For many people, watermelon is the epitome of summer treats (along with ice cream!) It’s cold, it’s full of water, low in calories, and goes well with a lot of other foods. Kids love it too!
But what about your cat? Watermelon seems like the kind of thing that would be really good for cats, if for no other reason than the high content of water which most cats don’t tend to get quite enough of in their daily diet. On the other hand, cats aren’t built to handle fruits and vegetables and watermelon still has a decently high amount of sugars which also aren’t good for cats. So, can cats eat watermelon?
Short answer: yes. And lots of cats like it too. It’s cold, it has a nice texture, and it keeps cats hydrated. Keep in mind though that your cat probably likes it for the water and the texture, not the flavor. Cats cannot taste anything sweet. But as long as you are only feeding your cat watermelon occasionally and in moderation, it’s probably safe.
Do Cats Like Watermelon?
It varies. Many cats do enjoy it, mostly because the texture is novel, easy to manage, and it has plenty of water in it. Other cats may just enjoy licking a slice and then wandering off. As with any other food, it will depend on your particular animal’s taste buds. For myself, I don’t think I’ve ever had a cat try to eat our watermelon, though I wouldn’t put it past my current cat to lick it a little if it was left within reach.
Do Cats Hate Watermelon?
No. Most cats probably won’t hate watermelon. They may be disinterested in it, but they probably won’t hate it. Again, it’s important to keep in mind that cats can’t taste the sweetness in the watermelon anyway, so if they dislike it, it’s likely due to the texture.
Can Watermelon Kill Cats?
Assuming that you don’t feed your cat huge piles of watermelon every day or that your cat isn’t deathly allergic to watermelon, it’s unlikely that it will kill your cat. However, there are some safety things to keep in mind when letting your cat partake in this summer fruit:
- Watermelon has about 6g of sugar in it per 100g of watermelon. It doesn’t sound like much; however, that’s a lot of sugar for one cat to have regularly. Too much sugar and carbs in a cat’s diet can quickly lead to obesity and diabetes, so make sure to limit intake.
- Any watermelon given to cats should be 100% seedless. The seeds in watermelon are problematic for two reasons: they are a choking hazard, and they contain a trace amount of cyanide in them. For humans, this is no big deal. For cats, it could be enough to make them quite ill and if they ate too many seeds, they would be fatally poisoned.
- Cats should never be offered the rind. It’s too hard to digest and they’ll end up with an upset stomach
- Watermelon should be given to cats as is’, with no extras to it. If you want to do something special, freeze a chunk and let them have it like a popsicle (so to speak). Beyond that, watermelon should be served plain
- If your cat has never had watermelon before, monitor for an allergic reaction such as itchiness, diarrhea, and vomiting
So long as you are serving a small portion of plain watermelon with no seeds or rinds and you only do it as a treat, watermelon should not be harmful to your cat in any way.
How Much Watermelon is Safe For Your Cat?
Cats are carnivores and as such, the majority of their food intake should be protein coming from properly formulated food. Watermelon can be treated as a treat and therefore, it should make up no more than 10% of their diet (and really should be a lot less since presumably, your cat has other treats too).
Cats shouldn’t have watermelon every day and when they do have some, it should only be one or two very small pieces. Any more than that can make your cat feel ill and makes it harder for them to eat their appropriate food.
The Health Benefits of Watermelon for Your Cat
Watermelons do have some nutritional value for cats, although since they can eat so little in one serving, they are for the most part fairly trace amounts. Still, a little benefit is better than none!
- Water. Watermelons are 92% water and as such can be used as a good way to hydrate cats, particularly those with mild constipation or very mild dehydration. It should not be used to replace their regular water or wet food, but it can provide a top-up.
- Vitamin A and C. Cats produce their own vitamin C, but Vitamin A is good for their skin
- Potassium. Potassium is important for good organ health
- Magnesium. Magnesium is good for muscle and bone health
- Fibre. Fiber is necessary for proper digestion and a bit of watermelon may help a cat move things along
Watermelon is also quite low in fat which makes it safe enough for cats to eat. It also doesn’t have as many carbs and sugars as a lot of other fruits.
Most of the vitamins and minerals though, aside from water, are in such trace amounts that a cat would have to eat way too much to get any sort of real benefit. However, it’s still worth providing as an occasional treat as these benefits are still something cats can use to top up their regular food. Watermelon again is particularly useful for very mild cases of constipation and dehydration. You can even just give a cat a bit of watermelon juice (liquid from the fruit, not juice from a bottle) on their dry food to encourage them to eat it.
In short, a small amount of watermelon fruit can be quite enjoyable for your cat to eat and absolutely safe. Do keep in mind that it does have sugars in it, so a cat with diabetes should not have it, and that it must be free from seeds and cut from the rind.
Otherwise, your cat may enjoy a small piece of watermelon from time to time, especially when it’s hot and sunny outside. And if your cat doesn’t like it, don’t worry about it.
There are much better treats and foods to feed your pet instead and keeping their water bowl topped up and using good quality canned food will do a lot of the hydration work for you.
Does your cat like watermelon?