A decade ago, the majority of people would think that you must be kidding if you are thirsting for some coconut water.
Drinking coconut water when you’re not at the beach on a holiday was considered rather weird. It was more commonly used for cooking than a beverage.
Coconut water started gaining popularity in 2011 when it first come on the beverage scene. Its popularity has since peaked and is on a downhill.
The health benefits of drinking coconut juice have rippled down from humans to their pets.
But exactly how safe is it for our cats to drink coconut water?
Are there any heath issues involved?
Is Coconut Good For Cats?
Coconut isn’t toxic to cats and can be consumed in very small amounts under supervision. The flesh of the coconut is high in saturated fat and fiber. It also contains oils minerals like potassium, copper and iron. Coconut water is made up of 95% water and with some traces of electrolytes and amino acids. A small amount of coconut water is safe for cats to drink.
What Is A Coconut?
Before we can ascertain if something is safe for cats to consume, we need to thoroughly understand what it contains.
A coconut, to the surprise of many, isn’t a nut.
It is called a dry dupe which is basically a fruit, a nut and a seed. To date, no one really knows where it originated from but some scientists believe that it is most likely to be from the eastern part of the world.
The coconut tree thrives best near the coastal line which is why it’s also a very popular drink for beachgoers.
What’s So Good About Coconut Water?
Coconut water contains a large amount of water and electrolytes which makes it a very hydrating drink.
You will find many people who engage in strenuous activity or who are sick drink coconut water to hydrate themselves and replenish their electrolytes.
There have been some studies conducted about the benefits of drinking coconut water and it’s said to lower the risk of heart attack and high blood pressure.
Coconut juice can also be used as an IV solution in the event of an emergency where a proper IV solution isn’t available.
Is It Good For Cats To Drink Coconut Water?
Before I give my cat something that is outside of a cat’s regular diet I will ask myself two questions.
- Is this a requirement in a cat’s diet?
- Are there any proven benefits for cats?
Coconut water isn’t something that is in a wild cat’s natural diet when it comes to hydration. Cats are not coastal mammals and won’t seek out coconut water as part of their diet.
Most of their fluids come from the food that they eat and natural water sources. That being said, coconut water has good properties like being water and electrolyte dense.
It could be good for cats that don’t drink enough water which is one of the main causes of kidney diseases and failures in cats. Cats need to drink water to flush out impurities in their kidneys and urinary tracts.
If you have a cat that isn’t big on water and has kidney issues or is having diarrhea, your vet might recommend a small amount of coconut water for extra hydration.
Is It Good For Cats To Eat Coconut Flesh?
Coconut flesh is the white meaty portion that sticks to the inside of the husk. It can be hard and chewy or soft and tender, depending on the type and age of the coconut.
Coconut flesh is very high in calories as it contains saturated fat, vitamins B, C, E and minerals. It is also rich in fiber.
The fat that is from the coconut flesh is called medium-chain triglycerides (MCT). MCT has been shown to lower bad cholesterol and the risk of heart disease in humans.
As beneficial as MCT is for humans, too much of this nutrient over time can cause serious harm to cats. Your cat will be at risk of hepatic lipidosis which is the build-up of fat in the liver. In serious cases, the cat can be jaundiced which might lead to death.
The high-fat content in coconut flesh does not suit a cat’s digestive tract. It can cause vomiting, diarrhea and stomach upset.
Feeding your cat food that is high in calories will lead to obesity or your cat being overweight. Such cats are also prone to hepatic lipidosis.
If you really need to feed your cat this, make sure it is just very small amounts of coconut flesh and only as an occasional treat.
Is It Safe For Cats To Drink Coconut Water?
It is ok to give your cat a small amount of coconut water. One thing to note is that coconut water can contain a high amount of sugar that is mainly glucose and fructose. And anything that is high in sugar like vanilla pudding isn’t good for cats.
If you are using natural coconut water straight from a coconut, you can taste it first to see how sweet it is. You can add some coconut water to your cat’s bowl to dilute it.
If you are buying pre-packed coconut water, make sure there is no artificial flavoring, preservatives or artificial sweeteners.
