Can Cats Eat Oranges? Everything You Need To Know

Is it safe for your furry friend to chow down on some orange slices? Read on to find out the answer and keep your feline happy and healthy.
Can Cats Eat oranges?

Can Cats Eat Oranges? An In-Depth Look

Cats, as obligate carnivores, have very different dietary needs compared to humans. Their nutritional requirements include protein, taurine, and certain vitamins, which they obtain primarily from meat-based sources. Oranges, however, do not contribute to meeting these requirements and can be harmful to cats.

Understanding a Cat's Diet

Obligate Carnivores

Cats are classified as obligate carnivores, meaning they require a diet that is primarily composed of animal-based protein sources. They cannot obtain all the essential nutrients they need from plants or fruits, like oranges.

Nutritional Requirements

Cats have specific nutritional requirements that must be met for them to maintain optimal health. These include protein, taurine, essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. While humans can obtain nutrients from a wide variety of sources, cats rely mainly on animal tissue to meet their nutritional needs.

Why Oranges are Harmful to Cats

Citrus Essential Oils

Oranges contain citrus essential oils, such as limonene and linalool, which can be harmful to cats. These essential oils can irritate a cat's digestive system, causing vomiting, diarrhea, and other signs of distress. In addition, exposure to these essential oils may cause neurological signs in cats.

Citrus Acids

The high levels of acid found in oranges can also irritate a cat's digestive system. This irritation can result in discomfort and potentially lead to gastrointestinal issues.

Seeds, Stems, and Peels

Orange seeds, stems, and peels can pose additional risks to cats. These parts of the fruit can be difficult for cats to digest and may cause blockages in their digestive tract or pose a choking hazard.

Allergic Reactions

Some cats may also have an allergic reaction to oranges, which can cause skin irritation, itching, and other issues.

Signs of Citrus Toxicity in Cats

If your cat consumes an orange or is exposed to the essential oils present in the fruit, watch for the following signs of citrus toxicity:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive drooling
  • Nervous signs, such as tremors or disorientation

Safe Alternatives for Cats

Commercial Cat Treats

It is recommended to offer commercial cat treats as a safe alternative for your feline friend. These treats are specifically designed to meet your cat's nutritional needs and pose no risks to their health.

Homemade Treats

Small pieces of cooked, unseasoned meat or fish can also be given to cats as treats. These options provide protein and the necessary nutrients for their diet without posing potential harm.

Foods to Avoid

Avoid giving your cats the following human foods, as they may be harmful to their health:

  • Chocolate
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Raisins and grapes
  • Avocado

What to Do If Your Cat Eats an Orange

Monitoring Your Cat

If your cat consumes an orange or any part of the fruit, it is important to monitor their behavior for any signs of distress or illness. Keep an eye on them for several hours following the incident.

When to Contact a Veterinarian

If your cat exhibits any signs of citrus toxicity or experiences continuous gastrointestinal discomfort after consuming an orange, contact your veterinarian immediately for guidance on how to proceed.


In conclusion, although oranges may not be toxic to cats, they are not a suitable or beneficial addition to their diet. To ensure the health and well-being of your cat, stick to cat-specific treats and foods that support their nutritional needs.

Medically Reviewed by Nauman Zaheer, DVM

Nauman Zaheer Ghumman, DVM is an MPhil qualified Licensed Veterinary Doctor with a wide range of academic writing experience, including published work in an International Veterinary journal and educational material for Pet owners.

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