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Can my cat eat watermelon?

White kitten licking watermelon
© Otsphoto - Shutterstock

The watermelon is probably the most enjoyable fruit in the summer, it’s refreshing, juicy and tastes good. But can cats also get some pleasure out of this fruit? Let’s find out.

By Emilie Heyl

Published on the 13/07/2021, 17:30

Cat owners have the habit of feeding their cat meat, fish and of course dry or wet food. But did you know you can give fruits and vegetables to a cat? Certainly, cats are carnivores and they get most of the nutrients they need (especially proteins) with meat. But from time to time, they get curious and want to try new things and human food is definitely something they can enjoy as a treat.

In the summer months, watermelons are human’s best ally: they are healthy and refreshing. And what about our feline friends? If you are wondering if your cat can eat watermelon the answer is yes. However, before you open your fridge and grab that plate of watermelon, make sure you learn a bit more about whether this fruit is really healthy for your cat, and what precautions you need to take to feed it to him safely. Also, make sure you talk to your vet before introducing any human foods into your cat’s diet.

Can cats eat watermelon safely? 

Yes, cats can eat watermelon safely and it’s actually really good for them. Watermelons are packed with healthy nutrients like vitamins, they are low in calories and composed of 92% of water, therefore they will help your cat stay hydrated throughout the summer months.

Now, with that being said, watermelon shouldn’t replace your cat’s meals and should be served as a treat. Cats are obligate carnivores, they have specific nutrient requirements that must be met in their meals, these nutrients are found in animals. So, as long as you meet your cat’s nutritional needs, a little piece of watermelon won’t cause any harm. 

What are the health benefits of watermelon for cats?

Watermelon is an excellent and super healthy fruit for humans, is it so for cats? The answer is yes. This fruit is packed with vitamins (Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin B1 and Vitamin B6), nutrients (biotin, magnesium, potassium) and antioxidants. Watermelon, as its name suggests, is mainly composed of water (92%), perfect for keeping hydrated! Lastly, there aren’t many calories in the watermelon (approximately 46 calories for a 150g).

As you can see, watermelons have many health benefits for cats, but that does not mean cats would benefit from all these healthy composents. Fruits aren’t generally a part of a cat’s diet, and too much of it could cause more pain than anything. So, feeding really small pieces of watermelon from time to time for an extra special treat is fine, but don’t give watermelon in large quantities.

How to feed a cat watermelon

Cats are not usually drawn to sweet foods, but the texture and moistness of a watermelon might make them curious. Although watermelon isn’t considered poisonous to cats, there are a few things you should keep in mind

  1. Your vet’s approval: Before introducing any human foods to a cat, it’s really important to discuss this with your veterinarian. He/she will be able to tell you if your cat can eat some watermelon and the proportions.
  2. Your cat’s health condition: Although watermelon is low in calories, this fruit still contains sugar and too much of it isn't good. If your cat suffers from diabetes or is overweight, you shouldn’t be giving any watermelon.
  3. Monitoring: Every cat is different, some may enjoy eating watermelon, some may not and some may have a bad reaction to it. Look out for any signs of gastrointestinal problems (vomiting, diarrhoea). It would probably be best to introduce one new human food at a time, so that if your pet shows any signs of illness, it will be easier for you to pinpoint the source of the problem. If you think that your cat is having adverse reactions to watermelon, call your veterinarian immediately.

How to prepare watermelon for your cat

First of all, make sure you wash the watermelon. Indeed, pesticides are generally found on the fruit’s skin and they are really bad for cats. Secondly, you’ll have to remove the skin, the rind and the seeds. Not only are seeds a potential choking hazard or intestinal blocker, they are also full of cyanide, which is very toxic for cats. Last but not least, don’t give the rind to your cat, it will be difficult to digest.

How much watermelon can I give my cat?

You should be feeding a really small amount of watermelon to your cat. This fruit should be an occasional treat rather than a meal. Make sure you discuss the proportions with your veterinarian first, but as a general rule, treats shouldn’t represent more than 10% of your cat’s daily calories intake. So for example, if your cat’s daily calorie intake is 300g, 30g of these calories should come from treats.

What fruits can cats eat?

Fruits aren’t usually part of a cat’s diet. But it can happen that some cats enjoy the sweet and fresh taste of fruits. As long as their nutritional needs are met and that they are fed a healthy diet, then it’s fine to give a little piece from time to time of the following fruits:

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
Get a list of all human foods cats can eat

It’s important to keep in mind that cats are carnivores and need a specific diet made from animals. So, as long as their nutritional needs are met then it’s fine to give a piece of watermelon but it should be a treat.

We hope your cat will enjoy the taste of watermelon as much as we do!