As a pet owner, you always have to look out for your furry little friends. You might want to treat them to something a little nice every once and awhile.
After all, what’s the harm in a small treat? But as many pet veterans probably already know, certain foods pack a big punch that might send your little pal to the vet and cost you a bit of cash too.
That’s why it’s important to know what your cat can eat and what he or she cannot. The dietary needs of animals can differ vastly from that of your average person.
What might be normally even healthy to a human can be toxic to a cat.
Even healthier treats need to be carefully selected and you should always do research before feeding your cat anything unusual.
So where do dates fall in this equation? Are they are safe option for cats to consume?
So Can Cats Eat Dates?
[alert type=”success” icon-size=”hide-icon”]Yes, dates are in no way toxic to cats. Which means that in theory a cat can consume dates without you having to rush them to the vet.[/alert]
But does that mean they should?
While dates may not be inherently toxic to your feline friend, it’s important to consider that toxicity isn’t the only factor you should take into consideration when tossing a treat.
There are tons of other factors such as nutritional information, calorie count, and even the biology of your cat.
While dates may indeed be healthy for humans to consume they are not recommended for cats.
To explain why, we’re going to have to take a closer look at dates and the nutritional effects they have on the feline body.
The Nutritional Effects of Dates on The Feline Body
1. Dates As A Laxative:
Probably among the most important things to consider about dates is their property as a natural laxative.
For the human body this isn’t a major problem. We can consume dates regularly with only minor effects of maybe having to use the bathroom a bit more than normal.
👉 But for cats this is very different. Even one or two dates can cause a cat to have loose stool and digestive problems. This can result in vomiting along with severe diarrhea, and in extreme cases can even send your cat to the vet.
Now that doesn’t mean that you need to panic if your cat has consumed dates – every animal is different – but it would be worth keeping an eye on them.
You also shouldn’t view dates as a potential solution for constipation problems as this can lead to further digestive issues.
Like always, you should consult with a veterinarian for any dietary or health advice concerning your cat.
2. All Those Calories:
Another factor to take into consideration are yes indeed, calories. Just like humans, cats have their own dietary requirements.
While a human is recommended to consume around 2000 calories a day, cats are only supposed to take around 200 – 250.
As you likely already know, that’s not a lot and calories tend to add up fast. Although this may surprise you given how small they are, a single date has about 67 calories.
Which means that even feeding your cat one date can push his or her calorie consumption towards unhealthy levels when combined with other meals.
3. Dates As A Choking Hazard:
At the core and center of every date is a pit. For humans consuming the pit isn’t all too difficult and we typically know what to expect.
But for a cat, that’s not true… Cats can literally bite off more than they can chew if they eat a date too quickly.
This can result in your cat choking or gagging on the pit, being unable to swallow. And that’s never a good situation to be in either for you as the pet owner or your furry friend.
4. Dental Health Concerns:
Just like humans, cats also have teeth and with teeth comes dental responsibilities.
For a human, consuming a date doesn’t pose too much of a health risk, but for a cat that’s not exactly true.
Dates are roughly 70 – 80% sugar and a single medjool date contains around 16 grams of sugar on its own.
This can cause tooth decay within cats that just isn’t worth the risk. Especially when you realize that they can’t even enjoy the flavor of dates in the first place…
5. Cats Can’t Taste Dried Dates:
What’s wrong, cat got your tongue? Yes, you read that right. Your feline friend can’t even taste the sweet flavor of dates.
This is due to a lack of sweetness taste receptors on a cat’s tongue. Because of this dates aren’t even something that cats would naturally seek out to consume on their own.
They may of course express interest in what you are consuming, but that doesn’t mean they will enjoy it. In fact, that would be impossible.
Far better to reward your furry friend with something that they can enjoy and with far less health risks.
Dates or No Dates: A Conclusion
To sum this all up, yes your cat can eat dates. They are not inherently toxic to cats but you might be better off finding an alternative.
While dates certainly have health benefits they are far outweighed by the negatives, at least as so far as cats are concerned. Save the dates for yourself as a good healthy side snack and treat your cat to other pleasures.
And if you’re set on giving your cat a treat there are always better options that they can actually taste, such as beef or lamb. If you do want to give them fruits, there are some they can consume such as asparagus or celery.
Always make sure to do your homework before throwing your cat a treat and to consult with a veterinarian before having your pet make any big dietary changes.
This can save you and your pet quite a bit of trouble and enable you to ensure that he or she live a healthy and happy life.