We all know a healthy diet is essential to having a happy, healthy pet. Sometimes though, it can be challenging to know what is okay to feed your fur baby. After all, there are so many foods and brands from which to choose.
Are you a proud owner of a cat? Then you must know that they tend to be more curious than most other pets, especially when it comes to what their humans are eating. If you're holding a juicy mango, your cat may be wanting to have a taste. So, the question becomes, at that point, is mango, something that we can share with our cats.
Can Cats Eat Mango?
Yes, cats can eat mango. The fruit’s flesh is safe and in no way toxic to your cat. Still, follow our vet-approved feeding guidelines because too much mango may lead to weight gain, diabetes, and gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea. Also, the tough, leather-like skin may pose a choking hazard, and the pit contains cyanide, which is a toxin.
Cats need a diet rich in protein, and treats like mango should only make up a very small part of your cat's daily calorie intake. In many ways, mango is a healthy snack for your cat, but limiting the amount of mango is essential because too much sugar can be a real problem for your feline. As with any pet, it is essential to weigh the good versus the bad when it comes to what you include in their diet.
Health Benefits: Is Mango Good for Cats?
Some fruits and vegetables can be harmful to our pets. However, mango is not toxic to cats. But the right quantity matters here. So, a small piece of mango is more than enough.
Mango can be a juicy treat for your kitty and may even be a healthier option than some commercial treats.
- Dr. Edele Grey, DVM
Mango tends to be rich in vitamin C, but cats are able to produce this vitamin on their own and don't need supplementation. A little extra won't hurt, but such a dietary boost is not essential. However, besides providing Vitamin C, mango can offer lots of other health benefits to your cat. We will discuss them below:
Boosting the Immune System
Usually, cats are not huge fans of eating fruits. But if your curious feline wants to stray from their regular meat-rich diet, then mango can be a good option for boosting your furry friend's immune system.
The vitamin A in mango will help them stay healthy and support their immune system. While cats produce their own vitamin C, they can benefit from the Vitamin A in mango, in moderation, of course.
Vitamin A can help boost muscles and nerves to help keep them functioning as they need, which also helps with immune function. Also, an all-meat diet can sometimes be lacking in this vitamin.
One common issue we find ourselves having with our furry buddy is maintaining a healthy weight.
So, if you have a lazy boy or gal, a small mango treat can help with boosting their vitamin B6 intake. Vitamin B6 helps with absorbing fats and protein, meaning that metabolizing these things can be made easier with proper amounts of B6.
Health Risks: Is Mango Bad for Cats?
Mango can be bad for cats in large quantities. A small piece here and there is not too bad, but cats are carnivores by nature and eat an all-meat diet. Fruits, veggies, and other food can be offered as small treats if your cat is interested, but they should make up a maximum of 10% of your cat's daily food intake.
As a fruit mangoes are high in natural sugars, which can pose health risks to your kitty, so moderation is key.
- Dr. Edele Grey, DVM
Let's discuss some potential health issues our furry buddy can have with excessive consumption of mango.
Potential Health Issues
It's a sweet treat but not a necessity for a healthy cat. Mangos, just like other fruits, are high in sugar, and caution should be taken when giving them to our pets.
Too much sugar can lead to weight gain, which is not healthy for your cat and can cause a variety of health problems – diabetes being one of the most common of these.
Sugar can also cause gastrointestinal issues in your cat. An excessive amount of sugar that is ingested with the fruits can cause bad diarrhea, which you want to avoid to keep your cat feeling well.
The Bad Parts
For the most part, mango is okay to give your cat in small amounts. However, if you want to avoid some potentially hazardous health issues, you should be aware that the seed and skin too can be dangerous for your fur baby. So, if you are letting your cat eat a mango, make sure you give it without the seed and skin.
The seed, better known as the pit, actually contains trace amounts of cyanide, which is a poison. In larger quantities, it can even kill your cat.
The pit of a mango is big, and there is no risk of your cat swallowing it whole. It is also very hard, so it's unlikely your cat could chew off a piece that would harm them. Still, it's always better to stay safe and remove the pit before giving your cat any mango.
