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Can Cats Eat Watermelon? Managing Felines and Fruit

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No summer picnic is complete without the perfect dessert. And what beats a healthy serving of fruit? Especially everyone’s favorite: watermelon. It’s sweet – without packing on the sugar – and hydrating. And you can enjoy it so many different ways! Best of all, it’s a nifty treat you can share with your dog. But when your cat jumps up on the table, what do you do? (Or maybe I should say picnic blanket, as most cats aren’t supposed to get on the table) Can cats eat watermelon? Yes, but in LIMITED amounts. While an occasional taste of watermelon won’t hurt your cat, it’s also not doing your feline many favors.


The scientific name for watermelon is Citrullus lanatus. It’s in the same plant family as other water-containing gourds: cucumber, pumpkin, and squash. (I know, everyone forgets they’re fruits. But if you find seeds inside, it’s a fruit – by definition) The original watermelons got their start in south Africa. People found seeds and art depicting watermelons in the tombs of the Pharaohs in Egypt. It’s such a well-respected fruit, it gets its own special day every year: August 3rd.

And it’s no wonder. They’re pretty fantastic health foods. Chow down on 1 cup of this bright red dessert, and you gain SO MANY daily benefits:

  • Calories: 40
  • Magnesium: 3%
  • Phosphorous: 1%
  • Potassium: 3%
  • Thiamin: 4%
  • Vitamins:
    • A: 4%
    • B6: 3%
    • C: 12.5%

Plus, that brilliant shade of red? It’s full of phytonutrients. These natural chemical compounds help watermelons resist bacteria, fungi, and viruses. And, of course, that single cup of watermelon contains 92% water (hence, the water in the name). Cats aren’t the best drinkers out there. So when cats eat watermelon, they get natural hydration they may miss out on when they avoid the water bowl.

Can Cats Eat Watermelon?

All of those nutrients and vitamins sound great, right? And cats DO need those important elements in their diet. This is why it’s okay when cats eat watermelon. The boost of water into their system can often help keep their kidneys – and bladder – happy. You still want to convince your kitty to head for the water bowl, though. And you need to mind the AMOUNT of watermelon your feline’s snacking on. Because while it isn’t toxic, it’s also not an ideal kitty treat.

Cautions When Cats Eat Watermelon

For a happy, healthy cat? A nip or two of watermelon won’t hurt. Odds are the average feline WON’T dive into your dessert plate with the same enthusiasm as their canine partner. But you don’t need to panic if you see cats eat watermelon now and then. Do you need to take some precautions, though? Absolutely. While safe, watermelon still holds some concerns.


Watermelons have sugar. ALL fruits contain natural sugars (which are better than added sugars, but they’re still sugar). It’s a lower amount than some fruits (8.5g in one cup), but for cats? That’s high. Diabetic cats should NOT eat watermelon. The insulating fiber helps prevent the sugar from spiking in an ordinary bloodstream, but that’s still too much for a compromised pancreas to cope with. And frequent treats with sugar may predispose a cat toward diabetes. Their systems aren’t designed to cope.

Make sure cats eat watermelon infrequently


The other problem is the amount of carbohydrates in watermelon. When cats eat watermelon, they get hit with around 10.5g per cup. That’s a lot of carbs. Not for a human or a dog, but a cat? Cats only need 10% of their diet to come from carbohydrates. Stretched over a day, that’s NOT much. They need a protein focus to satisfy their obligate-carnivore stomachs. And watermelon? It only has 1g of protein. The math doesn’t skew in your cat’s favor. Signs your cat’s stomach ISN’T agreeing with the excess carbs?

  • Vomiting/diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain


Most people know that black fruit seeds contain trace amounts of cyanide. Now, you have to consume around 400 seeds to feel those effects – if you’re a human. For an animal the size of a cat? The amount is smaller. To avoid potential problems, ALWAYS remove the seeds before allowing cats to eat watermelon. Now, the white seeds you note in seedless watermelon? They don’t contain the same levels of cyanide.

However, the other seed issue is a potential choking hazard. Cats have smaller throats, and the seeds can end up lodged within. Your best bet is to remove ALL seeds – regardless of color – before you offer any cuts of watermelon. Then you keep everyone safe and sound.

Safe Ways for Cats to Eat Watermelon

You know you need to take out the seeds (and skip the rind – your cat’s teeth will never chew through that), but how best for cats to eat watermelon? You don’t want to overdo the sugar or carbs and end up with a kitty with an upset tummy. Luckily, cats aren’t too picky about their summer fruit preparation.

