The tropical fruit known as a jackfruit has got quite a sweet taste to it, which is why your little buddy might be bugging you for some. We do hope they haven’t already ingested any, however, as Jackfruit is not a good food to feed cats, as it is a member of the fig family, and poses the threat of poisoning.
Below, we have a section on what to do if your cat ingests jackfruit, however, if your cat has actually ingested it, we’d definitely suggest calling your vet—even before reading on. If you’re thinking about giving your little buddy a sweet treat, we go into exactly why jackfruit isn’t a good cat treat, what your cat does need, and offer some alternatives. But first, we answer a question for some of our readers from the northern hemisphere:
What (the heck) is a Jackfruit?
A tropical fruit that grows in warm climates in South America, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific islands. As mentioned, it’s related to the fig, which although very pretty, is also toxic for cats. The jackfruit is the largest fruit that grows on a tree, period. It can weigh anywhere between 40 and 120 pounds, which makes a pretty large fruit—you wouldn’t want one of those falling on your head!
They’re sweet when they’re ripe, but when canned can take on the consistency and taste of pork. It’s the proteins, fibers, and sugars that are present which can make this a beneficial food for diabetics. This is because of the way those proteins and fibers are broken down slower subsequently slowing the rise in sugar levels. Unfortunately, our little buddies do not stand the same benefits.
What Makes Jackfruit Poisonous for Cats?
Jackfruit is not listed as toxic on several reputable animal poison databases such as ASPCA, petpoisonhelpline.com and University of California plant poisons list. However, being a member of the fig family, it may cause a similar illness as fig poisoning in cats. This is because of proteolytic enzymes as well as psoralen which are contained in this family of plants. These are bad for your cat as these enzymes attempt to destroy the cat’s DNA—nasty stuff!
This is obviously not what you want to feed your best little companion. There is no nutritional value for your cat to gain from eating jackfruit—or really any fruit for that matter, though they can safely enjoy some as a treat. So, what do cats need to eat to sustain a healthy lifestyle?
What Kind Of Diet Do Cats Need?
Cats eat meat. That’s what they were designed to do, and their bodies are still evolved to digest animal proteins, fats, and just a little bit of carbs—they seem to select about 12% of the latter. Approximately half of a cat’s calories come from proteins, with fats making up the remainder.
Cats were also designed to get much of their hydration from the water that is in meat, just to underscore their dependence as carnivores. They eat meat, and really, that’s all they were designed to eat.
Cats aren’t meant to eat fruits and vegetables, as a rule, although that hasn’t stopped many of our little feline pals from getting to things that they shouldn’t—lots of cats love a sweet treat, in fact.
While there are some fruits that are safe to give in moderation, it’s good to be prepared in case curious noses lead them to trouble.
What Should I Do If My Cat Eats Jackfruit?
If you’ve come to this page because your little guy has already gotten into some jackfruit, or you gave it to them by mistake (don’t beat yourself up too much, it happens), we do recommend you call your vet before reading about solutions or what to look for online.
However, for the sake of education, it’s good to get an idea of what to do in case the situation should arise in the future.
The good news is that in many cases, fig poisoning caused by jackfruit is mild, and cats experience mostly an upset stomach, vomiting, and irritation—but make a full recovery.
1. Isolate and Monitor
All we really mean by this is to get the source of poison—in this case, the jackfruit, away from them. Make sure that you are mindful of any pieces that might be in their fur. It’s a good idea to get them onto some sort of tile or hard flooring which is easier to clean, in case they vomit.
2. Call Your Vet
Keep an eye on your little guy and give your vet a call. There’s a good chance they’ll want you to bring them in for monitoring, in case they need further treatment. Sometimes, if the cat is displaying very mild symptoms, they may have you keep an eye on them.
Again, up to the vet—but there are a couple of common options that they may use. Sometimes vets will induce vomiting to help clear the stomach through a process called gastric flushing. This is usually only good if it was very recently ingested, so if it’s moved past the stomach, they opt for something else. Activated charcoal and IV fluids are commonly used to treat poisoning in cats.
It’s used to lessen the effects of poisoning though it cannot be stressed enough that you must never attempt to administer any of these treatments at home. These treatments are for the vet to advise you of, and for them to administer, alone.
What to Expect When Recovering from Jackfruit Poisoning
If your little friend has gone through the trying experience of jackfruit poisoning and treatment, it’s quite a stressful ordeal for you and them alike. Most mild cases of this will recover overnight, and they should be almost back to normal by the next day. If they had a more severe case with more drastic veterinary intervention, then they will need an extra couple of days to bounce back.
Rest, time, and love are all that they need. You’ll want to pay attention to their eating habits and ensure that they start eating again within 24 hours. The same goes for their bowel movements.
If your cat hasn’t eaten or had a bowel movement for 48 hours or more, then they need to go back to the vet immediately. This isn’t typical, however—most cases are mild and subsequently, most cats are back to their normal selves relatively quickly—hopefully having learned a lesson for it! If your cat is a fiend for tropical fruits, here are some you can try next time that won’t hurt them:
Jackfruit Alternatives That are Safe for Cats
As ripe jackfruit is sweet and tropical, we figured that some sweet tropical fruits would make good substitutes (and rhyme, which is always fun). It’s still important to stress that cats really aren’t built to digest fruits, but a little bit of these safe choices once in a while won’t hurt your little buddy. Besides- who doesn’t love a sweet tropical treat?
These make a great once-in-a-while treat for cats with a sweet tooth who enjoy some tropical tastes! Mango in moderation, of course. While non-toxic, they should only have a little bit.
Cats are so funny about what they will try and enjoy sometimes. Certainly, not every cat is going to go for the tangy-sweet taste of pineapples, but some adventurous felines will enjoy this as a jackfruit alternative once in a blue moon.
That’s right—you didn’t think of strawberries as tropical fruit, but they grow right down to the equator. These are also a safe, once-in-a-while snack for a feline companion who wants something sweet.
It’s pretty simple—don’t give your cat jackfruit. It’s not good for them! If they’ve gotten into it, you know what to do—call the vet, and we wish you the best of luck! We hope this has provided you with some insights and alternatives to feeding your cat something that would make them feel ill, and that you’ve learned something about how your cat’s body works.
We always appreciate pet parents who take the time to do the right thing and research how they can take care of their little friends better, so thanks for being great, and so long!
Featured Image Credit: Pixabay
- What (the heck) is a Jackfruit?
- What Makes Jackfruit Poisonous for Cats?
- What Kind Of Diet Do Cats Need?
- What Should I Do If My Cat Eats Jackfruit?
- What to Expect When Recovering from Jackfruit Poisoning
- Jackfruit Alternatives That are Safe for Cats