The skin of a mango is tough and leather-like. It can be hard for your cat to chew and digest, which is why it should also be removed before serving. A piece of mango skin could possibly pose a choking hazard for cats because they have small mouths. The skin could also cause a blockage in the gastrointestinal tract, which might require surgery to remove.
So, as a pet owner, it's your responsibility to give your furry friend a well-prepared piece of mango without the seed and skin to prevent any problems.
Of course, you should make sure the fruit is ripe too. Just like we do not like the taste and texture of unripe fruit or vegetable, your cat is no different. So, keep that in mind when you are giving your cat a piece of mango next time.
Serving Size and How to Feed?
You already know that too much mango can cause a lot of unwanted issues, and most of those issues can be minimized by being well informed and also understanding their daily values and needs when it comes to a well-rounded diet.
Small piece twice a month
While it is a great little treat, you should only give your cat a tiny piece of mango (half-inch cube) twice a month at most. Limiting mango to only a special treat will help your cat reap the benefits without being exposed to the health risks too much mango may pose.
As with any introduction of something new to your pet's diet, use caution. When feeding your cat mango for the first time, only offer a very small piece and see how they like the taste. Many cats have sensitive tummies, so monitor your cat for any signs like vomiting, diarrhea, or discomfort, which indicate mango may not be suitable food for your cat's delicate stomach.
If you notice vomiting or diarrhea, stop giving them mango immediately as this can be a sign of your pet having an intolerance to this fruit. Do not force it upon them either. Sometimes, cats may show an initial interest in a food but change their minds when they get a good sniff with their little button noses.
Prepping the Mango
The prep is not too complicated, just like you would for yourself. Make sure the skin is all peeled away, and the pit is removed, as these can be hazardous for your cat.
Cut the flesh of the fruit into small cubes or slices and offer your cat a taste. Of course, make sure the fruit is ripe as well to help avoid any stomach upset.
Because cats need a diet that consists mainly of animal protein, fruits do not contain what our feline friends require to keep their diet balanced and nutritious.
Therefore, fruits and other such food should only be offered as a treat, and 90% of your cat's food intake should consist of high-quality, balanced cat food.
However, mango is still a fruit full of nutrients that may benefit your pet. Let's have a look:
Mangos are relatively low in calories, with 100 grams having just 67 calories. The small amount that you can give your cat has even fewer calories, so it makes it the ideal treat if you are looking for something low calorie that won't break the scale.
Though a word to the wise, keep in mind that while this treat has low calories, it does have 14 grams of sugar in 100 grams of mango, which is quite high.
Rich in Vitamins
Mangos have a number of other useful nutrients that can be taken advantage of. It has vitamins A, B6 folate, and iron. It also boasts smaller doses of calcium, zinc, and vitamin E. In addition, mangos are rich in antioxidants, and antioxidant plays a huge role in boosting the immune system.
Your cat is a very curious creature. They thrive on an all-meat diet, but cats can get bored with their current food and are curious about what their human is eating.
Mangos are a great option for treating your cat to some human food since they are relatively low calorie and non-toxic to cats.
Still, small amounts are the better option if you really can't say no to your furry little buddy. The presence of somewhat excessive sugar might be a worry, so it is advisable that you feed mangos to your cat in strict moderation.
Related reading: Can I feed just one type of cat food?
Fun fact – cats can't taste sweet flavors.
This is actually genetic with two genes being responsible for this; Tas1r2 and Tas1r3, which are similar to the genes in humans and dogs. Cats, however, have some changes in their genes. We don't fully understand why some kitties seem to love the scent of sweet foods yet, but research is ongoing.
Despite your kitty not being able to taste sweet, it doesn't mean the fruit sugars can't cause problems.
Cats are prone to similar diseases as dogs and humans, when offered high-sugar foods, including diabetes and obesity.
- Dr. Edele Grey, DVM
Edele Grey, BSc, MVB, PGCertESM, MRCVS was born and raised in Ireland on a farm, so she was destined for veterinary-related work from a young age. Dr. Grey attended the only veterinary university in Ireland, the University College Dublin, and graduated in 2013. Since graduation, Dr. Grey has worked with a range of exotic, companion, and production animal species.
NOTE: Advice provided within this article is not a substitute for veterinary advice. Please discuss your cat's specific dietary needs (based on his breed, weight, age, and health status) with a veterinarian.