People ask whether our domestic cat companions can eat watermelon, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, blackberries, apples, mangoes, pineapple, apricots, kiwi, nectarines, pears and cantaloupe! 🙂 .
The fact is that studies on the small wild cat species frequently find fruit in their stomachs and in their faeces. It is not that unusual for the small wild cat species to eat some fruit from time to time. They also ingest fruit in the stomach of their prey animals. Certainly, the wild cat ancestor of the domestic cat might eat fruit from time to time. The point that I’m clearly making is that if the domestic cat’s wild cat ancestor (Far Eastern wildcat) eats small quantities of fruit to their benefit then so can our kitties.
They have to avoid fruit snacks made for people because they contain additives and the advice from veterinarians is that with respect to watermelons and other fruiets you should avoid feeding your cat rind or seeds. A small amount of seedless watermelon will not harm your cat and in any case watermelon is 92% water. It contains vitamins A, B6 and C. It contains antioxidants, amino acids and lycopene (a carotene). There’s nothing in there which can harm a cat to the best of my knowledge. Vitamin A is an essential nutrient for domestic cats by the way.
The big issue, though is whether domestic cats want to eat these fruits. No doubt some individual cats will like to nibble at the odd fruit, a behavioural trait inherited from their wild ancestor. For my part, I have never seen my cats eat fruit so I expected to be fairly unusual. No doubt somebody will comment and say that there cat loves to eat cantaloupe every Sunday morning for breakfast! So be it. Out of an abundance of caution, I would limit the amount of fruit that is eaten to small quantities. They are strict carnivores after all and not omnivores like humans. FYI – some cats love the smell of peaches if they’ve been washed commercially. I think this is because of a mild disinfectant – chlorinated water – on them which can attract cats like catnip.
Fruits that they can’t eat
Yes, right at the very end I’m going to address the main topic of this article. Domestic cats shouldn’t eat grapes, raisins, lemons, limes and oranges and cherries (this list is not necessarily comprehensive). Grapes and raisins can cause digestive issues, vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy and perhaps kidney failure. Oranges, limes and lemons contain oils and compounds which can irritate the digestive tract causing vomiting and diarrhoea. There may even be an impact upon the central nervous system.