Are you worried about your furry friend getting sick from eating too many dates? Are they harmful to kittens? And are there any consequences and risks? You’re here for the question that’s bugging you right now: Can cats eat dates?
As a pet owner, you may be tempted to feed your furbaby some small treats like dates and you may wonder whether or not they can damage his health. Well, rest assured, dates aren’t toxic, at least in small quantities.
Yes, they contain high amounts of both dietary fiber and natural sugar, but your cat should be fine as long as you don’t overfeed him with dates.
Dates have a lot of nutritional benefits – not just for cats but for humans as well. They can help improve your immune system and also support strong muscle development. And the same applies to your little friend as well.
However, be careful and keep in mind that not everything that is good for a human being is also good for cats. There are certainly a few exceptions like garlic and onions that are considered to be highly poisonous to felines.
And this is the reason it’s so important to know what your cat can and can’t eat. After all, it’s easy to grab a pack of chips while you’re home watching a movie, but that doesn’t mean you should give it to your cat the second he jumps onto your lap.
Their metabolism and dietary needs are different from those of an average human. Even those snacks that you know are healthy for them should be cautiously selected, and don’t forget to do your research or simply Google it before feeding them anything out of the ordinary.
Can cats eat dates?
Sometimes when you see your four-legged friend looking at you with those mesmerizing brown eyes, it’s very difficult to resist giving them everything he wants. You just want to spoil him as much as you can! But too much snacking can send your cat to the vet very quickly, and we all know how much that’ll cost you.
Regarding dates, they’re very rich in sugar and high in calories, which isn’t that convenient for cats. Usually, felines need approximately 200 to 250 calories per day – that is if your cat weighs 10 to 12 pounds. If you give him one or two dates, that’s already 35 to 40 calories of their total diet.
Cats are obligate carnivores, which means that their nourishment consists of animal protein and not plant-based food. Therefore, many animal doctors will agree that it’s for the best to stick with high-quality cat food and resist the urge to feed them anything besides that.
Do cats even like dates?
It may come as a surprise to you, but unlike humans, cats don’t have sweet receptors, which means that they can’t have a sweet tooth or pick up sweet tastes. But it’s very difficult to determine whether or not they actually like dates. After all, every feline is different. Just like people, some love them and others are disgusted by them.
However, the best thing is to keep the dates away from your feline companion for his own safety. Forget about them altogether as he won’t be able to tell the difference between a sweet and a salty snack.
Are there any risks or consequences of feeding cats dates?
As I mentioned in the beginning, dates aren’t toxic and have many various health-boosting ingredients, but that doesn’t mean your cat should eat them on a regular basis. Here’s why:
1. Dates are calorie-dense
Dates are a high-calorie food, which isn’t as suitable for a feline as you may think. As already mentioned, a feline’s daily calorie requirement is about 200 to 250, depending on its weight.
And since dates are calorie-dense food, they can fill your cat’s stomach very quickly without any nutritional benefit. Your kitty requires a high protein diet, and dates are mostly sugar and carbs.
2. There is a risk of choking
You must be very careful when feeding your cat dates because inside of them, there’s a hard, sticky pip which is the main culprit. You have to safely remove it because your cat may attempt to eat it.
In some cases, when he is unable to swallow the seed, it may cause choking and gagging. And I’m pretty sure that you’ll do anything to protect your fluffy lap-monster, am I right? Maybe you should consider learning the Heimlich maneuver for cats?
Another threat could be the date’s skin, which is another no-go for cats. It has the ability to glue itself to a cat’s palate or gums, causing irritation and discomfort. If you see your pet gagging or coughing constantly, then it could be that the skin has stamped itself near the throat.
3. Dates are natural laxatives
The most important thing to keep in mind when giving your cat dates is that they are natural laxatives that don’t have the same consequences on cats as they have on humans. If you consume dates regularly, your overall health will improve, but other than that, it won’t have any major effect on your body, except you’ll have to use the bathroom a bit more than usual.
On the other hand, cats will react differently. Even one or two dates can cause loose stools, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, and stomach pain.
This is why it’s highly recommended to talk to your veterinarian before making any unnecessary changes to your cat’s diet.
But let’s say you catch your cat eating dates every once in a while? What should you do then? Well, in that case, stay calm. And don’t call the vet right away because there’s no need for you to worry.
Every animal is different and there’s a possibility your four-legged fluffball really loves them.
That said, if your cat has any constipation problems, don’t think that you’ll solve them with dates. In fact, feeding them to your pet can lead to further digestive issues.
