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Can Cats Eat Oranges? Are Oranges Safe for Cats?

Oranges are sweet and tasty and one of the world’s most popular fruit. They can often be found in household fruit bowls, added to fruit salads and school lunch boxes, and even used in desserts. Low in calories and packed full of vitamin C, they’re an exceptionally good addition to the human diet, but what about your cat? Will your pet enjoy a juicy orange as much as you, or should you avoid giving them to your feline friend?

In short, the answer is no, cats should not eat oranges.

Oranges, like other citrus fruits, are toxic to cats. The advice from veterinarian Dr. Teresa Manucy is that oranges can cause cats to suffer gastric problems, including digestive irritation, diarrhea, and vomiting. They may also cause central nervous system depression. According to the ASPCA, it is the essential oils and psoralens in oranges that cause problems for cats.

It is recommended that if your cat has ingested oranges or any other potentially toxic substance, you should call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center or contact your local veterinarian for advice as soon as possible.

orange juice
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What about orange juice or peel?

All parts of the orange, including the pulp, juice, and peel of the fruit are toxic to cats.

Orange peel, in particular, contains a high concentration of oils, and as such, it is more toxic to cats than the fleshy pulp of the fruit.

Sick cat in animal hospital
Image Credit: Kachalkina Veronika, Shutterstock

How do I stop my cat from eating oranges?

Thankfully, cats have a natural aversion to oranges and usually won’t go anywhere near them, so there is no need to hide your fruit bowl in a cupboard or another place where your cat can’t find it. In fact, cats dislike the smell of oranges so much, the fruity scent is often used in cat repellent sprays to keep cats off furniture and out of peoples’ gardens.

orange peels
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What about orange-based cleaning products?

Orange-based surface sprays are used every day in households across the world.

While there is usually no problem using them in your kitchen or bathroom, it is advisable to avoid using orange-based cleaners anywhere near your cat’s bedding, toys, litter box, or food bowls. The products themselves won’t harm your cat once the surface is dry, but the smell may cause your cat to avoid any area of your house that has been sprayed with these cleaners, which means they may decide to do their business elsewhere or even forego eating.

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Featured Image: Xiaolong Wong, Unsplash