Cats can occasionally eat coconut meat, but they cannot drink its juice or milk.
A member of the palm tree family, coconut is the term used for the coconut palm, the seed, and the fruit. It can be safely consumed by most cats, but there are some caveats. The edible white meat is high in oil and fiber, so eating too much may cause your cat to experience diarrhea, upset stomach, or loose stools. Regular feeding of coconut meat may lead to obesity and other fatal illnesses such as pancreatitis, hepatic lipidosis, and fatty liver disease.
Meanwhile, coconut milk is not recommended for cats to drink. Made from shredded coconut meat that’s soaked in water and strained, this is a lactose-free alternative to animal-derived milk. However, the high levels of oil, fat, and calories found in it makes it an unhealthy drink for your pet. Regular consumption may cause the following complications: diabetes, liver disease, skin problems, lameness and arthritis, as well as decreased quality and length of life.
As for the juice derived from unripe coconuts, this refreshing liquid is high in potassium and can lead to hyperkalemia. This condition acidifies your cat’s blood and affects her heart, so she should not drink coconut juice.
Some cat owners use coconut oil to treat various conditions such as dermatitis (applied topically), hairballs, and bad breath. However, this must be approved by a veterinarian to guarantee the cat is getting the right treatment and dosage.
How to feed coconut to your cat: Remove the meat from the shell. Slice it into small, bite-sized pieces. Let your cat try a small portion and observe her body’s reaction to it. Do not give her more than two pieces per serving or she may suffer from digestive issues.
Here are three ideas for coconut treats your cat will love:
- Use coconut oil for this Carrot and Catnip Kitty Cat Treats recipe.
- Coconut flour is one of the ingredients of this homemade kitten-approved treat.
- Feed one or two cubes of fresh coconut meat as a snack.
In summary: Loaded with saturated fat and dietary fiber, coconut meat may be given to your cat as an occasional treat. Coconut water and milk, on the other hand, should not be consumed by your cat. To make sure your cat will benefit from eating coconut, consult with your veterinarian before letting her try it.