Can Cats Have Coconut?
I love food. I’m also deep in a diet for our upcoming wedding. As my pathetic attempt for sweets a few nights ago, I grabbed shredded coconut. The kittens of course, wanted to see what I had, and it made me question this again, can cats have coconut? Are coconuts safe for cats? Can my cat have coconuts?
If your feline friends are anything like mine, they have to at least SEE and SMELL whatever you are eating. This little flaky feline treat, is no different. I do know that some cats absolutely love coconut. They love the texture. The flakes are soft yet crunchy.
Luckily, unlike other treats that cats might try to sneak away from their doting owner, like chocolate or grapes, coconuts are not toxic to cats. So feel free to give your cat some coconut if you really want to!
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. If you remember back to Can Cats Eat Honey? Cat are mainly carnivores, and coconut is a great source of protein, as much as we all wish.
Can cats eat coconut flesh? What about the coconut flesh? Normally, 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!
Other Ways for Cats to Eat Coconut
There is also coconut water, coconut milk, and coconut oil, so even picky cats can have some variety if they want.
Despite what so many people believe, adult cats shouldn’t drink too much cow milk.
Just like humans, they can become lactose intolerant as they grow up. This was also why I had mentioned in the post, Can Cats Eat Almonds, that almond milk is a great alternative as well.
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 also a viable substitute. My Chloe, LOVES milk. But it makes her super gassy. I have noticed a huge different switching her to almond milk and coconut milk.
Of course, she only drinks said milk after its out of my cereal bowl. But one cat issue at a time, right?
One thing to remember, like almond milk, coconut milk is rich in fat and sugars. So you don’t want to give your cat too much at one time as they have issues digesting it, as I mentioned earlier.
If you want to make this milky treat for your cat yourself, just soak shredded coconut in hot water until it turns creamy.
Then remove the coconut flakes and you and your cat are set! Just make sure its not too warm for your feline friend when they go to drink it
One fun treat you can do is add small portions of coconut milk into their 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. (I have it on my list to try this, but I have not made a point to do that yet. I will report back if my cats are in love!)
Can cats eat coconut oil? By now, we know the answer to, “can cats eat coconut” and the answer is sure! In moderation, or course! This leads us to the more interesting question, what else could coconuts be useful for?
This is where we enter my wonderful coconut oil. If you’re like me, then you know that coconut oil is so versatile. You can add it to food, put it in your hair, I even put it on my face! The possibilities are endless.
What about for cats? Of course they can eat! Mine will attempt to lick it out of my hair! (Gross, I know). You can either give it to them with a small spoon to taste for a sweet treat, or add it to their wet food as I mentioned earlier.
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.
Coconut Oil for skin and fur care
So by now, you all know that I pretty much soak myself in coconut oil. I have it in my lotions, I give myself coconut hair masques, I even will put it on my face during the dry winter season.
Did you know you can also use it safely on your cats?! GAME CHANGER!
Coconut Oil For Tangles
You can use coconut oil to soften your cat’s fur and loosen any tangles it may have. This is incredibly helpful for people who have longed haired cats that are prone to matting.
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.
Coconut Oil for Irritated Skin
When cats become stressed, they develop different coping mechanisms. Some 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. (Part of the reason I love to use it on my face).
Ear Mites and Coconut Oil
Before we dive too far into this idea. I want to do a disclaimer. If your cat has ear mites, the absolute best thing you can do is take them to the vet and get medication. I am all for homeopathic remedies, but you don’t want your cat to be in discomfort without knowing it.
However, if you have to wait a few days to get a veterinarian appointment, but want to comfort your kittens ear mite problems, coconut oil is a great solution.
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.
Then, once you are able to go to the vet, they can verify if you have in fact killed all of the ear mites, or prescribe medicine if there are still some pesky few hanging around.
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 treat even though your cat may want to eat it with each meal. Not only can this cause obesity in cats, but it can dangerous on their health.
You need to be even more careful when it comes to kittens. 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. You can read more about substitutes for mothers milk in my article, How To Bottle Feed a Kitten. Regularly receiving too much coconut in any form is a bad idea. It can cause hepatic lipidosis, hyperlipidemia, or pancreatitis.
If your cat displays any symptoms of the following health issues, stop feeding your cat coconuts immediately and consult a vet.
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. If you notice your cat having diarrhea or throwing up without hairballs, stop the coconut oil and keep a close eye on your kitten.
Simply put, hyperlipidemia is high cholesterol. Just like when we get in too much trouble for eating too much bacon and fatty foods, your cat cat get high cholesterol. The effects of high cholesterol are much more dangerous to cats than to humans, including seizures and problems with the nervous system. If you have your cats cholesterol checked during most vet visits, or only give your cat a little bit of coconut oil, then they shouldn’t be a problem.
Pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas. Symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, fatigue, racing heart, and difficulty breathing. This one should be one of the more obvious ones.
So, can cats eat coconut for real?
The simple answer is yes, cats can have coconut, as long as it is in moderation.
However, you may want to reconsider feeding coconut to kittens, cats with sensitive stomachs, or cats with diabetes, liver disease, or kidney disease.
You just don’t need to be adding any additional stress on your feline friend’s tummy if it is already sensitive.
To be honest, I really debating even putting those symptoms and health problems into this post.
I pride myself on giving you guys answers about your pet without scaring you. To me, seeing these scared me. But the reason I want to include them is to keep your pet safe.
It is totally okay for your cat to eat the variation of coconuts, but in moderation. The last thing I want to do is tell you that you can feed your cats coconut, and then someone push it too far and their cat suffers from it.
If you keep things in moderation and watch for the signs of the diseases above when you do give them these treats, you should be in the clear. No fear here!
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. So, stick with the meat they need, and add some coconuts here and there for a fun surprise.