can cats eat oranges

Can Cats Eat Oranges? Is It Safe?

From baking to cooking and the classic glass of juice that many people have with their breakfast, oranges have been an important part of our diet for many years. But not everything that we put in our mouths is safe for our cats. 

Oranges are rich in a variety of nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C and calcium, as well as plenty of fiber. 

Despite the vitamins, you must never feed your cat oranges for one crucial reason; oranges contain psoralens which can be extremely toxic to cats.

This also goes for other citrus fruit such as grapefruit, lemon, clementines, or mandarin oranges. Even pomelo fruit is dangerous for cats. 

Orange seeds and orange peel also contain oils that are poisonous to cats.

Citrus Fruit Toxicity In Cats

Oranges, as well as some of the other citrus fruit contain a very strong essential oil called psoralen that’s toxic to cats. 

A cat that eats an orange piece can develop digestive distress not just because the fruit is acidic but also because the psoralen irritates the mucous membrane on the inside of the animal’s stomach. 

cat sniffing orange

Another effect that citrus toxicity can have on cats is depression and photosensitivity. 

So, even if your cat doesn’t develop any digestive symptoms but goes and hides behind your furniture a couple of hours after eating an orange, you should take your feline friend to the vet. 

Can Cats Drink Orange Juice?

No, orange juice can cause most of the same health issues that whole oranges can lead to. 

Fortunately, most cats hate citrus fruit, so they are not going to be that interested in taking a drink out of your orange juice in the morning. 

Symptoms To Watch Out For

The most common clinical signs that your cat can show after eating even a small piece of orange involve the digestive system.

Here are some of the typical symptoms that you might be able to notice:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Photosensitivity
  • Lethargy

The severity of any clinical signs depends on how much orange your cat ate and the specific parts that she swallowed. The peel can cause many more problems. 

While it’s very uncommon for a cat to die because of citrus toxicity, this is a dangerous fruit. However, most cats recover so long as they receive treatment in a timely fashion.  

What To Do If Your Cat Eats Some Orange

Even before any clinical signs begin to show up, if you’ve seen your cat eating an orange slice or some orange peel, you should take your feline companion to the vet as soon as possible.


Try to remember just what specific orange part your cat ate so that you can tell the veterinarian. The peel has more citrus essential oil, so it is more toxic compared to the fruit flesh. 

The vet will first assess your cat’s health status and decide on a course of action from there. 

Sometimes, your cat might not show any symptoms for several hours, which could mean that the orange hasn’t caused a health problem. 

Cat-friendly Fruit & Vegetables

First of all, cats are not genetically designed to eat fruit, veggies, legumes, or greens like we, humans, need to.

They are obligate carnivores, so their diet should mostly consist of protein and fat, with minimal amounts of carbohydrates. 

But if your feline friend has been experiencing digestive distress in the form of constipation, you might have to make an effort to add some fibre to his or her diet. 

The safest fruit that a cat can eat is pumpkin as it is rich in fibre, low-calorie, and it doesn’t contain any grains. That is why this is a common ingredient in grain-free cat food varieties, which are actually healthy for your feline friend. 

Other types of fruit and veggies that your cat can have range from peaches and blueberries to pears, watermelon, papaya and bananas (in small quantities). 

If your cat really is a fan of fruit, you can give her or him some only as an occasional weekly reward. Needless to say, the quantity has to be as low as possible. 

How To Prevent Your Cat From Eating A Piece Of Orange

Cats don’t feel a lot of appeal toward oranges. Fortunately, since they have an amazing sense of smell, the scent of an orange, whether a cut or a whole one (so the way the peel smells), can significantly put them off. 

Besides, the peel also contains a natural oil with an extremely potent smell, which yet again deters cats. 

However, if your feline friend seems to have a fascination toward oranges, you can never be too safe. Keep your oranges stored, and don’t leave them out on the kitchen counter.

Your cat can also suffer from citrus fruit toxicity when climbing orange trees — the fruit might fall off, so your pet could mistake it for toys, especially small oranges like clementines. 

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