Cats can eat a lot of things, but can cats eat coconut?
People love coconut. The hard-to-crack fruit is a common ingredient in drinks, desserts, and traditional foods worldwide. People love it, and for a very good reason – it simply tastes good!
This is where the guilt seeps in and we want to share the pleasure with our furry little friend. This is where the question, “can cats eat coconut?” comes in.
A flaky feline treat
Some cats absolutely love coconut. They love the texture. The flakes are soft yet crunchy. They love the fruit’s mildly sweet and creamy taste, so feel free to give your cat some coconut.
Unlike other treats that cats might try to sneak away from their doting owner, like chocolate or grapes, coconuts are not toxic to cats. However, your cat’s digestive system isn’t built to digest fruit, so moderation is necessary.
Unfortunately, your cat needs your help if they want to eat it. Can cats eat coconut flesh? Coconut flesh is too tough for most cats to eat unless it’s shredded.
If your cat likes the taste of coconut but can’t eat shredded coconut, they can still enjoy the taste in other ways! There is also coconut water, coconut milk, and coconut oil, so even picky cats can try it out.
Coconut milk and coconut water
Despite what movies and shows might lead you to believe, adult cats shouldn’t drink too much cow milk. Just like humans, they can become lactose intolerant as they grow up. Adult cats may still like the way milk tastes, but it can upset their stomach.
If you have an adult cat that enjoys milk, coconut milk is a viable substitute. Just like coconut meat, coconut milk is rich in fat and sugars. If you want to make this rich and sweet milky treat for your cat yourself, just soak shredded coconut in hot water until it turns creamy. Take out the leftover flakes and you and your cat are set!
A good way to give your cat coconut milk is to mix a little bit of coconut milk into their water as a treat. You can mix small portions of coconut milk into wet cat food to make it creamier. This will keep their fat and sugar intake down while still letting your cat enjoy the taste and smell of coconut.
Coconut water is the juice found inside of a fresh coconut. The problem with coconut water is that it’s high in sugar. However, if coconut water is all that is available to you, a teaspoon or two of cool coconut water per day makes for a refreshing cat treat.
Can cats eat coconut oil?
By now, we know the answer to, “can cats eat coconut” and the answer is without a problem! This leads us to the more interesting question, what else could coconuts be useful for? This is where we enter the realm of coconut oil. Coconut oil is both potent and versatile. It has a strong flavor and aroma which cats will enjoy, and it can be more than just a snack.
Most cats won’t have a problem with lapping up a small amount of coconut oil from a spoon. If your cat isn’t a fan of eating oil plainly, mix it in with a serving of wet cat food. If you bake cat treats, you can try including small amounts of coconut oil in with the rest of the ingredients.
Whether you’re baking cat treats or mixing coconut oil into wet cat food, it’s best to serve it to your cat slightly warm. This will strengthen the scent of the coconut and allow your cat to savor it that much more.
Coconuts for skin and fur care
People use coconuts in a variety of skin care products. We use its oil in lotions, moisturizers, rejuvenators, hair treatments, and more. If you have a cat who has taken a liking to the scent of your newest mango coconut hairspray, it’s about time you give your furry friend a bit.
You can use coconut oil to soften your cat’s fur and loosen any tangles it may have. Just put a few drops on your hands and work it into your cat’s fur. Afterwards, your cat will have a much easier time straightening their fur out during their next grooming session.
It’s unfortunate, but stressed cats can develop bare, irritated patches of skin called hot spots. Coconut oil is a great choice to treat your cat’s skin conditions. The vitamin E and fats in coconut oil are effective at soothing and moisturizing sore skin.
Ear mites are another problem that cats sometimes have to deal with. Luckily, you can use coconut oil to get rid of them. Just gently work a few drops of coconut oil into your cat’s ears using your fingers. Applying coconut oil to your cat’s ears every other day is enough to keep ear mites at bay.
Certain cat breeds shed more than others and are more prone to getting hairballs. Any cat owner that has dealt with them before knows that a cat struggling with a hairball is not a pleasant sight. If you intend to use coconut oil for hairball treatment or prevention, a teaspoon of coconut oil every few days is more than enough.
What happens if a cat eats too much coconut?
Coconut is high in sugar and fatty acids that can give your cat intestinal distress when consumed in high amounts. It shouldn’t be an everyday menu option even though your cat may want to eat it with each meal.
Kittens should have just a few drops of coconut oil to test if they like the taste. You shouldn’t give coconut meat to a kitten until it is old enough to eat dry food with no trouble. Don’t substitute your kitten’s mother’s milk or formula for coconut milk. It just doesn’t have the right nutrients that a kitten needs to grow up healthy.
An average cat should have no more than a teaspoon of shredded coconut meat a day. Regularly exceeding this amount is a bad idea and can cause hepatic lipidosis, hyperlipidemia, or pancreatitis. If your cat displays any symptoms of the following health issues, stop feeding your cat coconuts and consult a vet about the cat’s health immediately.
Hepatic lipidosis is also known as fatty liver disease. It can cause a wide range of negative effects on your cat’s health, starting with vomiting and diarrhea, and muscle loss and even death.
Simply put, hyperlipidemia is high cholesterol. The effects of high cholesterol are much more dangerous to cats than to humans, including seizures and problems with the nervous system.
Pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas. Symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, fatigue, racing heart, and difficulty breathing.
So, can cats eat coconut for real?
Cats can eat coconut with little problem in moderation. If your cat likes eating it and you don’t mind putting in a little extra effort in feeding it to them, then go ahead!
However, you may want to reconsider feeding coconut to kittens, cats with sensitive stomachs, or cats with diabetes, liver disease, or kidney disease. This goes for coconut water and coconut milk, too.
Despite the fact that cats enjoy coconut and even other fruit, they are carnivores by nature. Their digestive tract isn’t designed for a high sugar diet.
Expect your cat to put on a little weight after regular coconut snacking. That’s okay! As long as you keep your cat active, the taste of coconuts is nothing to fear!