Make sure you wash the watermelon first. DON’T add anything on top. (Yes, it’s trendy to sprinkle on salt or feta – for US. Cats don’t need the sodium or dairy!) Then cut into bites about the size of your cat’s kibble. And that’s it! The perfect feline fruit treat! You CAN freeze slightly larger pieces for your cat to chew on, but place them on something your cat can sit with. It’ll take them longer to gnaw away.

Cats and Fruit CAN Mix

Can cats eat watermelon? Yes – in moderation. As low as the sugar count is, it’s still high for felines. And the carb count is WAY too high to make the treat a regular summer option. But the extra hydration is a nice bonus, especially in cats that aren’t drinking much. And you can’t deny the punch of nutrients. So as long as you trim away the seeds and keep the portions small, you’re in the clear.

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Andria Kennedy

Andria Kennedy

Andria grew up in a pet-friendly household. On weekends, the family made trips to zoos and aquariums in the area. So it wasn’t a surprise when she gravitated toward a career with animals.

After six years working among the background operations at the Philadelphia Zoo, she gained a unique insight into the veterinary world. The vet staff provided her first lessons in terminology, the identification of medical equipment, and glimpses of radiographs (x-rays). She also enjoyed plenty of opportunities to talk with everyone, including the veterinary technicians. And they offered an alternative for someone NOT interested in surgical pathways: Namely, their course of study.

Andria enrolled at Harcum College. Philadelphia boasts two programs for vet techs, but only Harcum works with the Ryan Veterinary Hospital and New Bolton Center (University of Pennsylvania’s small and large animal facilities, respectively). Harcum’s vet tech students receive six months of hands-on teaching and experience alongside Penn’s vet students.

With the opportunities and connections available with one of the top veterinary schools, the decision was easy for her to make.

New Bolton Center: Large Animal Medicine
Andria ended up trudging through snow up to the knee and shivering in subzero temperatures during her winter semester, but she wasn’t disappointed with her choice. New Bolton provided a thorough grounding in large animal medicine. A horse-lover as a child, the experience renewed those old emotions.

And a few memories stood out and remained to this day:

  • Standing alongside a Clydesdale and feeling TINY
  • Holding the reins of a horse galloping at top speed on a treadmill
  • Nursing tiny foals through the first days of their life

Ryan Veterinary Hospital: Small Animal Medicine
Veterinary students can legally work at a practice while studying. Andria took advantage of the opportunity, gaining “real life” experience while attending class. It provided a slight advantage when she entered her three months at the small animal hospital.

However, as Ryan Veterinary Hospital offers treatments unique to the veterinary community, she continued to gain valuable experience. For instance, she spent a day working alongside their Chemo Team. The positivity of everyone she encountered – staff, clients, and patients alike – left a lasting impression.

Additional standout moments included:

  • An afternoon spent with the head of the feline kidney transplant program
  • A day serving as the anesthesia technician in their new radiation unit
  • Recognizing a radiograph of a giant elephant shrew (applying her previous zoo knowledge)

Emergency/ICU Veterinary Technician
Accompanying her Associate of Science in Veterinary Technology, Andria received a passing score on the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). The two led to her certification/license as a veterinary technician – first in Pennsylvania (CVT) and later in Virginia (LVT).

Emergency medicine appealed to her from the beginning. The flux of ailments, injuries, and even species kept her mind sharp at all times. The knowledge required to handle cats, dogs, exotics, and even wildlife is highest in an ICU setting. When a vet tech never knows the patient’s stability coming back to the treatment area, skills and the ability to respond in an instant always stay in peak shape.

With treatments evolving at a constant basis, Andria sought out the best Continuing Education opportunities. She attended the International Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society (IVECCS) Conference whenever possible. This allowed her to discuss the latest wound treatments, medications, and advancements in diet formulations.

Cardiology Veterinary Technician
With the increased knowledge and experience, Andria noticed gaps in her abilities. Her grasp of cardiology remained at the basic level. She wanted to boost her skills and understanding as much as possible, improving her patient care. When an opportunity within the practice arose to move into the cardiology department, she accepted.

She sharpened her ability to read ECGs, recognizing arrhythmias of every type. Speaking with the cardiologist, she learned to read echocardiograms, picking out the most common disease processes. And, courtesy of her position in the department, she took in everything she could regarding the grain-free diet concern.

And throughout her ten-year career, she built her store of client interactions. She learned stories of heartbreak and hope. In the middle of the night, she shared touching and humorous conversations. Every moment taught her to engage with people. And the skill blended into her writing ability, capturing the interest of pet-lovers everywhere.

Check out Andria’s LinkedIn here

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