Can Cats Eat Watermelon?

If I had a pound for every time I said cats are very picky eaters, then I would be a rich woman by now. However, despite their great reputation for being prissy with their food, cats never cease to disappoint us. They are always ready to try out the foods we give them, and can sometimes surprise us with the things they try. 

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Watermelon is a great example of this. Can cats eat watermelon? Going by some of the videos doing the rounds on YouTube and Reddit, yes they can. That’s not really the issue here. The issue is whether you should be concerned about your cat eating watermelon or not.

Cats definitely aren’t the only ones to like watermelon. Rabbits and dogs are well known for being partial to the fruits. It’s actually funny, if you think about it. One of the things that dogs and rabbits have in common is that they both covet watermelon. This isn’t a coincidence. Watermelon has the major benefit of containing a lot of water. It therefore rehydrates any creature that eats it.

It’s Actually Safe

The short of it is that watermelon is safe for cats. In fact, it might be a good idea to include at least some watermelon in your cat’s diet because your furry feline companion stands to benefit immensely from eating watermelon.

Cats evolved from desert dwelling ancestors. These ancestors got used to a place with water shortage and so cats don’t drink water a lot. This isn’t always good for them and you have to find ways to sneak some water into a cat’s diet. If you’ve ever noticed your cat won’t get anywhere near the water bowl most of the time, you can blame her ancestors for that.

While it’s a matter of evolution, not drinking water can have some adverse effects on the health of your cat. The modern house cat needs water a lot more than her ancestors did. If she doesn’t get enough of that water then she’ll suffer from severe dehydration. She might even get some more serious conditions such as a UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) and various kidney diseases.

Giving your cat watermelon can be a boon for her. For one, it will increase the amount of water she drinks in a day. It will be in a fun way for her because she’ll be eating something she already likes. It’s definitely going to be cheaper than getting a whole water fountain for your cat.

Watermelon also has other advantages. It is rich in the vitamins A and C, as well as plenty of fibre. These will help your cat maintain a healthy digestive system and avoid constipation. It will also boost her immune system and leave her better prepared to fight the different diseases she has to face every day.

Can Cats Eat Watermelon Seeds?

So can cats eat watermelon? Definitely! But is the entire watermelon safe for your cat? There are definitely parts of a watermelon you shouldn’t allow your cat to eat. One of these is the seed. Watermelon seeds are the last thing you want shuttling down your cat’s throat and into their digestive tract. The consequences could be dire. But why?

Watermelon seeds have certain compounds that your cat might not go well with. One of these compounds is cyanide. You’re probably wondering why watermelons aren’t dangerous for humans as well, since cyanide doesn’t go well with us either. Well, the amounts of cyanide in watermelon seeds are small enough that they won’t affect humans. However, a cat’s body is much smaller and she’s more likely to experience adverse effects from the cyanide when consuming the seeds. Merely biting the watermelon seeds could set loose dangerous toxins that will ruin your cat’s health. She’s likely to experience diarrhoea and nausea.

Of course, this isn’t what’s likely to happen most of the time. The seeds might just pass through your cat’s digestive system and come out with the poop. However, they might still cause some damage internally due to how small and sharp they are. Your cat could also choke on the seeds if they go down the wrong pipe.

How Much Watermelon Should My Cat Have?

Watermelon is okay for your cat, so long as you remove the seeds. However, that doesn’t mean you should give your cat nothing but watermelon. Watermelon should be no more than an occasional snack. Your cat should only take it in small and infrequent portions. Remember, your feline friend is a carnivore first and foremost. She needs plenty of protein sources, like meat, not watermelon. Ideally, the watermelon in your cat’s diet should be no more than 10% of her total diet.

Your cat will definitely give you her signature stare when she wants watermelon. It will be very hard to ignore that stare, but you have to be strong. You can’t give in to her demands. If you give her too much watermelon, you’ll be harming her more than you’ll be helping her.

Precautions to Take

There’s always the off chance that watermelon doesn’t go well with your cat and she starts to vomit. If this happens, don’t give her food and water in copious amounts. Instead, wait for her to stop vomiting completely. Once she’s done, you can give her some water, a little at a time, to gradually reintroduce it into her system. Once you’re done, you can give her something bland, like boiled chicken or potatoes.

What about when you find your cat getting a little curious with a watermelon, licking it and sniffing around it? Should you let her have her way? You can let her explore, but you should keep some pointers in mind while you do this.

First, make sure you remove the rind off the watermelon as well as the seeds. We already know that seeds are dangerous for cats overall, but what about the rind? Well, the rind is definitely a delight for your cat to chew on. However, it isn’t particularly friendly to her digestive system. So it might be a good idea to keep it as far away from her as possible.

Keep your cat as far away from water melon and other sweet treats as you can if she has diabetes. If your cat has diabetes, she should be kept on a diet with low sugar content. Giving her watermelon while she’s suffering from diabetes might just be the final straw that broke the camel’s back.

If your cat loves watermelon just because of the color, why don’t you get her a ​watermelon toy instead? There are lots of great toys out there that mimic the chewy goodness of a watermelon. They tend to have great, high quality cotton that your cat can chew on, helping her to stay away from watermelon, particularly when she’s sick with diabetes.

Conclusion...

Lots of foods that are safe for humans are safe for cats too. Watermelon is one of those foods. It isn’t only safe, it’s beneficial too. Watermelon can keep your furry feline well hydrates, give her some of the vitamins she requires to stay healthy, and help with her digestion too.

Despite all this, watermelon shouldn’t be the main part of your cat’s diet. Whatever you do, don’t forget that watermelon seeds aren’t safe for your cat to eat. Make sure to remove them together with the rind before you give the watermelon to your cat and she’ll definitely appreciate it.

Rebecca Welters
 

Yes, I am that weird cat lady with 200 cats and live in the darkest corner of the city where no one dares to go! Joking! But I am a cat lover and have 2 Ragdoll cats called Toby, he's 3 years old and Dory, she's 8 years old. I'm 36 years old and live in the quiet town of Washington. PawsomeKitty.com does not intend to provide veterinary advice. We go to great lengths to help users better understand their cats; however, the content on this blog is not a substitute for veterinary guidance. Always consult a vet.

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