Can cats eat Olive Oil?

Posted by | Apr 19, 2016 | Nutrition

cats and olive oil
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Author Amira

Hi there!

I’m Amira, founder and editor at Cattention.

This website is dedicated to share useful but entertaining information and help You understand Your cat’s actions, behavior and needs.

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As responsible cat owners, we want our furry little friend to be healthy and happy. Keeping the little one safe is our biggest responsibility which includes having knowledge of what is good for them and what can be harmful.

Since the feline’s digestive system is quite sensitive, this adds to the importance of the knowledge on her diet. Before you give any new type of food to your kitty – be it olive oil – make sure you will not harm her with it. Do know if it is good or bad, and make sure not to give more than the recommended amount.

Can cats eat Olive Oil? – Only in moderation

Let’s get straight to the point; yes, cats can eat olive oil, however, it should be given only in moderation. Although olive oil is not going to hurt a cat and also has some benefits, too much of it can cause some health problems. Do watch out for the amount you are giving. Personally, I would go for extra-virgin olive oil, and the portion would not be more than a tablespoon a day mixed in my beloved friend’s regular food.

About olive oil and its benefits

Olive oil is produced by the extraction of the olive fruit and can be classified according to their extraction process and acidity level. The different grades are Extra Virgin, Virgin, Ordinary Virgin, Lampante Virgin, Refined and Crude Olive Oil.

Among these, I would go for extra-virgin olive oil as I mentioned before since it has higher quality and lower acidity (less than 1%) without any chemical treatment. It is made from the first pressing of the whole olives, therefore, it is the finest and freshest among the other oils.

Olive oils are most commonly used in cooking, cosmetics and soaps, but did you know it can be beneficial for cats also? Let’s see the reasons why:

Even though cats are carnivores, so they eat mostly meat, fatty acids like olive oil also play a big role in their growth and aging. It has a high energy value which aids in their overall development.

When it comes to lifespans, our lovely pets of today outlive their ancestors, and a large part of this can be attributed to a well-balanced diet which includes olive oil. It also contains vitamins such as A and E and includes antioxidants which strengthen the immune system, prevent aging, supports muscle function and help them extend their lives.

To shed a little more light on this topic, we will discuss uses of the olive oil:

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Cat constipation – Olive oil

Cats often suffer from constipation which can occur due to various reasons. It can be caused by even a little change in the cat’s diet, stress, hairballs, some food which is difficult to digest, or different health problems.

Since olive oil is a natural stool softener for cats and helps to move the food through the feline’s digestive system, I often wondered: Can I give my cat olive oil for constipation.

After some research, I found out that in addition to the benefits mentioned above, olive oil also can be an effective remedy for constipation as it stimulates the bowel movement and softens the stool.

How do I know? – Is my cat constipated?

A cat is constipated if she fails to produce stool for more than two days.

As a responsible owner, you can easily notice this by checking her litter box daily. If you notice less poop than the normal (one or two times a day) in the litter box or your little friend’s stool is too hard and dry, you can be sure she is suffering from constipation.

Constipated kittens and cats also often refuse to eat and drink which can lead to the death of hunger or thirst so be exceptionally cautious about your beloved kitty’s bowel movements.

If your cat shows any signs of the above, olive oil can be given to her which is one of the best constipated cat home remedies.

Olive oil should be offered together with the cat’s regular food, and the amount should not be more than one tablespoon daily. If you are planning on giving olive oil long term, reduce the amount from one tablespoon to one teaspoon per day.

Olive oil will stimulate the bowel movement and help to soften the stool so that the cat will be able to produce poop within some hours after consuming the oil.

So this treatment is quite effective, can be given at home and has another good advantage: it has no side effects.

After all, olive oil seems to be the best home remedy for constipated cats, but it should only be applied if the little one has constipation only on rare occasions.

However, if it is more frequent or you experience it for the first time, it is best to consult your local veterinarian about this issue as constipation can also be a sign of an underlying health problem. The veterinarian can then tell what is wrong and advice on what can be done.

Other uses of the olive oil

Apart from relieving constipation, there are some other uses and benefits of olive oil for cats.

Since olive oil is rich in fats, and fatty acids keep the skin soft and the fur shiny, adding some olive oil to the cat’s diet is only beneficial to her but just in moderation. Otherwise, her skin can become dry and irritated.

As a part of their grooming process, cats lick themselves regularly and they sure do seem to love it. When a cat grooms, her tongue inevitably will carry some of that fur into her mouth and then straight to her stomach.

Unfortunately, she has no way to break it down and more and more fur piles up in her stomach forming an offending hairball. Sooner or later this undigested furball can make her feel uncomfortable, so she needs to find a way to get rid of it.

Apart from eating grass and throwing the unwanted hairball up, another solution for cats to get rid of their furball is olive oil. It can lubricate the digestive system making smoother way for the dry hairball to move through the intestinal tract.

Olive oil also can reduce inflammation, and it can be helpful if your cat has high cholesterol or diabetes as well.

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Can olive oil be harmful to a cat?

Even though olive oil seems to have many benefits, we have to be very careful with it. Since olive oil has mild laxative properties, it can easily lead to fatal health problems. Make sure not to give more olive oil than the indicated amount (one tablespoon a day) and introduce it slowly to her diet, otherwise, your cat will more likely end up with diarrhea.

Olive oil can cause weight gain as well as it is high in calories. This is another good reason to watch out for the exact dosage.

Before adding olive oil to your cat’s regular diet, do check the label on the food you are offering as it is known that most of the cat foods already contain oil so adding olive oil to that food can be an overdose to your four-legged friend.

It is always safe and recommendable to call the veterinarian for advice about any change in the diet or about the amount you are going to give as it can vary from cat to cat depending on the age and size.

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So how much olive oil is safe for the cat?

Since too much of olive oil can be harmful to your cat, it is important to place emphasis on the safe amount.

First of all, the best olive oil is the extra virgin (in my opinion), while the other important thing to keep in mind is not to make a habit of offering olive oil.

Now let’s highlight the amount: the portion should not be more than a tablespoon daily, and it has to be mixed with the regular food.

Speaking for myself, I would split this amount into equal portions like half a tablespoon in the morning feeding time and the other half in the evening. If you plan on giving olive oil in the long run (which I would not recommend), reduce this amount to one teaspoon per day.

In case this would be the first time of offering olive oil to your cat, bear in mind that it should be introduced gradually, just as any new type of food, and pay attention to the result.

Please make sure not to cross the maximum amount to keep your kitty safe and healthy. In case you experience anything out of the ordinary, do not wait and contact your cat’s vet immediately.

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Conclusion – Can I give my cat Olive Oil?

Olive oil is commonly known for cooking, but we are not the only one who can consume it. Cats can eat it too. However it has many benefits like relieving constipation, helping the hairballs to get through the digestive system, protecting skin or reducing inflammation, it can also easily cause diarrhea or any other type of intestinal health problem.

Therefore, if we, pet owners, want our little friend to live long happy life, we must know the safe amount. One tablespoon a day is more than enough for a cat if we do not make a habit of it. If you are planning to give olive oil long term (which I would not personally recommend), the dosage should not be more than a teaspoon. Since the feline’s digestive system is sensitive, look after your cat any time you change her diet and do check her bowel movement regularly.

If you notice anything out of ordinary or you are not sure about the olive oil or the amount (as it can differ depending on the age, weight and size of the cat), please do not hesitate to call your veterinarian and ask for guidance.

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