No, cats cannot eat oranges as they contain toxic phenolic compounds and essential oils.
Oranges are edible citrus fruits that belong to the Rutaceae family. There are more than 400 varieties grown in the world such as clementine, mandarin, tangerine, and valencia. Because of their naturally sweet and tart taste, oranges are enjoyed by humans as is or as a main ingredient in jams and desserts. The fruit is also commonly used as an essential oil because of its energising scent.
Oranges are not recommended for cat consumption because of the phenolic compounds and essential oils. Though the orange flesh alone is safe for cats to consume, its peel, seeds, and leaves have high amounts of d-limonene, linalool, and psoralens. Adverse reactions to these compounds include digestive distress and calcium oxalate stone build-up in the urinary tract. Its seeds may also cause choking or intestinal blockage.
What to do if your cat accidentally eats oranges: A small amount of the orange flesh will not harm your cat. However, ingesting (or even touching) the other parts may cause health issues such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, depression, potential dermatitis, stomach distress, drooling, weakness, photosensitivity, and seizure.
In summary: Just like lemons, oranges should not be fed to your cat. Though this citrus fruit is packed with vitamin C, calcium, and other nutrients, the risks of feeding it to your pet outweigh the benefits. Instead of oranges, serve your cat fresh fruits such as apples, blueberries, mangoes, pineapples, strawberries, and watermelons in limited quantities. Remember not to go over 10% of her total daily caloric intake since fruits should only be considered as treats.
Aside from fruits, discover which human foods you can safely feed your pet cat through our “can cats eat” blog category.