For humans, at least, oranges are a veritable nutritional powerhouse due to their high vitamin and mineral content and excellent antioxidant content. However, can one of our feline friends eat an orange?
The short answer is no; cats should not consume oranges because, like other citrus fruits, they are toxic to felines.
Curious as to why? Find out why this common citrus may not be as harmless as it seems (at least to our feline friends) by reading on!
Can cats eat oranges safely?
Cats aren’t supposed to eat oranges. Dr. Ochoa told The Dodo that oranges are toxic to cats because of the citric acid and essential oils they contain. This is true of all oranges, including mandarin, blood, and navel varieties.
The orange itself is dangerous for your cat, as are the peel, seeds, and leaves. These parts of the fruit are more dangerous than the flesh because they contain even more volatile essential oils.
Cats should also avoid eating lemons, limes, and other citrus fruits.
Dr. Ochoa explained that limonene, linalool, and psoralens can all be found in citrus fruit oils. Everything here is poisonous to cats.
In addition, cats produce their own vitamin C, so they don’t need to eat vitamin-C-rich foods like oranges.
Thankfully, most cats hate the smell of citrus and won’t touch citrus fruits or oils. In some cases, citrus oils are used to keep cats away.
Are oranges poisonous to cats?
Unfortunately, yes; cats should not eat citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, lemons, or limes.
Why are oranges bad for cats?
Essential oils found in oranges (particularly d-limonene and linalool) are toxic to cats, as are the oils found in most citrus fruits. It can cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms in your cat (which we’ll get into below).
The (modest) good news is that felines typically avoid oranges because of their pungent odor.
Have you ever pondered why citrus is commonly used in anti-scratch repellants? This is not coincidental; felines have a physiological aversion to citrus. They’re not just unappealing (excuse the pun), but also dangerous.
Symptoms if your cat ate an orange
Your cat will probably just get sick if he eats a little bit of orange flesh.
Dr. Ochoa also mentioned that the acid could lead to gastrointestinal problems like vomiting and diarrhea.
However, Dr. Ochoa warned that if he gets his hands on an entire bag of oranges, more severe symptoms, including neurological problems, are possible.
If your cat eats an orange, keep an eye out for these symptoms:
- Ailments of the skin
- Light sensitivity (or photosensitivity)
Symptoms of citrus toxicity
There are a few warning signs to look out for if you suspect your feline friend has eaten an orange (or any other citrus fruit). Among these are:
- Ache in the guts
What to do if your cat eats oranges
If you’ve caught your cat in the act, it’s important to seek immediate veterinary attention. They can ask you about your cat’s symptoms and offer advice based on that information.
Can cats eat orange peels?
This is another major faux pas. Cats should avoid eating any part of an orange, as even the seeds and the leaves can be harmful. Because of the concentrated essential oils found in the peel, it is the most poisonous part of the fruit.
(Not to mention, the peel of most fruits is often hard and tough in texture, which is never great for feline tummies).
Other foods that aren’t safe for cats
So, can I feed my cat oranges? A resounding “no” to that idea; please don’t feed your feline friends anything with citrus. Unfortunately, cats can’t eat a wide variety of foods, not just oranges. These include, but are not limited to:
- Raisins and grapes.