My cat has only ever eaten protein and fat, from meat, fish and some canned foods. Suddenly today I saw him eating watermelon. Do you think I should feed it to him?
In general, don't feed your cat fruit.
Cats are designed to be extremely carnivorous animals. Even more so than many other animals we think of as carnivorous such as dogs. So even if the particular fruit isn't toxic to them, they can't digest it very well, probably won't get much nutrition from it, and have a decent chance of getting diarrhea or vomiting from eating it. Fruits are also usually relatively high in sugar, which isn't very good for them when they're designed to eat meat. Just like humans, cats can even get diabetes if they eat too much sugar. Therefore, it's generally not recommended to give your cat fruit.
The one exception is if your cat suffers a lot from constipation, sometimes then vets will recommend giving them a little bit of pumpkin to add extra fiber to their diet.
Many fruits and vegetables may be toxic.
Experts don't actually have a full understanding of what exactly is toxic to cats, and so they tend to err on the safe side and tell people to keep away many foods that they're not even entirely sure are toxic to cats. It also may be the case that a small amount of toxic foods won't have any noticeable effect while it still is actually toxic. In other words, even if your animal has eaten these things in the past without anything bad happening, it's still better to keep foods thought to be potentially toxic away from it.
Below is a list of fruits and vegetables that may be toxic, but this list is not comprehensive.
- Anything in the Allium genus. This includes things like onions, garlics, shallots, and so forth.
- Grapes and raisins. Grapes are known to be toxic to dogs, and therefore, experts say to keep them away from cats too.
- Citrus fruits like oranges or lemons. Citrus fruits may damage a cat's skin just by touching it as well.
- Many rinds, seeds, and plant parts associated with the fruit. Seeds, including watermelon seeds, often contain cyanide which obviously is toxic.
- Green fruits may be toxic. In particular, this applies to tomatoes.
- Uncooked potatoes, the eyes of potatoes, and uncooked potato peels are all poisonous to cats.
The flesh of watermelon doesn't seem to be toxic to cats, but the seeds and potentially the rind are, and therefore you should be cautious in leaving out watermelon.
What should I do if my cat eats one of these things?
Take the item away from your cat if there's any left, and call your vet.