Papayas originated in Mesoamerica, within modern-day southern Mexico and Central America. But the Americans are not the leaders in papaya production. India produces more than 40% of the world's papayas. So, if you are enjoying a papaya salad or smoothie, there's a good chance that it came from India. Also, papaya is a berry. (You just learned 2 new facts today!)
Can Cats Eat Papaya?
Yes, papayas are very safe for your cat and not on the list of human foods that are toxic for cats. But, before going ahead and placing a big bowl full of papaya in front of your cat anticipating all the benefits they can bring, it is important to understand the right quantity and way to feed papaya to your cat. Here are a few other fruits that are safe to give to your cat.
Do Cats Like Papaya?
There are 2 types of cats. And you guessed it right. There are some that like papayas and others that won’t go anywhere near it. There is no specific reason that has been linked to why certain cats like or don't like papaya.
In general, cats don't go for fruits; their primary diet is based on meat. However, they do have a habit of becoming interested in the foods that their humans are eating. You would just have to try feeding a tiny piece to your cat and wait to see how they react.
Is Papaya Good for Cats?
If you have tried feeding Papaya to your cat and the reaction is positive, the next question you might be wondering is whether papayas are good for your cat’s digestive system.
There are many fruits that are toxic and poisonous for cats. Grapefruits, lemons, limes, or other citrus fruits for example are all bad for your cat. But papayas are an exception.
To check the impact of papaya on a cat’s health, we would have to look at the nutritional composition of it.
100 grams of raw papaya consists of the following –
Calories - 32
Carbs – 7.2g
Protein – 0.6g
Fat – 0.1g
Fiber – 2.6g
Apart from these, papayas are filled with Vitamins C, A, B, E and K. Moreover, they also contain antioxidants which help reduce inflammation, fight a host of diseases, and keep wrinkles away.
But all these benefits are for humans. A cat’s digestive system is different from that of a human. Let’s look at the health benefits for cats.
Health Benefits of Papaya for Cats
Papaya has a lot of vitamins. But as mentioned above, cats digest food and absorb nutrients in different ways. Cats do not need vitamin C in large quantities and whatever proportion they need, they can easily extract it from their cat food.
However, the enzymes present in papayas can potentially aid in digestion for cats, especially older ones. One particular enzyme that the fruit contains is Papain and in cats, it helps in digesting proteins more quickly.
How Much Papaya is Good for Your Cat?
Because cats are carnivorous, most of their nutritional requirements should be fulfilled from meat and other cat foods. Foods like fruits and vegetables should not make up more than 10% of your cat’s daily calorie intake. And the same goes for papaya.
Treat papaya only as an occasional treat. When first introducing your cat to papaya, start by feeding them a small piece the size of your fingernail. And if they show no signs of an allergic reaction, and seem to enjoy the treat, you can give them another small piece. The recommended quantity is no more than 1-2 small pieces of papaya every once in a while.
How Can You Feed Papaya to Your Cat?
The next question is how to feed the portion of papaya to your cat. Before offering it to your cat you must know how to serve it to them.
Washed thoroughly – We do not want any dirt or pesticide to enter your cat’s digestive tract. It’s important to wash the papaya thoroughly before chopping it.
Seedless - No seed from any fruit should ever go into a cat’s mouth. It can be highly toxic and a choking hazard.
Peeled and sliced – Peel the papaya to help remove the pesticides that may be on it. Then cut bite-sized pieces and place them in their food bowl.
No fancy additions –We know you like your salads with seasonings and toppings but keep those to yourself.
No dried papayas – The dried ones are extremely high in sugar content and hence should be completely avoided.
What Can Happen if Your Cat Eats Too Much Papaya?
If you end up feeding a lot of papaya to your cat or it ends up eating a lot of it while you are away, keep an eye out for the following symptoms of an upset stomach. You should contact your vet right away if you see –
The high sugar content in papayas can become very difficult for a cat’s digestive system to handle and can cause high blood sugar levels.
Which Cats Should Not Eat Papaya?
There are no specific breeds that should stay away from papayas, but there can be some cats that should avoid this fruit completely. Cats with known allergies to fruits and who have a history of having sensitive stomachs fall into this category. And if your cat is known to have high blood sugar levels or obesity issues, they should avoid papaya altogether.
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Feed papaya or skip it, it won’t make a major difference to your cat’s health. But if you decide to feed it to them, then make sure you follow the instructions and the recommended quantity carefully.
For you though, go ahead and add papaya to your daily meals and skincare routine. It could go a long way in helping keep you healthy and keep your wrinkles away. For your cat, make it a small occasional treat and no more.