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Home > Cats > Can Cats Eat Watermelon? Vet Approved Facts, Benefits & Downsides

Can Cats Eat Watermelon? Vet Approved Facts, Benefits & Downsides

Can Cats Eat Watermelon

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Dr. Lorna Whittemore Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lorna Whittemore

Veterinarian, MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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It’s summertime, and the weather is hot (extremely hot in some parts), so what better tasty treat to have than a slice of watermelon? Watermelon is the perfect summer food because it helps keep us hydrated (and is delicious!). But can cats eat watermelon?

The answer is that this fruit is safe for our feline companions to eat, but it might not be the best thing to give them. And, chances are, your kitty won’t enjoy it anyway. Why is that? Here’s what to know about giving watermelon to your cat.


Why Your Cat Might Dislike Watermelon

Why would your favorite feline not like watermelon? Mostly because they can’t really taste it. Watermelon is a fruit, so it has sugar in it, but cats aren’t capable of tasting sweetness. They don’t have the taste bud receptor that registers sweetness (which makes sense, considering felines are obligate carnivores and don’t require carbs to survive). So, your pet won’t be able to actually taste the flavor of watermelon, and many cats will simply drop this fruit and walk away.

However, some felines are fans (likely because they appreciate the water content or the texture of watermelon), so there is a chance yours might enjoy the rare piece. You’ll just have to let your kitty try it to figure out if they like it or not.

gray scottish shorthair cat sitting with watermelon
Image credit: Sagittarius_13, Shutterstock

Nutritional Benefits of Watermelon

Watermelon does pack quite the nutritional punch, particularly for us humans. But because your cat has a different digestive system than you—one meant for meat only—they’ll likely not get enough of these nutritional benefits for it to really matter. If you do decide to give your pet some watermelon, though, a few possible vitamins and more that could potentially benefit them include:

  • Antioxidants, which help repair damaged cells
  • Fiber, which helps keep the intestinal tract working as it should
  • Lycopene, which helps keep eyes healthy
  • Hydration, which is vital year-round for kitties, but particularly on those hot summer days
  • Potassium, which aids in healthy heart and kidney function, as well as muscles and nerves
  • Vitamin A, which keeps your pet’s skin and coat looking great
  • Vitamin B6, which helps build proteins and regulate hormones
  • Vitamin C, which is fabulous for the immune system

So, there are plenty of healthy things about watermelon; it’s just that your cat probably won’t get enough of the good things to matter. Your pet should get all the nutrition it needs from a high-quality cat food that comes from an excellent source of protein, though.

Potential Downsides of Watermelon

Of course, along with the good must come some bad, and there are a few potential downsides to giving watermelon to your cat.

Probably the biggest concern when it comes to watermelon is ensuring your cat doesn’t eat any watermelon seeds. No matter if the seeds are black or white, they contain cyanide, which is toxic when chewed. If your pet has already gotten to a seed and swallowed it whole, they should be fine; the concern is if they chew it and the seed breaks. But seeds can also pose a choking hazard for felines, so if you see your pet swallow a seed, keep an eye on it for any signs of choking. Your safest bet will be to remove every seed you find before giving your kitty any watermelon!

You’ll also want to remove the rind of the watermelon. Not only does this pose a risk of choking, but it can also be incredibly difficult for your pet to digest properly. And food that isn’t digested as it should be could result in intestinal problems. If your cat snuck a piece of watermelon rind before you could stop it, keep a close eye on them for any signs of pain or behaviors out of the ordinary. Seeing these is an indication your cat should go to the vet urgently.

Finally, watermelon isn’t the best for cats with diabetes or those that are overweight. These kitties will have difficulty tolerating fluctuations in sugar, so the sugar content found in watermelon won’t do them any good. And some felines, in general, might have issues processing the sugar in the fruit, which could lead to diarrhea or vomiting.

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Final Thoughts

Watermelon may be yummy, but even you would be affected negatively if you ate too much of it! So, only occasionally give your cat tiny pieces of this fruit rather than making it an everyday treat. You can simply give them a small cube of the fruit’s flesh to try out, or you might want to try giving them a small frozen piece of watermelon. As long as you remember that moderation is the key, you and kitty should be fine!


Featured Image Credit: Hyun Chun Kim, Pixabay

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