Can Cats Eat Papaya?

By Laura GarcĂ­a Ortiz, Veterinarian specialized in feline medicine. Updated: February 28, 2024
Can Cats Eat Papaya?

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Cats can eat papaya, but it is not a food they will need to eat regularly. Papaya contains many beneficial nutrients for humans and is noted for being a particularly sweet tropical fruit. Unfortunately, not all the benefits of papaya for humans can be applied to cats. This is partly due to the nutritional needs of felines which differ from our own. Sugars are a complex carbohydrate which should not be eaten in large quantities for cats. Whether your cat will enjoy eating papaya is another consideration we need to make, since all cats have their own tastes and preferences.

At AnimalWised, we delve deeper into this issue by asking can cats eat papaya? Moreover, we look at the nutritional needs of cats to understand whether papaya is good for cats, as well as how to give it to a cat in a healthy way.

You may also be interested in: Can Dogs Eat Papaya?

Can cats eat papaya?

Since papaya does not contain any compounds or elements which are considered toxic to cats, cats can eat papaya. There are other fruits and vegetables cats cannot eat because of compounds within them that are toxic to a cat's organism.

Papaya has a high level of moisture, making it good for hydration. This can be beneficial to the animal on a very hot day as a cold piece of papaya can both hydrate and keep the cat cool during summer. Unfortunately, the fruit is also rich in sugars and other carbohydrates. This is something that is not good for cats due to their nutritional needs.

Cats are obligate carnivores. This means they require protein from animal sources to survive. It does not mean they cannot eat other foods. It simply means their diet should be based on animal protein and that any other food is supplementary. If a cat consumes a lot of fruit and no meat, they will not be nutritionally satiated and will develop serious problems.

Whether your cat will enjoy papaya is up to their own tastes. Many cats will enjoy eating this fruit as a tasty snack, but many others will simply ignore it when placed in front of them. We do need to be especially careful with sugar-rich fruit such as papaya. Eating too much of this fruit is bad for them because sugar in a cat's system can negatively affect their organism. We examine this further in the sections below.

Benefits of papaya for cats

The great benefit of papaya is its water and fiber content. As previously mentioned, its high water content means it can help prevent dehydration in cats. The fiber content of papaya is beneficial for intestinal transit, something which can be particularly good for cats with constipation. Papaya also promotes the dissolution of fats, supports colon cleansing and allows the breakdown of proteins because it contains papain, a proteolytic enzyme that promotes these actions.

Another benefit of this fruit is that it protects eye health. It do so by preventing macular degeneration and the appearance of cataract in cats. This is due to its lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene content. Papaya is also rich in antioxidant substances such as vitamin C, carotenes and flavonoids, compounds that prevent premature aging and reduce free radicals. This protects cell integrity and the overall health of the cat.

Although it contains large amounts of sugar, it is also an important source of vitamins such as B complex vitamins (vitamin B1, B2 and B3), vitamin A and vitamin D, and minerals such as potassium, magnesium, sodium, phosphorus, iodine, iron and zinc.

How much papaya to give to a cat

Despite its great health benefits, cats cannot eat large amounts of papaya. As explained above, the main diet of a feline should be based on protein of animal origin. To avoid nutritional deficits, we will ideally purchase food specifically designed for our cat's specific needs, whether dry, wet or homemade cat food. This means it is adapted to their age, reproductive status and other health factors.

Cats can eat papaya in moderate amounts. For this reason, an average-sized adult cat could eat a maximum of one fifth of a papaya once a week. Ingesting more than this quantity can cause indigestion. If they do eat more, we will need to withhold some of their normal food to redress their nutritional balance.

How to give papaya to my cat

Giving papaya to your cat can be helpful if they are going through a period of constipation or if we need to help avoid dehydration. If you have decided that giving your cat a little papaya for these issues, or you simply want to reward them with a sweet treat, you will need to remove any skin and all the seeds. This is because they can become choking hazards and will not be pleasant to eat.

Once you have removed the skin and seeds of the papaya, you will need to slice the fruit into bitesize chunks. You can then feed it to the feline directly or mash it up to add to their normal food. Bear in mind, the latter may not be very appetizing if you add it to dry food. Never offer your cat dehydrated pieces of papaya. This is because the benefits are reduced and the sugars are increased, making it inadvisable to feed to a cat.

Do not walk away from your cat while you offer papaya. You will need to observe them as they eat it to detect any signs of choking or allergies. We also need to check back on them to see if there are symptoms of indigestion such as the cat vomiting and having diarrhea.

Can Cats Eat Papaya? - How to give papaya to my cat

Side effects of papaya for cats

If a cat does eat papaya in an inappropriate way, the main side effect we will likely observe is related to their gastrointestinal tract. Although papaya can help with a cat's constipation, overindulging in this fruit and cause them to have loose stools (i.e. diarrhea). Other digestive issues which may result in inappropriate consumption of papaya in cats include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Excessive meowing
  • Abdominal pain

Sensitivity to fruit like papaya can exacerbate this symptoms. It will depend on your cat's health and immunity status to a large degree.

Another problem that regular consumption can cause in cats is due to its high sugar content. This is especially so in cats that may be more prone to becoming overweight or obese. In turn, this can increase the likelihood of problems such as arthritis, urinary problems and heart disease in cats. Too much sugar can also result in the development of feline diabetes.

Contraindications of papaya for cats

The consumption of papaya would be contraindicated in cats that present the following issues:

  • Certain gastrointestinal diseases that makes their digestive system especially sensitive.

  • When they have increased gastrointestinal transit, resulting in loose stools or diarrhea. It can worsen all these disorders and make them feel physically ill.

  • Undergoing treatment for weight loss or maintenance due to problems of overweight or obesity in cats. Since papaya is such a very sweet snack, it encourages weight gain in these animals. This provides the associated risk to their health that this entails.

Despite the fact that cats can eat papaya, it is very important to respect the amounts and frequency of consumption in order to avoid nutritional imbalances. In the video you will find below, we share what fruits are most beneficial to cats when introduced as part of a balanced diet:

If you want to read similar articles to Can Cats Eat Papaya?, we recommend you visit our Homemade diets category.

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