You must have encountered your feline’s begging eyes while eating a mouth-watering coconut cream pie. But, unfortunately, no one is immune to them. So, this raises the question – can cats eat coconut?
Can Cats Eat Coconut?
Cats can eat coconut in moderation as it is not poisonous to them. However, too much coconut can be unhealthy for cats.
Sharing coconut shavings is very different from giving your kitty a slice of coconut cream pie. If you want to feed her some coconut, give her the most natural, unprocessed form available. The added sugars and other artificial ingredients are harmful to cats.
As mentioned above, coconut is not toxic to cats. It can be given as an occasional treat if your kitty develops a liking for it. Studies show cats can have small amounts of coconut, provided you can deal with the risk of diarrhea.
Most cats like the flavor of coconut, so feeding some of it will definitely make your feline happy! However, be careful of the oil present in the coconut. It may lead to digestive problems in your cat, causing diarrhea. So don’t be too generous with the coconut shavings.
Plus, if you feed your cat coconut too often, it can cause many serious health issues. Coconut is rich in fat. If your kitty consumes too much fat, it can lead to fatty liver disease, pancreatitis, and hepatic lipidosis – which are tough to treat and potentially fatal.
So, with coconut and countless other food, moderation is key.
What About Coconut Milk?
Coconut milk is made from shredded coconut meat. It acts as a substitute for cow’s milk in our diet.
Coconut milk is lactose-free. Cats have lactose intolerance; their bodies don’t produce the necessary enzyme to break down lactose. So, it is very natural to wonder if your cat can drink coconut milk without any health detriments.
Coconut milk has a high content of fat as it is made from coconut meat. Thus, it causes similar health complications in your feline as coconut shredding. You can feed her in small quantities if the risk of diarrhea doesn’t bother you. But overdoing it will cause serious damage to her health.
Can Cats Digest Coconut Milk?
Cats are obligate carnivores; meat provides all the required nutrients they need. So, their bodies don’t produce the enzymes needed to digest anything else. Kittens can digest lactose as they feed on their mother’s milk. But as they grow older, they wear off, and their bodies stop producing lactase.
Coconut milk, even though lactose-free, is rich in fats and oils, which is too much for a cat’s digestive system. Moreover, it is a plant-based protein, which makes it more difficult for a cat to digest.
Giving coconut milk regularly can lead to obesity in your furry friend. Obesity opens up a window for other health issues such as –
- Lameness and arthritis
- Skin problems
- Liver disease
- Decreased lifespan
Coconut milk can also cause dehydration and has a laxative effect, causing loose stools.
What To Do If My Cat Has Eaten Too Much Coconut?
If you think your fluffball has eaten too much coconut, keep an eye on her and read up on the symptoms of pancreatitis and fatty liver disease.
The symptoms of pancreatitis include –
- Loss of appetite
- Low body temperature
- Mass in cat’s abdomen
The most common and noticeable symptom is loss of appetite. If your cat doesn’t eat anything for a whole day, immediately consult with your vet.
The symptoms of fatty liver disease are the same as pancreatitis, along with a few additions –
- Rapid weight loss
Take note that both the diseases can have other causes than excessively fatty diets.
So, in conclusion, can a cat eat coconut? Yes, they can. But just like most human foods, you should control the amount your cat eats. Too much coconut will cause serious health problems in your feline. So, avoid feeding her coconut water and milk.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can My Cat Drink Coconut Water?
Coconut water doesn’t contain too much fat, unlike other coconut products. But it is rich in potassium. So, it is beneficial to humans as it lowers blood pressure. But that amount of potassium is not healthy for cats.
Coconut water may lead to hyperkalemia in cats – a toxic remnant of potassium that acidifies your kitty’s blood, impacting heart function. This is why ASPCA advises not to feed it to your fluffball.
Can My Cat Eat Coconut Ice Cream?
Coconut ice cream is the same as coconut milk. The only difference is that the former has a thicker consistency due to less water in it. So, avoid giving your kitty coconut ice cream.
Is It Okay to Feed My Cat Coconut Yoghurt?
If your cat cannot digest yogurt made from cow’s milk, unsweetened coconut yogurt is a good substitute. It supplies calcium and probiotics but lacks the protein that its cow counterpart provides.