Yes, your cat can eat watermelon — and it’s safe for them to ingest it.
But even if your cat seems to enjoy it, you should only serve the fruit occasionally as a treat. You should also always remove the seeds and rind.
Cats can derive benefits, such as hydration, from eating watermelons, as the fruits have high water content.
They can also get vitamins, minerals (such as Vitamin C, B6, and potassium), and some antioxidants from watermelons.
However, the health benefits are limited, and your cat can get the nutrients from other sources.
You should also limit the amount you serve your furry friends because they are obligate carnivores.
An obligate carnivore is any species that needs a flesh diet to survive because evolution did not adapt its systems to digest and utilize plant nutrients.
An obligate carnivore will likely suffer severe digestive disturbances and malnutrition when you place it on a plant-based diet, including fruits.
Watermelon seeds contain cyanide
Make sure to remove the seeds and the rind when you serve your cat watermelons. Watermelon seeds contain a substance called cyanide that is toxic to cats.
Cyanide is toxic to most animals, including humans, dogs, and cats. It damages animal tissues and poisons your cat’s system by limiting the ability to utilize oxygen.
Thus, the symptoms of cyanide poisoning, such as dilated pupils, vomiting, and respiratory distress, are due to tissues deprived of oxygen.
The effects of cyanide poisoning set in very rapidly within minutes and can lead to shock and death.
You should also remove the rind or outer covering from watermelon because it is too fibrous for your furry friend.
Besides being a choking hazard, ingesting the rind could also cause severe digestive issues, such as intestinal tract obstruction.
Watermelon is also high in sugar
Watermelon has a high sugar content. Fruits with high sugar content are unhealthy for cats.
Dietary sugar and carbs come primarily from plant sources. While small amounts of carbs and sugar won’t hurt your cat, large portions may be harmful.
Cats are a carnivorous species. They did not evolve digestive and metabolic mechanisms for handling large amounts of sugar or carbs in their diet. The fact that your cat’s digestive system was not designed to utilize plant sugars and carbs explains why its tongue cannot detect sweet sugary tastes.
Thus, diets with high sugar content predispose your cat to weight gain and high blood sugar levels, and may lead to diabetes.
Avoid serving watermelons to overweight and diabetic cats.
Artificial sweeteners vs sugar
Substituting artificial sweeteners for sugar can also harm your cats health.
Some artificial sweeteners, especially xylitol, are harmful to cats and may cause digestive disturbances. They may also damage the liver and cause death.
Chocolates are also potentially harmful to cats. Due to the theobromine content, ingesting large amounts of chocolate can result in seizures, heart disturbances, and death.