Dates are tasty and sweet. They serve as a light snack or dessert that humans enjoy. They are rich in fiber and are nutritious. Interestingly, despite been a sweet treat, dates are known to help with weight loss, hence humans can eat up to 6 dates per day if they want.
As a cat owner, you may have been tempted to feed some dates to your cat especially if they have shown any interest in your bowl of dates. Dates have a lot of health benefits for humans such as being a source of antioxidants. But can the same be said for your feline? The answer is no. Cats do not benefit from dates as humans do.
That said, dates are not toxic or harmful to cats. If you catch your cat munching on one of the dates you left on the counter, it is usually nothing to worry about. However, keep reading this article to know everything there is about feeding dates to your cat.
Can Cats Eat Dates?
Yes, cats can eat dates. Dates are not toxic to cats. Cats can eat one or two dates once in a while. In case you missed it, cats can't taste the sweetness of dates, so they are sure not coming for your bowl because they like the sweet taste. Rather, cats can become obese if they eat too many dates because of the sugar content. Cats can eat dates but only in small amounts.
Are Dates Good For My Cat?
Unfortunately, dates are not good for your cat. The health benefits that humans enjoy from dates do not apply to cats. This is because dates have the potential to do more harm than good to cats.
Cats do not need to eat plant-based treats but if you choose to introduce dates to their diet, you can give them one or two dates occasionally. It should not become a staple part of their diet because it can cause various health complications. More on that coming up next.
What Are The Harmful Effects Of Feeding Dates To Cats?
It is already established that dates are a sweet treat. And no, your cat doesn't mind the sweetness but more importantly, your pet does not need that extra load of sugar. Dates are not harmful to cats but are not healthy for them, either. Below are some of the effects of feeding dates on your cat:
- Laxative effect
Dates can have a laxative effect on your feline, especially if consumed in excess. This laxative effect can be in the form of vomiting or loose stooling. If your cat shows any of these symptoms after eating dates, you should stop feeding it to them but if it persists, take them to your vet immediately.
- High sugar content
Most fruits contain high sugar content and dates are no exception. Dates are sweet and contain a high sugar content. This can spike up your cat's blood sugar level and may eventually lead to heart complications. Also, your cat may become overweight from the excess sugar.
- Dental issues
Dates can get sticky while eating them. When we eat dates, we can try to maneuver the sticky pieces and remove them from our teeth. Also, brushing our teeth ensures that no sticky date piece is left cleaving to our gums. But cats do not brush their teeth, so when they eat dates, it sticks to their gums and they may not be able to remove it. The more dates they eat, the more accumulated pieces on their gums. This is bad because it can lead to dental decay.
- High-calorie count
Cats only need about 200-250 calories per day. A single date contains about 67 calories. So if your feline were to eat 5 dates a day, they would have gone past their daily requirement. This can cause health complications and overweight issues too. It's advisable to feed only one or two dates to your cat per day because dates do not supply all the nutrients your cat needs.
- Choking hazard
Tooth decay is not the only problem your cat can run into by feeding on sticky date pieces. Your cat can choke from trying to swallow the flesh of the fruit. Also, do not give your cat dates that still have its pit in it. Cats can choke on the hard pits of dates because they are not chewable. Make sure you feed only the flesh of dates to your cat.
How Do I Feed Dates To My Cat?
Cats may not be able to chew the skin of dates easily. This causes the skin to stick to their gums and teeth. It is better to serve dates to cats without the skin.
To soften the flesh of dates, you can boil them in plain water. Then, cut up the flesh into bite-size pieces and serve to your feline.
Cats can choke on the pits of dates. Never give your cat a whole date to eat on its own. They may choke from trying to swallow it whole. When serving dates to your cat, make sure it is free of the hard pit.
That said, dates do more harm than good to your cat. The ideal way is to feed them not more than two once or twice a week.
Can Kittens Eat Dates?
While cats can safely eat one or two dates occasionally, dates are a no-no for kittens. Kittens have a delicate digestive system, compared to the average adult cat. A kitten's stomach will not be able to handle the likely adverse effects of dates.
Kittens need to feed on a complete and balanced diet so they can grow properly. The commercial cat food that is specially formulated for kittens is what they need. Dates can pose a threat to the health of your kitten, hence should not be given to them at all.
Dates are not outright toxic to cats but they can cost your cat if given in excess. Cats can eat dates but it should be limited to two or fewer per day.
To get healthier snack options for your cat, you can discuss with your vet.