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Can Cats Eat Lychee? Is It Healthy for Them?

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	Dr. Lorna Whittemore Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lorna Whittemore

Vet, MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Cats are obligate carnivores, so they need little more than animal protein to stay happy and healthy throughout their lives. However, this is not to say that eating some safe plant material is detrimental to cats. Cats can indeed consume certain plants with no problem. Some plants even offer nutritional benefits for cats to take advantage of. For example, pumpkin can help improve your cat’s digestion due to it’s high fiber content and grasses may make it easier to expel things like parasites from the stomach.

So, can cats eat lychee? It is a fruit and it is not green, so you may think that it shouldn’t be offered to your cat. However, lychee fruit can be eaten by cats without worrying about any serious side effects.  If your cat accidentally got hold of and ate your lychee no harm will come to it. There are a few things that you should know before deciding to offer delicious lychees to your pet cat, though.

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How Lychees Can Benefit Cats

maine coon cat eating
Image Credit: Lita Keire, Shutterstock

Cats cannot taste sweet, so there is a good chance that your kitty won’t be interested in eating lychee fruit. However, some cats enjoy the fruit due to its texture and water content. If your kitty cat happens to like lychees, there are benefits that they could gain. Lychees are full of water, which can help keep your cat hydrated on a hot day. This tropical fruit also contains plenty of fiber, which supports a healthy digestive system. Lychee fruit happens to contain various vitamins and minerals that may enhance the overall health of your pet, such as:

  • Copper: This helps the body absorb iron and supports good heart health.
  • Potassium: This supports proper nerve functionality and aids in maintaining a healthy heart rhythm.
  • Antioxidants: The flavonoid compounds in lychee work as powerful antioxidants that help fight cancer and other illnesses.

However, it is important to keep in mind that lychee should only be consumed in moderation. This fruit, just like any other snack, should be offered occasionally and never incorporated as a mainstay in their diet. It is better to provide animal sources of nutrients to cats such as plain cooked chicken meat for a treat.

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Cautions That You Should Know

There are a couple of important cautions to keep in mind before you feed your cat any lychee fruit. First, the skin of the lychee fruit is not toxic to cats, but it shouldn’t be eaten. The skin is tough and difficult to chew. The skin should be completely removed first. It is also important to note that each piece of fruit contains a large seed (sometimes referred to as a pit) inside, which presents a choking hazard. Therefore, lychee should be opened and the seed should be removed before giving the fruit to your furry family member.

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Preparing Lychee for Your Cat

Lychee peeled and pitted
Image Credit: oseclaudioguima, Pixabay

Aside from removing the skin and seed from a lychee fruit before feeding it to your cat, there are no special preparations to worry about. However, skinning and deseeding lychee can be a messy business. You should handle lychee outside, where the juices of the fruit can freely fall to the ground while you work. Alternatively, you can work with lychee over the sink or on a large cutting board.

Using a knife to cut the lychee in half makes the process of removing the skin and seed easier, but you won’t be able to avoid dealing with the juice. You can purchase canned and frozen lychee at Asian markets and sometimes in local grocery stores, which have already skinned and deseeded fruit.

If you decide to purchase prepared lychees, though, make sure they do not contain any added sugar or other fillers that are not necessary for your cat’s good health. Additives and extra calories could lead to problems like weight gain and the development of diabetes. Consider preparing several lychees at once and freezing them. This will keep the lychee fresh for months so you can simply break off a small piece of lychee whenever you want to offer your cat a treat.

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Final Thoughts

Lychee is a sweet and delicious fruit that we humans can eat several of in one sitting. It is a different story when it comes to cats. No matter how much your cat enjoys eating lychee, they should never be offered more than one piece of the fruit at meal or snack time. Cats should not eat lychee fruit daily but instead, enjoy it on rare occasions.

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Featured Image Credit: atulsomani, Pixabay

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