Most humans enjoy dates: dried dates such as medjool dates, provide natural sugar, are often considered a healthy substitute for chocolate, and are generally a healthy high-fiber fruit for everyday use.
Cats, however, may not enjoy them as much as we humans might, because (spoiler alert!) they cannot taste sugar.
Cats do not process human foods in the same way as humans do. The last thing we want is a pet with an upset stomach.
As a cat owner, you are probably here because you would like to find something to spice up your cat’s diet, some kind of sweet treat perhaps, which leads us to the question: can cats eat dates?
Yes. Cats can eat dates but it is not advisable to include them in your cat’s everyday diet.
Read on below to find out why dates are better left on your plate, and what alternatives you can add to your cat’s food.
So Can Cats Eat Dates?
Yes, cats can eat dates, nothing deadly will happen. Dates are not toxic for your cat, but you should always choose the healthiest option for your beloved furry friend.
Dates are not poisonous for cats, but there are more health risks than health benefits connected to them. In most cases, however, there are no long term health problems.
Cats can eat dates, but rarely, and definitely not every day.
Should Cats Eat Dates?
Dates are safe for your cat, but if they are not necessary, cats are better off without them. Cats can, but should not, eat dates.
It is better to avoid giving dates to your cat, since they do not get any real benefit from eating them. To avoid potential health problems, it is better not to feed them dates at all.
Do Cats Like The Sweet Taste?
Newsflash! Cats cannot taste sweetness. For most humans this would be devastating, but for cats it is not, they just have no concept of the taste of sugar.
A cat’s tongue does not have the necessary sweet receptors through which they could taste it or distinguish it from other tastes.
So, if a cat eats a date – it won’t experience the sweetness that we enjoy..
As far as dried dates go, cats cannot taste them at all. It is clear that cats definitely do not crave this fruit, so you should not bother adding it to their diet. This will help avoid any unnecessary health risks.
Dates contain very high sugar levels, which is bad for your cat’s health, even if they cannot taste it..
Health Benefits Of Eating Dates
Dates are not generally good for your cat, however there is one benefit. Dates can be a useful natural laxative for your pet.
If your cat is having digestive issues such as constipation, a small nibble of a date could do them some good. Still, you need to be very careful, since it can lead to more problems for your cat’s digestive system.
If they have too much of this fruit, cats can vomit, have very loose stool, or even prolonged diarrhea.
So is it worth the risk? Don’t think so. It is much better to see your vet for advice if the cat is constipated.
Health Risks Of Eating Dates
Besides the high level of sugar in dates, there are also some dental concerns. Cat’s teeth can start decaying under the sticky dates.
Cats will chew on things to clean their teeth, but dates are much sweeter and stickier than their natural foods and so they can cause damage.
When tooth decay starts to happen, cats cannot inform you of it. Holes will form, and by the time you notice it, tooth decay deteriorates and the cat may even lose teeth.
Another risk from feeding your cat dates is the choking hazard. Cats can easily choke on dates. The skin, or even the fleshy part of the date, can get stuck in the cat’s throat since it is very sticky.
Extra tip: Some cat owners might also give marshmallows to their cats. But they are also sticky, similar to dates. To learn more about whether marshmallows should be given to cats, read Happy Whisker’s article on can cats eat marshmallows.
Apart from all of that, the cats may not expect the large seed inside the date (on which humans can even choke) and this can also pose a threat to the throat or airway..
Of course, there are also calories to consider. Calories are an issue for humans and for cats. Dates are high-calories and, as is already mentioned, have high sugar content.
Nutritional value of an average sized date is 67 k/cal, total fat 0.03g, sugar 4.5g, magnesium 3mg, potassium 47m, dietary fiber 0.6g, total carbohydrates 5.33g + proteins + vitamins.
Indoor cats only need 200 calories a day, while outdoor cats need around 300. A single date approximately contains 67 k/cal.
You might also find this article interesting: Can Cats Eat Whipped Cream? This Is What You NEED To Know
What Happens If Cats Eat Dates?
Maybe your cat ate a date? And now you’re wondering if it is safe for cats to eat dates at all?
There is no need to panic, not every cat is the same. Your cat will probably not even show any side effects.
Still, you should pay close attention to your cat for the rest of the day, inspect their stool, check if there is any discomfort, tummy ache, vomiting, and if something is not quite right go and visit the vet. Better to be safe than sorry.
Again, your cat can eat dates, but as it is with any type of food, you should always know the limit.
How To Serve My Cat Dates?
Your cat will usually be interested in anything you eat, so if you simply cannot help but give your feline friend a bit of your food, in this case a date, here’s the best way how.
Take a very small piece of the inside part of the date (it has to be organic, as commercially produced dates contain allergens), chop it and mix it with water so it’s not so sticky anymore and then serve it to your cat.
They may or may not be interested in it, each cat has different preferences. You can add this mixture to cat food as well, if you really want your cat to try dates, or you want to add calories to their daily intake.
Do not forget to remove the seed and peel the date before feeding it to your cat.
The best option, however, would be to avoid dates completely so you can avoid any potentially harmful side effects.
Instead, serve your cat an alternative such as a bit of celery, or some other human food which you know is good for them.
Suggested Read: Can Cats Eat Honey? Health Benefits And Side-Effects
Other Human Foods Cats Can Eat
Below is a list of other human foods and dried fruits that you can mix in your cat food or give to your pet as an occasional treat. Fresh fruit is, as for humans, a much better option.
It keeps them hydrated and it is filled with vitamins and antioxidants. However, not all fresh fruit is good for your cat. Here is a list of the best possible options:
– apples (dried and fresh)
– bananas (dried and fresh)
– dried apricots
– dried peaches
– dried mangoes
– dried pineapples
– dried plums
– occasional asparagus
These are all safe alternatives to dates, of course when used properly and in moderation. Always know the limit when feeding your cat.
Some foods you should never feed your cat include prunes, figs and raisins.
To wrap it up, can cats eat dates? Yes, they can, but it is preferable not to feed them dates in order to avoid any unnecessary health issues.
If you are looking for a natural diet, you should bear in mind that cats are obligate carnivores.
I am sorry, but your cat’s diet will probably always be meat-based, as this is how mother nature intended. We don’t want to weaken our feline friend’s immune system.
Instead of dates, use some of the alternative options as an addition to cat food.
Now that you know all about dates, what do you think – Can Cats Eat Mangoes?