It should just contain coconut water and that’s it.
Coconut water also contains a rather large amount of phosphorous, which increases the risk of your kitty getting hyperphosphatemia.
Your cat can be showing signs of vomiting, weakness, excessive thirst, peeing more in the litter box, twitching.
Cats can drink coconut water but make sure to not overdo it.
Where Should Your Cat Get Its Water From?
99.9% of your cat’s hydration should just be from plain water. There are some cat breeds like the Maine Coon and Siberian that are drawn to water.
You can help encourage your cat to drink more water by providing it with a running water source.
I’m not talking about a hose or a tap but a water fountain for pets will be a great feature to have. Many cats prefer to drink from a flowing source of water as it is supposed to be fresher and pose a lesser contamination risk.
Another way to encourage your cat to drink more water is to add some water or homemade tuna water to his food.
Speaking of food, dry food of kibbles is exceptionally bad for cats as it contains very little moisture.
We always recommend feeding your cat a raw food diet which gives the best diet possible for cats.
How Much Coconut Water Should I Give My Cat?
There’s no recommended amount when it comes to giving your cat coconut water. But like for all new additions to a cat’s diet, keep the amount small and infrequent.
A few teaspoon or a tablespoon a few times a week for your cat to lap up should be more than enough.
Is Coconut Milk Safe For Cats?
Coconut milk is not harmful to cats but as with coconut flesh, it is high in fat and calories. Coconut milk is made from soaking grated coconut flesh in water and then straining it.
The good thing is that coconut milk is lactose-free. However, that does not mean that it is good for most cats who are lactose intolerant.
This is because as cats pass the kittens stage, their body no longer produce the enzyme that can break down lactose. This is why dairy products can cause loose stools and tummy upset.
The flesh and milk of the coconut contain lots of fat and cat owners are advised not to give their cats such foods.
If you are nursing kittens who can consume milk, do not feed them coconut milk as it doesn’t contain the proper nutrients to support the growth and development of kittens. Get a proper milk formula from your vet.
Is Coconut Oil Safe For Cats?
Coconut oil has been gaining in popularity over the years when it comes to treating certain ailments in cats.
Coconut oil can be made by fermenting coconut milk and then removing the oil. It can also be extracted by using a centrifuge which spins the coconut milk at high speeds to separate the oil from water.
Benefits Of Coconut Oil
Here are some well-known benefits that coconut oil can do for your cat.
Support Better Skin And Coat
If your cat has dry skin, skin allergies or just a poor coat, you can give your cat coconut oil topically or orally.
Just rub some coconut oil onto your hands and spread it well onto your cat’s well. The consumption of coconut oil allows it to work its benefits from the inside out.
If your cat is having a flea, tick or mange infestation, coconut oil can do a good job in getting rid of it. By rubbing coconut oil on your cat’s fur, these parasites get suffocated by the fat content in the oil.
Feeding your cat some coconut oil allows the oil the enter your cat’s bloodstream which helps to get rid of these pests as well as they don’t like the taste and smell of coconut oil.
Cats are known to hack up or poo out excess hair in their tummy as hairballs. This is because cats can spend up to 5 hours a day grooming themselves and licking away the loose fur.
If you find that your cat has some problems vomiting or pooing out these hairballs. You can help lubricate its digestive tract by giving it some coconut oil.
For cat parents whose cats don’t like coconut oil or have a coconut allergy, here are some natural remedies that can help manage hairballs.
How Much Coconut Oil Should I Give My Cat?
For cats that do not have any skin issues, you don’t have to feed them coconut oil daily. 1-2 times a week would suffice.
Start off slow and with just a very small amount as some cats might not take well to coconut-based products.
Anything from 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon is a good starting amount.
Be careful to not overfeed your cat coconut oil as it is also very high in fat and calories like most coconut based products.
As wonderful as coconut-based products may seem for your cat, it is always better to practise due diligence and discretion when feeding your cat something new.
If your cat has an existing medical condition, it would be good to consult your vet before proceeding with giving your cat coconut water.