As a carnivore, your feline’s digestive system does not process fruits and vegetables effectively. In fact, your little furball needs meat and animal protein to survive. Therefore, if you love tangerines, you must ask, can cats eat tangerines?
Even though your feline is an obligate carnivore, he/she can eat tangerines. This citrus fruit is not poisonous or toxic for your little feline. However, you should not add tangerines or other citrus fruits to your cat’s diet as a permanent meal.
Keep reading to learn why your cat can consume only a small amount of tangerines at a time:
What are Tangerines?
Let’s start with the basics: what are tangerines? Tangerines are the 2nd largest cultivated citrus fruits out there. Just like oranges, this fruit also comes in orange color. However, some variations do have shades of red or green, but they are not that common.
Furthermore, compared to oranges, tangerines are less round and a bit smaller. They are sweeter and comparatively easier to peel as well. For humans, this citrus fruit is loaded with health benefits. It can boost your immune system, protect you against cancer as well as heart diseases.
In this article, we will learn the health benefits and health issues of tangerines to your cat.
Cats and Tangerines
As tangerines do more good than harm, you can offer these citrus fruits to your feline in moderation. Keep in mind that you should not consider it as a permanent meal for your feline. If consumed in larger volumes, tangerines can cause some serious health problems to your cat.
When it comes to food, we always recommend consulting your vet. You should never alter your little furball’s diet without the consent of your vet. If tangerines are causing negative effects on your cat, visit your veterinarian and follow their instructions.
Do Cats Even Like Tangerines?
Before knowing the possible advantages and disadvantages of tangerines, you should establish, does your cat even like tangerines? Well, no two kitties are the same. While some felines like the taste of tangerines and citrus fruits, others might simply hate it.
There is a common myth that if you put tangerines on a Christmas tree, it’ll keep your feline away. This is because the primary sense of a cat is the sense of smell. Cats have impressive noses. Their sense of smell is 14 times better than humans.
As citrus fruits, including tangerines, have a strong and bold smell, it is a possibility that your feline will simply avoid it. However, if your cat likes its smell, you don’t have to worry because there are several health benefits of tangerines to your cat.
Are Tangerines Good for Cats?
For humans, tangerines are considered a healthy fruit. It can protect us from a lot of diseases, including cancer. However, as your little friend is a carnivore, it’s rational to ask, can cats eat tangerines?
Well, there are several health benefits of tangerines to your feline friend, such as:
Tangerines are loaded with vitamin C that can boost your cat’s immune system. This vitamin also protects your cat’s body from different bacteria and viruses by acting upon T-cells. Furthermore, tangerines also enhance phagocytes – a process in which the immune system ingests harmful compounds and bacteria.
High in Antioxidants
Tangerines are also rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants play an important role in reducing damage to cells. These naturally occurring, important nutrients allow your feline to maintain a healthy body by minimizing the oxidative process of cells.
Did you know cats can also get depressed and stressed? Well, if your feline is suffering from these neurological conditions, just offer him/her some tangerines. The antioxidants available in this citrus fruit have the ability to reduce oxidative stress.
Loaded with Nutrients
Other than vitamin C and antioxidants, the tangerines are loaded with essential nutrients as well. It contains potassium, vitamin A, protein, fibers, carbs, and calories that your little furball needs to survive. Additionally, this citrus fruit does not have any fat in it. So, you don’t have to worry about your cat gaining weight.
Citrus Poisoning in Cats
The most serious health issue related to cats and tangerines is citrus poisoning. Citrus poisoning is not that rare in cats. If your feline has consumed a citrus fruit and is showing different symptoms, such as weakness, diarrhea, drooling and vomiting, he/she may be suffering from citrus poisoning.
Citrus poisoning occurs in cats due to psoralens, linalool, and limonene. These compounds are found in citrus fruits, including oranges, tangerines and lemons. The common clinical signs of citrus poisoning in cats include:
- Red-Colored Gums
- Difficulty Breathing
- Dilated Pupils
- Heavy Panting
My Cats Eat Tangerines – What to Do?
First of all, not every feline likes tangerine. However, as cats are curious by nature, your little furball might ingest it out of curiosity. If your cat has eaten a small volume of tangerines, you don’t have to worry. Tangerines are not severely toxic for cats.
However, they still contain some compounds that can cause citrus poisoning in cats. If your little feline friend is showing the signs of citrus toxicity, immediately contact your vet. If not treated at the right time, citrus poisoning can cause some severe health damage.
Healthier Alternatives to Tangerines
Tangerines do more good than harm. They offer healthy nutrients, a better immune system and more. However, they can still lead to some health issues, including citrus poisoning. Therefore, you should not offer tangerines to your feline on a regular basis.
Instead of tangerines, stick with healthy fruits, such as:
At some point in our life, we all have asked, can cats eat tangerines? Fortunately, tangerines are not poisonous for your cat. If your cat eats some tangerine, it won’t cause serious health problems.
However, as most citrus fruits have compounds that can lead to citrus poisoning, your feline might suffer from vomiting and diarrhea. If the symptoms are severe, visit your veterinarian and follow their instructions.