Can Cats Eat Dates: 4 Surprising Facts You Should Know

can cats eat dates two women feed a cat fruit

Q – Can Cats Eat Dates?

A – Yes, it’s okay for cats to eat dates as they aren’t toxic to cats. But it’s not recommended since cats are obligate carnivores and meat should be the main staple of their diet. Plus, there are health problems that can arise if cats eat dates.

For most of us, our cats are like our children so it’s natural to worry about what your cat can and cannot eat. One of the most common questions we hear is what can my cat eat?

There are many human foods that cats can eat and some that are toxic to them. So, can cats eat dates? Let’s explore this question in more depth and after reading this article, you’ll understand why it’s not the best idea for cats to eat dates and the surprising facts you need to know.

But first, what is an obligate carnivore?

gray cat beside a bowl of dates

What is an Obligate Carnivore?

While some animals like dogs are omnivores, all cats are obligate carnivores that depend on some nutrients found only in meat to survive. Their digestive system is not made to digest plants well.  

Some of the nutrients cats need to stay healthy can only be found in meat like some fatty and amino acids and vitamins. . The primary amino acids cats needs are niacin and taurine. They also need vitamins B1, B12, and A as well as the fatty acid arachidonic.

Plus, cats need more protein in their diet compared to humans and dogs. Cats need these nutrients for a healthy immune system, skin, and fur. Without these them, cats are at risk for poor growth, inflamed gums, weight loss, neurologic disorders, eye disease, and blood clotting disorders.

orange cat eating on floor out of bowl

My Cat Ate a Date, Is That Bad?

While our feline friends should eat dates, they are not toxic to them so your kitty should be safe. There are many health benefits for humans but with cats, the negative issues outweigh these benefits. 

Dates are high in calories and cats don’t need more than 200 to 250 calories per day. Humans can have a lot more calories than cats – like 10 times as many. So, a sugary date doesn’t affect us as much, but the extra calories add up fast for felines.

Feeding your cat dates can cause them to gain weight as just one has approximately 67 calories. 

Even though dates aren’t the best food for cats they aren’t on the list of toxic foods for cats like grapes and raisins that can cause kidney failure in cats. Dates still pose a significant health risk to cats.

Here are some surprising facts related to the question – can cats eat dates?

can cats eat dates two cats eating out of bowls

Can Cats Eat Dates? 4 Surprising Facts

Here are some surprising facts about felines and dates and feeding cats in general. 

1. Cats Don’t Have Sweet Receptors in Their Tongue

Did you know that cats don’t have sweet receptors so they can’t taste sweetness? Yup, a scientific study showed that cats had no response to several sugars so your furry friend can’t taste a sweet treat like we do. 

So, the sweet taste of dates won’t particularly interest your kitty. Of all food items, you can feed your cat, dates just aren’t the best. 

2. Dates Pose a Choking Hazard to Cats

Because of their soft texture, dates can be a choking hazard to cats because they can stick in their throat. Consider other treats made for cats or give them meat because cats need plenty of protein. 

3. Dates Can Cause Dental Health Issues

The soft smooshy texture of dates can cause dental health problems for your cat. Plus, the fact that they have higher sugar levels than other human foods cats can eat doesn’t bode well for your cat’s dental hygiene. 

They are around 70 to 80 percent sugar – one date can contain approximately 16 grams of sugar. That’s not a big problem for humans, but for a small animal, that’s a lot of sugar. They can cause tooth decay in cats. 

4. Dates Act as a Laxative

However, the biggest problem with cats eating dates is that even a couple of them can cause diarrhea in cats because of the laxative effect. 

And loose stools and an upset stomach aren’t the only digestive problems that dates can cause in cats. Eating dates could even cause vomiting in cats and in the most severe cases, they can mean a visit to the vet.

Dates are a great natural laxative for humans. But giving dates to cats is not a good solution to your cat’s constipation issues because dates can lead to more digestive issues. Always consult your cat’s veterinarian for any health or nutrition advice.

So, are there any fruits that cats can eat, and do they have any health benefits for your kitty?

grey cat eating out of bowl

What Fruit Can Cats Eat?

Cats can actually eat some fruits. Some fruits safe for cats include: 

  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Strawberries
  • Mangos
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries
  • Watermelon
  • Cantaloupe
  • Blueberries
  • Pineapples

But there are definitely fruits you shouldn’t feed your cats like citrus fruits. They can cause gastrointestinal distress like an upset tummy and even skin irritation.

Citrus fruits are on the list of foods toxic to cats because they contain essential oil extracts such as linalool and limonene and psoralens.

white cat eating banana dark grey background

What Foods Do Cats Love?

Cats love meat! You can feed them cooked beef, turkey, chicken, and even lean deli meat.

But don’t feed your kitty any raw meat and raw eggs because they can contain bacteria like E. coli and salmonella that cause food poisoning. Also, a rare issue with avidin, the protein in raw eggs could interfere with your cat’s ability to absorb the B vitamin biotin. 

Can Cats Eat Expired Meat?

Like raw meat, cats can make your cat sick but it’s not as risky for cats to eat expired meat as it is for people because of the diet of their wild ancestors. 

can cats eat dates two cats eating out of bowls

Final Thoughts on Can Cats Eat Dates?

While dates aren’t the worst thing you can feed cats, they aren’t recommended because of the digestive problems they can cause as well as other health risks. And since cats can’t taste anything sweet, dates just aren’t the best choice of treats for them. 

That’s why cat food is the best thing to feed cats as it’s made specifically for them. Before feeding any human food to your cat consider their natural diet, how sensitive your pet’s stomach is, and when in doubt, contact your veterinarian for advice.

Can cats eat dates and other fruit – Yes!

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