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Can Cats Have Coconut – The Meat That’s Not Meat(80)

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by Cindy Smith

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Coconut is one of the world’s most beloved and widely used ingredients, as it is both delicious and nutrient-rich. It’s full of healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

It’s the meat that’s not meat, so it’s a terrific option for vegetarians and vegans alike. But can cats have coconut? 

Your cat can be the most persuasive little creature regarding tasty treats. So you may be tempted to share some coconut delight with them. Read on to determine if you should answer your cat’s meows with a yes or no.

Table of Contents

What Is Coconut Made Up Of?

Coconut meat contains many nutrients humans need, including proteins, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. Many believe coconuts can help boost the immune system and reduce inflammation. Not to mention, they don’t have loads of carbohydrates.

For each serving of coconut flesh, one consumes 33 percent fat, 15 percent carbohydrates, and 3 percent protein. Other minerals in coconut meat include copper, selenium, phosphorus, manganese, vitamin B complex, potassium, and iron.

Can Cats Have Coconut?

(cat examining coconut)

The simple answer is yes. Cats can eat small amounts of coconut. Avoid large quantities, as your cat risks developing digestive issues. The coconut should not get served as something other than everyday food. Here’s why.

Animal Protein

Animal protein comprises the essential amino acids required by cats. Coconut, however, is plant-based and does not contain enough of these essential amino acids.

Therefore, they may be at risk of insufficient protein in their diet. Also, your cat is a born and bred carnivore. They need a high-protein, animal-based diet to thrive.

Animal Fat

Four of the primary fatty acids cats need are linoleic acid, omega 3 and 6, and arachidonic acid. Coconut contains minimal amounts of these fats. Cats need animal fat to help promote healthy skin and fur. 

They use animal fat as a secondary energy source, too. Also, coconut meat contains high saturated fat, which can lead to obesity in cats if given in large amounts.

Little to No Carbs

Cats thrive without carbohydrates in their diet. Coconut meat contains 15 percent carbohydrates, which is far too much for a cat’s diet. Domesticated cats don’t spend much time running around or hunting like their wild counterparts. Excess carbohydrates can cause the onset of diabetes in cats.

Vitamins and Minerals

Cats require vitamin D, E, A, and B complex. They also need trace amounts of minerals such as copper and zinc to stay healthy. Coconut meat is not a great source of these vitamins and minerals. The best food sources for these minerals are liver, fish, kidney, and meat.

What Happens if a Cat Eats Coconut Too Much?

cat sitting between warm tea kettle and coconut

(cat sitting between a warm tea kettle and coconut)

Let’s look at what happens when your cat consumes too much coconut.

Stomach Upsets

Coconut is high in fiber and has a thick, coating texture which can cause stomach upset or diarrhea. In many cases, they become reluctant to eat food, which can deplete their energy levels. Over time constant coconut treats can lead to weight loss, irritable bowel syndrome, and constipation.

Potassium Imbalance

Coconut is high in potassium. Too much potassium can lead to an electrolyte imbalance, causing your cat’s heart to beat irregularly. High potassium levels can also cause kidney failure or hyperkalemia. Hyperkalemia increases the chances of urinary tract infections, dehydration, and lethargy.

Weight Gain

The saturated fats in coconut can cause your cat to lose weight. If left unchecked, it can lead to obesity. Watching your cat’s diet and portion size is important, as too many treats or snacks can jeopardize their health.

Hepatic Lipidosis

Hepatic lipidosis is a liver disorder that can occur when cats consume too much fat. It causes fatty deposits in their livers. Hepatic lipidosis can be fatal if not treated. Signs of the disease include vomiting, depression, disorientation, and loss of appetite.

Hyperlipidemia

Like humans, cats can suffer from high cholesterol if they eat too much-saturated fat. It can lead to cardiovascular disease and the possibility of sudden death.

Pancreatitis

Coconut can also cause pancreatitis in cats, an inflammation of the pancreas. Symptoms include fever, trouble breathing, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

Are Coconut-Based Products Safe for Cats?

kitten standing on top of coconut

(kitten standing on top of coconut)

In moderation, cats can have minimally processed coconut-based products. When using coconut-based products, consider those explicitly made with cats in mind. Below are some non-toxic products that are safe for cats to consume:

Coconut Yogurt

Coconut yogurt has healthy amounts of potassium, calcium, and magnesium. These three minerals are essential for cats’ overall health and digestion.

Coconut Oil

Small amounts of coconut oil work wonderfully for homemade cat treats. Coconut oil is a superb source of healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals cats need.

Coconut Water

Veer away from coconut water. The potassium levels are too high and can be harmful to your cat.

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is another product to avoid. It contains high amounts of fats and sugars, which can lead to obesity in cats.

Coconut Ice Cream

Coconut ice cream functions as a frozen coconut milk treat. Avoid it as it has high sugar and fat content.

Coconut Flakes

Boil coconut flakes to create a light, nutritious treat for cats. This is a great way to give them vitamins and minerals without worrying about over-indulging and making them sick.

at-home consultation with kitten

(at-home consultation with kitten)

Wrapping Up

Overall, when it comes to cats and coconut, moderation is key. Too much can lead to health problems such as weight gain, stomach upset, and even liver disease. Avoid coconut water, milk, and ice cream as they contain too much sugar and fat. 

Check with a veterinarian if you want to add coconut to your cat’s diet. Follow their advice and keep an eye on your pal’s food intake. It will ensure that your cat stays healthy and happy.