Pet Consider

Can Cats Eat Cantaloupe?

Can I Give My Cat Cantaloupe?

Whereas our dogs are renowned for their desire and ability to eat pretty much anything, our cats are the pets who have fragile stomachs and finicky palates. Many pet owners have heard countless horror stories about what can happen if you give your cat even a small amount of food that they shouldn’t have. Understandably, this has resulted in quite a bit of anxiety surrounding the issue of cats and human food. Some people claim that grains are poisonous, while others suggest that giving your cat fruit is animal abuse. But what’s the truth about sharing our favorite fruits with our cats?

During the summer, juicy fruits like cantaloupe become a regular feature on our tables at mealtime. But is it safe to share this sweet treat with our feline friends? Can cats have cantaloupe?

The answer is yes, cats can eat cantaloupe in moderation. In fact, many cats love cantaloupe more than any other fruit—many a pet owner has been astonished to discover that their furry friend, a devoted meat-eater, readily gobbles up this orange melon. Like most fruits, cantaloupe is not at all toxic to housecats, so there is no need to panic if you walk into the kitchen to find your cat wolfing down the cubed cantaloupe you left on the counter.

Health Benefits?

But are there any feline health benefits associated with cantaloupe? As far as nutrition goes, no, your cat is not likely to get much out of eating cantaloupe. This is because cats, just like cheetahs and bobcats, are obligate carnivores. This is why your cat is so prone to ignoring non-meat foods like bananas and broccoli. To be classified as a carnivore, however, you need to have more than just a taste for meat.

sliced cantaloupe

All obligate carnivores have evolved to meet all of their nutritional needs by eating one thing: the muscles, organs, and other body parts of prey animals. As a result of eating a steady diet of whole prey, their bodies have largely lost the ability to extract nutrition from plant sources like fruits and vegetables. Both their dietary needs and their digestive abilities have shifted as a direct result of these adaptations.

One of the best examples of this is the relationship between cats and Vitamin C. While we absolutely must get Vitamin C from our food, our cats produce all the Vitamin C they need inside of their bodies. So, while cantaloupe is a great source of Vitamin C, that does not mean much for our cats.

Another great example of this is in the need for Vitamin A versus beta carotene. Beta carotene, the chemical that makes fruits and vegetables orange, is the main thing that we use to make Vitamin A. Cats, on the other hand, are incapable of converting beta carotene to Vitamin A, and must get the vitamin in its pre-formed state by eating the bodies of prey animals who have done the converting for them.

So it’s safe to say that your cat is not attracted to cantaloupe for any nutritional reason. The current theory is that cantaloupe produces a scent similar to the smell of the proteins in meat—which means that the feline desire to eat cantaloupe is an evolutionary fluke.

That said, your cat may be able to reap some small benefits from eating fruits like cantaloupe. Melon is high in antioxidants, which are linked to a decreased risk of heart disease, cancer, infection, arthritis, and the cognitive decline commonly associated with aging. This is because antioxidants destroy free radicals, the particles that cause much of the cell damage that results in the mutations that are thought to lead to many of these chronic or life-threatening illnesses.

Things to Keep in Mind

Cantaloupe also contains dietary fiber, which can be beneficial to your cat’s digestive health in small amounts. Dietary fiber balances digestion by preventing both constipation and diarrhea: insoluble fiber adds bulk to otherwise watery stool, and soluble fiber soaks up water to create softer bowel movements. This is why increased fiber intake is associated with a lower incidence of colon cancer in both people and animals.

Though cantaloupe is not toxic, it should not make up a large part of your cat’s diet. It’s largely nutritionally empty, so your cat may end up malnourished or overweight if they consume a lot of calories in the form of cantaloupe. Many cats also have difficulty digesting high-carbohydrate foods like fruit, which can result in upset stomach and diarrhea.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, cantaloupe is a safe option for healthy cats on the prowl for a fruity fix. It is low in calories and fat, nontoxic, and generally well tolerated. If you decide to give your cat cantaloupe, make sure to remove the peel and cut it into bite-sized pieces before serving. As with all new foods, monitor your cat for any adverse effects after they have eaten cantaloupe.


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