Why do some domestic cats like to eat watermelon?

There can be only two possible reasons why domestic cats like to eat watermelon and I don’t think that we can say that all domestic cats like watermelon. So it’s wrong to ask, “Why do cats love to eat watermelon?”. The two reasons must be that it tastes nice with an interesting texture and feel and that they are thirsty and it is a source of water.

Cat nibbles a watermelon
Cat nibbles a watermelon and ends up wearing lipstick! Photo in public domain.
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Interesting source of water

And it’s an interesting source of water in that they have two extract it rather than the water simply being there in a bowl. It may be more attractive to a domestic cat to work a little bit to get at the water because it’s more typical of what they would have to do in the wild. And we know that domestic cats are driven by their wild cat traits.

Can’t detect sweetness?

The difficulty that a lot of people have with domestic cats liking the taste of watermelon is that a study found that domestic cats are “sweet blind” because they lack the receptors in their tongue and their brains for sweetness. They can’t taste sweetness, the scientists say but they do like things which are sweet such as ice cream. But they like ice cream because of the fat content. I have some doubts with the conclusions of the scientists on this. Perhaps domestic cats can taste sweetness to a certain extent or a component of it.

Something in watermelon tastes nice?

I’m going to argue that domestic cats either might be able to detect sweetness to a certain extent and like it or that there is something else in the watermelon which they find tasty. I think this is the better argument. There is something in watermelon which is tasty to them but we don’t know what it is. Watermelon is said to be very healthy for humans and as long as they don’t eat the pips, there’s nothing to suggest that it can’t be healthy for cats as well. Watermelon contains fibre, vitamins and other nutrients although it is 90% water.

Domestic cats eat vegetation

Domestic cats might have an innate instinct that watermelon contains ingredients which are good for them. Although domestic cats are “strict carnivores, (we hear that phrase a lot on the Internet) it doesn’t mean that they don’t eat vegetable matter sometimes. We know that they eat grass and we know that there is vegetable matter in the contents of the stomach of mice. A lot of the wild cat species eat plant matter from time to time. And we can see in the video on this page that leopards and other big cats like to eat watermelon.

Big cats like watermelon

Leopard eats a watermelon
Leopard eats a watermelon. Screenshot.

There is something in that. If a leopard can like watermelon, then the leopard likes the taste and texture of watermelon and the fact that they can drink as well. If a leopard likes it, it’s a very short step to deciding that domestic cats like it as well because there is very little difference in terms of the basic anatomy and physiology between domestic cats and leopards except for size and appearance.

Domestic cats eat plants so what about texture

Also, we know that cats like to eat plants from time to time. This is why cat owners have to take precautions to prevent their cat eating poisonous plants either in or outside the home. Why do cats want to eat plants? They are not made of meat are they? There may be another element in this discussion. Domestic cats might like the texture and feel of the watermelon in their mouth. Cats do like to nibble at things, whatever they are. Sometimes these object are dangerous. They like to use their mouths rather like babies to take pleasure in the sensation of putting objects in it and tasting it and chewing it. This may be a reason why some domestic cats like watermelon.


Some domestic cats like eating watermelon because it pleases them for reasons of taste, texture and the water content.

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