Can Cats Eat Tangerines ? Is It Good For Health

Tangerines belong to a family of fruits broadly referred to as citrus fruits. Within this family are lemons, limes, oranges, and tangerines, among many others. 

Citrus fruits are renowned for their sweet smells, colorful rinds, and juicy pulps that make them easily incorporated into various things, from sweets to dessert to drinks, alcoholic or otherwise, or even consumed whole.

Conventionally, citrus fruits grow and flourish within the tropics and subtropical regions but may be found worldwide. Nutritionally, they are famous for their high content of ascorbic acid and citric acid. Ascorbic acid, also called vitamin C, is important for normal body function. 

Humans, especially, have a daily requirement of ascorbic acid to boost the immune system, preventing complications such as scurvy.

Ideally, pets should not be fed fruits as a general precaution. Some fruits are toxic, especially to cats. It is thus recommended to check in with your veterinarian before indulging your pet in a fruit salad! Cats may, however, be able to indulge in some plant-based foods and thus may enjoy some fruit treats.

So, with some moderation and cautious research, some fruits may be safe to give as treats to your furry friend. Also, always remember to dice up the portions to bite sizes convenient for your cat to prevent choking.

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Are Tangerines Dangerous To Cats?

Citrus fruits are toxic to cats. Shockingly though, while these fruits, including tangerines, may not cause serious gastrointestinal symptoms when served in small portions, larger servings may result in serious digestive distress.

This may be limited to a mild irritation with diarrhea and vomiting or may prove life-threatening by causing severe central nervous distress in high proportions. The other plant components, including the leaves, seeds, and peels, are also very toxic as they contain varying quantities of citric acid.

Additional essential oils, such as limonene, found in these citric plants and especially high in the seeds, are also poisonous to cats as they cause liver damage. Overall, the peels and seeds of tangerines are the most toxic to cats and should be avoided at all times. Therefore, while accidental consumption of minute portions may be safe for your pet, it is, however, quite a risk to your cat's health in larger quantities.

Do Cats Love Tangerines?

There are many mesmerizing facts about cats you don’t know. So this then begs the question of whether your cat will fancy a citrus fruit when offered one. Expectedly, cats are repelled by the scent of citrus fruits. 

This feature is seen throughout the animal kingdom, where animals instinctively know what is potentially poisonous and can evade such foods from the scent alone. This natural protective mechanism comes into play for cats when presented with tangerines.

They are so repelled by the smell of tangerines that experts suggest that this could be used as a cat repellant to wade them away from unwanted areas as they do not care for the smell. 

However, just like humans, animals come in all shapes and sizes with pallets that vary across the species. Some cats have been seen to be quite unaffected by small portions of orange juice or the pulpy tangerine itself.

These rare cat variants can join in on your citrus breakfast adorably. This is usually seen only if the kitten is exposed to the citrus juice from an early age in low quantities. In this way, they can outgrow their aversion and adapt to enjoy the delightful treat.

It is also important to note is that while cats can tolerate some plant-based treats. They are obligate carnivores and are not ideally built to break down and digest plants, which may underlie most of your plant-based misfortunes.

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Do Cats Need Nutrients In Tangerines?

Citrus fruits' immunity-boosting benefits are lost on cats as they do not like or need citrus foods. Humans find sweet and alluring in the scent of citrus fruits; cats find pungent and repelling and go to great lengths to avoid. Even the sugary taste of fruits is lost on cats as their taste glands are not adapted to taste “sweet” as humans, and other omnivores do.

This lack of a sweet tooth means that the joy of tangerines is lost on them. However, unlike you, not to worry because your cat does not require daily vitamin C consumption as their bodies are beautifully adapted to synthesizing their ascorbic acid, assuming they are healthy. You thus shouldn’t worry as they make all the Vitamin C they need.

As for the antioxidants present in citrus foods, for your cat, there are other better ways to provide these than the administration of citrus fruits.

What Should I Do If My Cat Eats Tangerines?

The appropriate response to the consumption of tangerines by your cat lies in quantity consumed. For small quantities, it may simply be a game of watch and wait to see if your furry friend turns out just fine. However, suppose the situation escalates or severe citrus poisoning due to consumption of large quantities of tangerines.

In that case, it is prudent to take your cat to the veterinarian quickly. Symptoms of severe poisoning include drooling, prolonged vomiting, diarrhea, and weakness. The vet will respond appropriately, sometimes by inducing vomiting using hydrogen peroxide and subsequent administration of charcoal to absorb any remaining toxins.

Conclusion

Simply put, a treat for you may not always be a treat for your cat. Some fruits are safe for your cat, including bananas, apples, seedless watermelons, strawberries, and blueberries. In the case of tangerines, it is not simply an act in futility because it serves no nutritional purpose for your pet, but it is also toxic. It may present serious organ damage, including central nervous damage as well as kidney and liver damage.

Other behavioral changes that may be observed include depression, sensitivity to light, low energy, and appetite. These will generally self-resolve, but it might be good to consult your vet if they don't. So, as a general rule for your furry friend, steer clear of the fruit. Top of this list of fruit hazards is grapes and raisins but right up there alongside these is the family of citrus fruits to which tangerines belong.

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Mike Stiven
 

I'm a pet owner, blogger, and writer from the Massachusetts. I've worked at the Alpha Dog Training Center, a dog boarding and training facility, and also shared the knowledge garnered over the years with a good number of pet sites. As a firm believer that great care has to be given to pets, beside sharing my whole experience in this blog I also work as volunteer at pet stores during the weekend.

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