Oranges are great snacks and the citrus and vitamin C contained in them is beneficial to humans, but that’s not the case for cats. While you may be tempted to share a few pieces of your juicy orange with your cat, it can actually be incredibly dangerous for their health.
Even if your cat wants to taste a bit of your orange, which is quite unlikely for a few reasons, it wouldn’t be a good idea to indulge that curiosity.
Stick with us to learn, can cats have oranges and why you should be ditching this classic citrus zinger for something less toxic to your cat’s health.
Why Are Oranges Bad for Cats?
Like all other citrus fruits, oranges are toxic to cats.
Thankfully, most cats are programmed to hate the smell of citrus fruits, so it’s unlikely you’ll find your kitty clawing through the fruit bowl for his midday snack.
However, if your cat does get its paws on a slice or two of orange, it’s likely he’ll experience diarrhea or vomiting, at the very least.
All cats react differently to citrus ingestion, and reactions may vary depending on how much was consumed. If it was just a little bit, it’s likely not going to create such a bad reaction that your cat will need medical attention.
There’s one key reason why oranges are so bad for your cat, and it’s to do with the essential oils and psoralens found inside the fruit. Oils such as limonene and linalool are toxic to cats.
Felines are uniquely sensitive to these compounds, which often cause gastrointestinal upset when ingested.
More severe reactions may include liver damage. In fact, these compounds are often used as pesticides or insecticidal products, and exposure may cause toxicosis.
Your feline friend will be feeling far from fine after a few segments of orange, so as a responsible pet owner, please don’t risk it.
This also applies to the orange peel, too. In fact, the peels contain a higher concentration of essential oils, which may make them even more toxic to your cat than the fruit itself.
In some cases, cats who’ve eaten oranges have gone on to develop depression and photosensitivity, too – neither of which are pleasant for your cat to experience.
What Fruits Can Cats Eat?
If you want your furry friend to get a health boost of vitamins and minerals, there are plenty of other fruits you can offer. Some of the safest fruits for cats to eat can include:
- Apples (peeled)
- Apricots (without seeds, pits, and stems)
- Pears (without seeds, pits, and stems)
These fruits can offer your feline friends a welcome dose of vitamin c, potassium, antioxidants, fiber, and more when cut into small, easy-to-digest pieces. Remember to remove seeds, pits, and stems before feeding any of these fruits to your cat.
Fruit is best given to your cat in moderation. Fruits contain high amounts of sugar, leading to weight gain, diarrhea, or poor dental health.
As a general rule of thumb, fruits should make up around 2% of your cat’s diet (around an inch size portion of fruit per day).
You could offer fruit as an alternative to cat treats or mix the portion into their meal. Fruit is the perfect treat on a hot day, and chilled pieces may be particularly appealing to your cat.
Best Cat Food Options
When it comes to keeping your cat healthy and happy, it’s important to choose the highest quality food. Our team has curated a list of the best cat foods, based on customer reviews, quality ingredients, and price.
What To Do If Your Cat Eats an Orange
So, the worst-case scenario has happened. Curiosity took the wheel, and your cat has dived into your fruit bowl and helped itself to a segment or two of orange. What do you do?
Well, in this instance, ‘curiosity killed the cat’ is unlikely, so try not to panic. First, see if you can establish how much orange your cat has eaten.
Has it eaten any peel or just the fruit? Although fatalities due to citrus poisoning are rare, you should consult your vet immediately in case the situation escalates, and you need to bring your cat in for treatment.
Your vet will most likely advise you to keep a close eye on your cat and keep a lookout for any unusual symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, or weak muscle movements.
If you notice any of these symptoms within 24 hours of ingestion, take your cat to the vets.
There are currently no tests to confirm orange toxicity in cats, so your vet will rely on your observations to provide treatment and make a diagnosis. So, make sure you’re observing your cat as closely as possible.
Depending on the severity of the reaction, your cat may require treatment. In some cases, the vet may induce vomiting to expel any remaining orange from the body.
This method is usually followed up with activated charcoal to flush any remaining toxins from your cat’s system.
Reminder: Although oranges are toxic to cats, it’s very rare for toxicity to require medical intervention. Most cases are mild and will resolve on their own.
However, you should always monitor your cat closely and look out for any signs of toxicity so you can treat them immediately.
So, Can Cats Have Oranges?
Cats are naturally curious. It’s one of the things we love the most about them, but it can also be their worst downfall.
Whether they’re getting stuck in boxes, knocking decorative features off your sideboards, or climbing the curtains, there’s just about nothing they won’t try!
Thankfully, cats don’t tend to enjoy the smell or taste of oranges, and few will try to get their paws on them.
However, if your cat does ingest orange or orange peel, remember to remain vigilant for any signs of toxicity and monitor them closely.
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