4. Dental health issues
As a mindful pet owner, you’re probably brushing your cat’s teeth every day, am I right? If you’re not doing it, then you should definitely start right now.
Cats’ teeth, just like humans’, are susceptible to cavity issues. You have to remember that dates are approximately 70-80% sugar, so it’s almost impossible to not have any dental health problems when consuming them in substantial amounts.
Sugary foods, including dates, can support the decay process in felines, thus damaging the cat’s overall oral health. Things can even be trickier and messier since brushing their teeth is a challenging endeavor.
How to react in case your cat eats a date?
So, you saw your floof sneaking out of your bedroom at night and caught him/her eating dates in the kitchen? What should you do next? Call the doctor and pray to God that your cat will survive? Or go back to sleep and act as if nothing ever happened?
As I previously mentioned, cats can eat dates as long as you feed them small amounts of them as an occasional snack. In those quantities, nothing bad will happen, except for your cat feeling thrilled that you love them that much.
If, however, he consumes large amounts of dates on a daily basis, that could lead to many health issues such as temporary digestive problems, tooth decay, or weight gain.
Also, feeding your diabetic cat dates or any other kind of sugary fruit is strictly forbidden. Unfortunately, if that ever happens, then be ready to deal with all sorts of other problems and expect more severe side effects. Then, calling your vet may be your best and only solution.
Another possibility is that your cat is allergic to dates. Even though this is fairly uncommon, it’s not impossible and could be life-threatening. Don’t think that you’re a cat expert if this is the case – immediately call your vet to seek professional advice.
How can cats eat dates safely?
First of all, I don’t recommend feeding your cat dates because they’re not part of his regular diet. But if you think that your kitty craves sweet things and decide to give him a snack or two, then there are a couple of safety measures worth considering.
First, you have to make sure that the dates of choice are organically grown and don’t contain any harmful ingredients that may negatively affect your little fluffball. Commercially produced dates contain sulphur dioxide, which is an allergen and can cause lung issues such as asthma.
If you must, go for plain dates that are free from added sugars and any other type of sweeteners.
Before you feed it to your cat, remove and safely dispose of the pip. Also, you’ll have to peel the fruit. Finally, when you’ve done that, then you can let your furry angel enjoy his treat, but not before you’ve chopped the date into several small pieces.
Don’t skip any of these steps if you want to prevent your cat from choking or gagging. Also, you need to keep the amount of dates to a minimum. Having one too many can lead to serious health issues.
Great alternatives to dates for cats
So, you’re a pet owner and a fan of mixed trails just like me. Then you’re probably wondering which dried fruits you can give to your cat and which are best kept outside of your cat’s reach.
Some of the cat-friendly dried fruit include apricot, peaches, apples, pineapples, cranberries, bananas, and plums. However, you must be careful because preparation is important when feeding them to your cat. These fruits must always be plain and well-prepared.
On top of that, they need to be organically grown and can’t contain any artificial sweeteners as they may do more harm than good.
Unfortunately, some dried fruits can be toxic even in small amounts and should never be served to cats. The most popular ones are raisins, sultanas, prunes, and figs. These fruits can cause serious digestive problems or, in some cases, kidney failure.
Feed them only those types of dried fruit you know are completely safe and won’t lead to any adverse health issues. Otherwise, you should stay away from them and treat your cat to something more exciting and delicious.
Can kittens eat dates?
Can cats eat dates? As adults, yes, in small amounts. But can kittens eat dates? NO! You should never feed them dates because they only drink their mother’s milk and nothing else.
Wait until your cat grows older and starts eating solid food, and only then can you try giving him small pieces of dates. But even then, limit it to only once or twice a week.
That’s because kittens have a more sensitive digestive system during their development stage. Including “junk food” in their diet can only cause serious complications to your little one.
After all, dates are meant for humans and not cats. Take care of your small furbaby during his early development stage and provide him with regular kitten food rather than trying to introduce anything new.
It’s important that you take your kitten regularly to the vet and track his growth. As time passes, you can add more stuff into his diet, but don’t forget to do your research first.
Can cats eat dates? On paper, the answer is yes. In practice, though, it’s not the best idea to feed your cat dates because there are barely any nutritional benefits.
If you want to treat your feline to a tasty snack, then opt for something that he’s used to eating and that provides nutritional value such as lamb, fish, or chicken. And even then, keep an eye on how he reacts to those types of food.
Always, and I can’t stress this enough, talk to your vet and inform yourself before making any notable changes in your pet’s diet.