the brim with sweet and tasty hydration. It also contains Vitamin C, A, B1, B5, B6, Potassium and Magnesium – all essential vitamins and minerals that aid in healthy living.
The fruit is low in calories, coming in at 46 calories per cup. In comparison, a cup of apples comes in at 65 calories while oranges are 85 calories.
There are also cancer preventing compounds found in watermelon, thanks to the lycopene that naturally occurs in the fruit. Lycopene has been linked to preventing cancers that affect the digestive system.
The lycopene present in watermelon helps give that bright ruby-red colour of the edible fruit, and is known to lower blood pressure, while fighting cardiovascular disease.
All of these benefits found in watermelon are readily available for your cat as well. Additionally, watermelon is known to be fiber rich – similar to the amount of fiber found in a pumpkin (also another popular fruit that cats love). This makes for better digestive health in your cat!
Are there any side effects to eating watermelon?
Although cats love the taste and texture of watermelon, too much watermelon can cause some side effects. One of the most common ones is the increased risk of obesity or diabetes.
Because watermelon contains a high amount of natural sugar, regular intake of watermelon in your cat’s diet may cause a fluctuation in blood sugar levels that can lead to further complications in the long term.
If your cat is a regular watermelon eater, but you have noticed symptoms such as constant thirst, a poor appetite, vomiting or increased peeing, your cat might be suffering from the onset of diabetes. Contact your vet as soon as possible to get these symptoms checked out.
One notable concern when you feed watermelon to your cat is the presence of watermelon seeds. This is something that should be taken seriously, as odd-sized watermelon seeds may pose a choking risk to your cat if the seeds are ingested together with the fruit. Always remove the seeds and rind before feeding watermelon to your cat.
Do cats eat other fruits?
Yes! Cats enjoy other sweet fruits such as honeydew and cantaloupe. However, the absolute no-nos when it comes to fruits and cats are citrus fruits, grapes, currants, and coconut.
Other food alternatives to watermelon
Watermelon is a satisfying, hydrating sweet treat for your feline companion. But there’s more to natural, healthy treats than just watermelon when it comes to cats. Here’s a list of some of the natural-based food treats that cats enjoy just as much as the juicy, ruby red watermelon.
Cooked carrots are sweet and filling, which means your cat can enjoy great tasting and hearty natural food.
Pumpkin is one of the most common veggies that cat owners feed their cats. It is high in fiber, and is often used to supplement the fiber content in a cat’s diet.
Who doesn’t love the sweet taste of fresh peas? Filled with vitamins C, E, B1 and folate, peas are a great healthy treat that your cat will enjoy.
Celery is crunchy, zesty and full of nutrients and fiber to promote a healthy, happy lifestyle for your cat. One thing to note is to feed your cat raw celery and not cooked celery, whenever possible.
Boiled broccoli has many dietary health benefits that makes it a super healthy natural treat option for cats.
As in the case with humans, you should always remember that too much of a good thing will end up being bad for you. And if you’re feeding watermelon to your cat as a treat, a little bit goes a long way.
Cats are carnivores after all, and if you choose to replace your cat’s diet with fruits and vegetables, they won’t be getting all of the vital nutrients that they need from cat food or raw / cooked meat. With that said however, there’s nothing wrong with sharing a little bit of the juicy goodness of your watermelon with your cat – just remember to remove the seeds and rinds and feed it to them in moderation.