We all like to give our cats a treat, but finding a healthy treat that your cat will enjoy can be hard sometimes. While many human foods are not suitable for cats to eat, some fruit and vegetables are okay. When thinking about which fruit or vegetables you can give your cat, you may have asked yourself; can cats eat cantaloupe?
Cats can eat cantaloupe in minimal amounts. Eating small amounts of cantaloupe occasionally is not toxic to cats.
In this article, we will be exploring why cats can eat cantaloupe. We will also be answering other frequently asked questions about why cats love cantaloupe and if it is safe for them. We will advise how you can feed your cat cantaloupe, and the health benefits cantaloupe can provide for your cat.
Why Do Cats Love Cantaloupe
Cats love cantaloupe because the smell of the cantaloupe melon is like the smell of meat to cats. Cats cannot detect sweet things, so it is not the sweet flesh of the cantaloupe that they enjoy. It is the smell of the cantaloupe that makes the cat think that they are eating meat.
Volatiles are the substances that give scent to food. The Volatile Organic Compounds in food provide a flavor memory so that humans and animals can identify food and whether it is safe to consume (Dini, 2008). Volatiles in cantaloupe melon is derived from amino acids (Gonda et al., 2010).
Amino acids are the chemical building blocks that make protein. Cats are an obligate carnivore, which means that they can only source and digest the nutrients they require from meat. Although they can and will consume some plant-based products, they cannot digest a large number of plants easily.
Meat is high in protein. When cats smell the amino acids in the scent of a cantaloupe, they think that there is a new source of meat. If your cat is on a diet that does not vary a great deal, they will get excited to think that they are receiving a different type of meat in the form of the cantaloupe melon.
Is Cantaloupe Bad For Cats
Cantaloupe in small amounts is not bad for cats. Cantaloupe melon is a good source of antioxidants, which help to prevent or delay cell damage. However, cantaloupe is high in sugar. An excess of sugar in your cat can lead to unwanted weight gain. It can also lead to diabetes.
If your cat already suffers from diabetes or is overweight, you will need to consider whether giving your cat cantaloupe is wise. It may not be the best thing for them. If you are not sure whether to give your cat cantaloupe melon, consult your veterinarian.
If you give cantaloupe to your cat, you need to prepare it properly. The rind of cantaloupe can be a choking hazard, as can the seeds.
Just in case your cat decides to lick the outside of the cantaloupe, make sure you wash it thoroughly when you bring it home. Washing will remove unwanted bacteria and any pesticides that remain on the rind of the cantaloupe.
When giving your cat cantaloupe, only give a small amount cut into bite-size pieces. If the pieces are too big, your cat could struggle to swallow them and choke.
Too much cantaloupe may be difficult for your cat to digest, so it is best to give occasional small pieces. It is not recommended to make cantaloupe a regular part of your cat’s diet.
Is Cantaloupe Safe For Cats
If prepared and served correctly, small amounts of cantaloupe are safe for cats. Cats can also eat small amounts of honeydew melon and watermelon safely. However, too much cantaloupe, honeydew melon, or watermelon can lead to diabetes and weight gain.
Cantaloupe contains a great deal of sugar, albeit natural sugar. While it is safe to give your cat small amounts of cantaloupe infrequently, you may be opening the door to other health problems further down the line if you regularly feed your cat cantaloupe.
If your cat is already overweight or diabetic, giving them a large cantaloupe treat regularly has the potential to make them seriously unwell in the longer term.
Another reason to moderate the amount of cantaloupe that you give your cat is that cats do not easily digest plant-based food items.
Cats are true carnivores, so their digestive system is designed to only work with meat. Plant-based food items can be very difficult to digest and could lead to a gastrointestinal upset in your cat.
If you do want to give your cat some cantaloupe, try giving a very small amount first. You can monitor your cat for any adverse reactions. If all seems well, try a little bit more the next time you want to share some cantaloupe with your cat.
As always, if you are unsure about giving your cat cantaloupe, consult your veterinarian for advice.
Is Cantaloupe Toxic To Cats
Cantaloupe is not toxic to cats, and it is safe for your cat to eat cantaloupe in moderation. Too much cantaloupe can lead to upset stomachs and diarrhea. If you feed your cat cantaloupe, you should continuously monitor her/him for signs of discomfort.
However, some fruits are very toxic to cats, especially cherries. Cherries are poisonous to cats, and you should always keep them out of your cat’s diet. Grapes and raisins can cause kidney damage in cats.
Even ingesting a small number of grapes or raisins can be very dangerous for your cat’s health. Care should be taken to safeguard that your cat will not sneak a grape from your fruit bowl.
Onions and garlic can be toxic to cats. Onion powder is deemed more dangerous than raw onion due to its concentrated form. Cats’ red blood cells have an adverse reaction to onion when an onion is ingested. It is best to keep your cat away from onions, garlic, and chives.
If you want to give your cat a plant-based treat, one of the safest and non-toxic fruits or vegetables you can give your cat is cantaloupe melon. Just make sure it is in small amounts.
