You might love it, but can cats eat coconut? Is this strange fruit safe for your feline friend and is it as safe for adults as it is for kittens?
Can Cats Eat Coconut?
Cats are curious animals and most of them will show interest in whatever it is you’re eating. So, if your cat comes sniffing at the table when you’re diving into that coconut cream pie or about to eat shredded coconut right out of the bag, you may wonder if cats can eat coconut?
In most cases, your cat can eat coconut if they like the taste of it. Coconut is not “toxic” for cats. Coconut is however one of those foods that while it seems healthy, it is high in fat content. When it comes to cats, the fatty content of coconut, also known as MCT or medium chain triglycerides, is not good for them in large amounts.
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How Much Coconut Can Cats Eat?
Because of the fatty content or MCT, your cat should only eat coconut on rare occasions. Limiting the amount of coconut your cat eats will help prevent the buildup that can lead to hepatic lipidosis.
The buildup of MCT can cause hepatic lipidosis, a disease in cats where the liver holds too much fat. Hepatic lipidosis in cats is harmful and can be life threatening. The high fat content of coconut can also cause hyperlipidemia or pancreatitis in cats.
Are Other Forms of Coconut Good for Cats?
There are many forms of coconut, so if cats can’t eat too much coconut meat, what about coconut oil, coconut water, or coconut milk? Are any of these different forms of coconut good for cats to eat?
Coconut water for cats should be avoided because it is mostly sugar and many cats have trouble processing sugar properly. Some pet owners believe that feeding a cat coconut oil occasionally can help moisturize skin and give cats a healthier, shinier fur. But again, be cautious in overfeeding any form of coconut because of the high fat content.
Can Cats Eat Coconut Milk?
If you’ve ever owned a cat you probably know that cats don’t really handle dairy milk as well as those old movies might have led us to believe. Although cats love milk, their bodies just don’t handle it well and they often will experience diarrhea. It’s up to you as the pet owner to keep cats away from dairy milk.
For a cat that loves dairy milk, you may wonder if coconut milk is a healthier option for your cat? While coconut milk may not give your cat diarrhea, the fat and calories in coconut milk are such that they will cause similar issues for cats as the coconut meat. In addition, there are quite a few calories in coconut and its derivatives. Feeding your cat coconut or other forms such as coconut water, oil, or milk on a regular basis can cause obesity and other issues for your cat.
Overall, there is no need to panic if your cat happens to eat a piece or two of coconut but you will find there is rarely a need to feed your cat coconut intentionally.