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Can Cats Eat Oranges? (Are Citrus Fruits Safe For Cats)

Posted in: Cat Health - Last Updated: May 10, 2022 - Author: Mayurii Rajvanshi
Posted in Cat Health 
Last Updated: May 9, 2022  
Author:  Mayurii Rajvanshi
can cats eat oranges

Got yourself a little copycat? Every time you eat an orange or have a glass of orange juice, does your cat beg for it? Cats always want to eat what their human is eating. 

It becomes tricky when you're eating citrus fruits like oranges.

They're definitely good for your health. Oranges and orange juice are packed with vitamin C,  which helps absorb iron from the food you eat. 

Vitamin C also strengthens your immune system and has antioxidants that reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. 

Plus, they taste great! 

Humans need vitamin C from their food because they can’t create their own. But that’s not the case with cats. 

Your feline friend can synthesize its own vitamin C, so it doesn’t need it much from its diet. 

While cats don’t need to eat oranges, should you give them the fruit as a treat?

Can Cats Eat Oranges? (in short)

Can cats eat oranges? In a word, no!

Oranges are toxic to cats due to the essential oils and psoralens found inside citrus fruit The fruit, the juice, the seeds, and the peel are all toxic to cats.

Keep your cat well away from all forms of oranges.

Can cats have oranges

Are Oranges Safe For Cats

Can cats have oranges?

Unfortunately, your cat cannot eat oranges. There are some essential oils in oranges that can be harmful to your cats.

These oils will cause gastric issues and digestive problems to your furry friend. 

Experts also suggest the psoralens present in oranges can be toxic for your cat. They react adversely to oranges as they don’t have the ability to process phenolic compounds.

Orange peels are also toxic for cats. 

They have many essential oils, including Myrcene, Limonene, Citronellol and Alpha-pinene, among others.

The peel is far more dangerous for your cat than the actual fruit itself as most of the essential oils are present there. 

The strong odor you get from oranges also comes from the peel. In fact, orange peels is used as a deterrent against felines, as they’re concentrated with so many essential oils. 

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) actually states that oranges are toxic to cats due to the essential oils and psoralens found inside citrus fruit

The fruit, the seeds, and the peel are all toxic to your cat. Even the bark of the orange tree is toxic for cats. 

Basically, your cat should stay away from oranges in any form whatsoever.

Of course, not all cats react the same way to eating oranges. Some cats have no reaction at all, while others end up with diarrhea and vomiting.

If your cat does not show any ill effects upon eating oranges, it doesn’t mean you should continue treating them to the fruit. Your cat may suffer citrus poisoning. 

Even if that’s not fatal, it's very discomforting to your fur baby. 

Oranges have no special nutritional benefits for cats. If anything, they’re packed with a lot more sugar than your cat needs. It’s not ideal for cats to have so much sugar in their food. 

They also don’t need the vitamin C that comes with oranges.

Are Citrus Fruits Bad for Cats in General?

Cats shouldn’t eat oranges or other citrus fruits. These include:

  • Oranges
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Grapefruits
  • Satsumas
  • Clementines
  • Tangerines
  • Pomelos

Blueberries and strawberries are okay in moderation, just be sure to clean them first and cut off the stems and leaves. 

Watermelon is a decent alternative too. Just not in excess!

Are oranges safe for cats

Do Cats Like Oranges?

Cats are not big fans of oranges. They don’t like the sharp odor coming from the fruit. If anything, cats leave the area where there is even a hint of orange. 

The fruit is also used to spray on carpets where cats claw frequently. It works as a deterrent to the felines. 

The reason why cats hate the smell of orange is because of the overload the fruit has on their sensory system. 

Cats have a keen sense of smell. While they don’t have the range of distance that dogs have, they can smell a lot more of the individual odors than canines. 

Some cats may be curious about the fruit, especially when they’re still kittens and don’t know any better. 

This could especially be true when they see you enjoying the fruit and want to give it a shot. 

If they do try an orange, it’s very rare that they’ll ever want to get near one again.

Signs of Citrus Poisoning in Cats

If your cat ended up eating an orange slice, its effects may not be apparent immediately. 

This is especially the case when it's just a small bite of the fruit. But if your feline friend has consumed a bit more orange than warranted, it will show a number of symptoms. 

Diarrhea and Vomiting are sure signs that your cat may have eaten something it’s not supposed to. 

If it has eaten the orange, the cat’s biological system is trying to get rid of the toxins, which results in vomiting and an upset stomach causing diarrhea. 

If the orange has made contact with your cat’s skin, there are other symptoms that will show up. 

For instance, your cat will show signs of allergic dermatitis. This looks different on different cats. Mostly, this allergy manifests in the form of excessive itching as well as hair loss. 

Should You Go to The Vet?

You may be wondering at what point you should go to the vet

If you know for a fact your cat has eaten oranges, it’s best to take them to the vet immediately. You should also monitor your cat for any symptoms for the next 24 hours. 

There are no tests to see if there is citrus poisoning. Your vet might do an endoscope that uses a thin tube to look into your cat’s stomach. 

If the oranges are not yet digested, the vet will be able to see them in the endoscope.

Do cats like oranges

Citrus Poisoning Treatment for Cats

If your cat is showing signs of allergic dermatitis, then your vet will bathe your cat to remove all the toxins from the skin. 

If there is any inflamed skin, a corticosteroid will help soothe the issue. 

In case your cat has eaten any oranges (lemons, limes, grapefruits, etc included) and your vet will try to induce vomiting. 

The vet will give your cat hydrogen peroxide solution, which is usually followed by activated charcoal. 

If the vet does induce vomiting, it could cause dehydration issues for your cat. So, you’ll need to monitor them for the next few days and make sure they’re drinking enough water. 

If that’s not working, you should take your cat back to the vet so they can put your fur baby on an IV drip.

Can Cats Eat Oranges: The Verdict

Can cats eat oranges? 

Categorically, NO.

It’s very unlikely that your cat will eat oranges on its own. But if they do consume it, keep track of the symptoms of citrus poisoning. 

While citrus poisoning is not fatal, it’s still something you’ll need to get your cat checked by the vet to make sure there are no issues. 

Keep your cat away from oranges as much as you can. Simples.

About the author

Mayurii Rajvanshi takes pride in being a content ninja, who is an avid animal lover. She has fostered numerous cats and developed in-depth knowledge of feline facts so she can write about cat health and cat care to help dispel myths with authentic information. Her aim is to encourage responsible pet parenting and cat adoption.