Health Benefits of Cantaloupe For Cats
Cantaloupe has some good health benefits for cats. Cantaloupe is low in calories and high in dietary fiber, making it a healthy and tasty treat for your cat.
Cantaloupe is a great provider of Vitamin A for cats. Vitamin A is an essential vitamin for cats as their bodies cannot produce it naturally. Vitamin A is suitable for a cat’s ‘night vision,’ skin, and fur.
It is also thought to aid their immune system. Vitamin A is also an essential vitamin for pregnant females (Queens) and the early development of kittens. Cantaloupe is a good source of vitamin A.
Cantaloupes are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants help repair or prevent damage to cells caused by reactive oxygen species, such as free radicals. Antioxidants are vital in aiding a cat’s recovery after an injury in which they have an area of inflammation. It is also believed that antioxidants help to keep away cancer.
Cantaloupe is high in potassium which cats require. Too little potassium in a cat’s diet can lead to hypokalemia. Senior cats often suffer from kidney problems, and with that, many have low potassium levels.
A small amount of cantaloupe can aid with that but consult your veterinarian first if you have concerns about the health of your cat’s kidneys.
Although cantaloupes are rich in vitamin C, a cat can produce vitamin C in its own body, unlike humans. So they derive no benefits from the vitamin C found in cantaloupe.
How Much Cantaloupe Can Your Cat Have
Only feed your cat a very small amount of cantaloupe whenever you give them this treat. While cantaloupe melon is safe for cats to eat, it is only safe if a small amount is eaten.
Too much cantaloupe can cause stomach upset and discomfort. Frequent, large amounts of cantaloupe will lead to weight gain and diabetes because of the significant sugar content found in cantaloupe.
Your cat is an ‘obligate carnivore. While it can eat a small amount of cantaloupe, it will take a while for your cat to digest it as its digestive system is designed for meat, not vegetables or fruit.
Whenever you introduce a new treat to your cat, you should do it gradually and in very small amounts. It allows a chance for your cat’s system to process the new food, and you can monitor your cat for any signs that they are struggling to digest the treat or in any discomfort.
As safe as cantaloupe is for cats, it should be a treat that is given very infrequently. As much as you want to spoil your cat and let them know that you love them, too much cantaloupe could become harmful to their long-term health.
How To Feed Your Cat Cantaloupe
It is only the flesh of the cantaloupe melon that should be given to your cat. It would help if you did not feed your cat the rind or the seeds.
The flesh of the cantaloupe melon should be de-seeded and chopped into very small bite-size pieces. This is to prevent your cat from choking on a bigger piece. Remember, the teeth of an obligate carnivore are different from our own, so your cat cannot chew and grind down the cantaloupe when they are eating it.
Seeds can present a choking hazard for cats when eating cantaloupe, so you should be very careful to remove all seeds from the cantaloupe as you prepare it for your cat.
Do not give the rind of the cantaloupe to your cat. The rind can also present a choking hazard, but, just as importantly, your cat cannot digest the fiber contained within the rind.
Your cat will experience digestive discomfort if you allow them to eat the rind. Additionally, if you have not cleaned the rind, they could be exposed to bacteria or pesticides, making them unwell.
It is also possible to mix a little cantaloupe in with some cat kibble so that your cat still has some crunch and texture when eating.
If your cat seems ill or lackluster after eating cantaloupe, monitor them closely and consult your veterinarian if you are concerned.
Things To Consider
Before feeding your cat cantaloupe, you may want to consider the following:
Make The Treat Exciting
If you want to make the cantaloupe treat even more exciting for your cat, you can incorporate it into a puzzle box. This will stimulate them mentally and pique their hunter instinct.
It is also a great way to stop them from gobbling down their treat all at once. Just remember to clean the puzzle box afterward, so you do not have any leftover cantaloupe rotting in there.
Cantaloupe melon is not the only melon that cats enjoy. Cats also enjoy watermelon and honeydew melon from time to time. The same recommendations apply to whatever melon you treat your cat with; always small pieces, limit the amount you give them, no rind, and always de-seeded.
Keep The Cantaloupe Melon As A Treat
Giving your cat cantaloupe is not a replacement for their normal diet, and care should be taken that you do not over indulge your kitty. Too much cantaloupe comes with long-term health risks such as diabetes and weight gain.
Cantaloupe melon should only be served in small amounts infrequently and should not become an essential staple of your cat’s diet.
Ensure The Cantaloupe Is Ripe
Whenever you feed your cat cantaloupe, make sure that the cantaloupe is fresh and ripe. Un-ripened cantaloupe can lead to stomach upsets and diarrhea in your cat.
Signs to look for in a ripe cantaloupe include color, smell, and the stem.
Ensure the cantaloupe is not green. A sandy gold or yellowish color indicates a cantaloupe is ripe. If there is a bit of stem on the melon, it is indicative that the cantaloupe was cut early and may not be ripe.
Smell the cantaloupe from the blossom end (opposite end of the stem); if it smells sweet and a little musky, it is likely ripe. The cantaloupe should be firm. Not squishy and not rock hard.