Orange can refer to a number of citrus plants as well as the fruits produced by those citrus plants. Generally speaking, the term means sweet oranges, which would be the fruits that should be most familiar to most people out there. However, the term can mean other fruits of considerable importance as well, with one example being bitter oranges and another example being mandarin oranges. Unfortunately, keeping track of which oranges are which can be rather challenging, not least because the classification of oranges as well as other citrus fruits can be a very controversial topic. This can be blamed on the fact that most citrus plants are interfertile with one another. As such, there is a huge number of hybrids and cultivars with complicated origins, with an excellent example being how sweet oranges are about 42 percent pomelo and 58 percent mandarin orange.
In any case, oranges have been an important fruit for a very long time. As far as we can tell, oranges originated somewhere in the region that encompasses Southern China, Northeastern India, and Myanmar. Due to this, the first mention of them can be found in Chinese literature from 314 BC. From there, oranges spread to the Eastern Mediterranean, which was followed by it spreading to North Africa and then the Iberian Peninsula because of Muslim conquerors. In time, the Spanish introduced oranges to the Americas. Meanwhile, such fruits became popular in early modern Europe as well, so much so that it was common to see dedicated rooms and buildings called orangeries that could be used to protect the trees that bore them in fashionable European residences from the 17th to the 19th centuries. As a result, oranges are now everywhere in the modern world with no sign that this will change anytime soon.
Can Cats Eat Oranges?
For cat owners, this can be a problem because cats cannot eat oranges. This isn’t a matter of nutrition. Instead, oranges are outright poisonous for cats, though there is one small consolation in that the consumption of oranges isn’t fatal for cats in most cases. For those who are curious, they should know that oranges are poisonous for cats because of their essential oils. As a result, the flesh of the orange is the least harmful part of the fruit for them, though it is important to note that this isn’t the same as harmless. Meanwhile, the skin of the orange contains more essential oils, thus making it that much more dangerous.
Consuming a small amount of the essential oils is still enough to cause some serious issues for cats. In particular, gastrointestinal distress is very common, meaning that cat owners should watch out for diarrhea as well as vomiting. However, there are other symptoms that can show up as well, with examples including but not limited to drooling, trembling, and a sense of weakness. On top of this, there have been cases in which the consumption of oranges caused what looked like depression in the cat. Even skin contact can cause a kind of skin irritation called allergic dermatitis. The more essential oils that cats have consumed, the more serious the symptoms that will show up.
Some cat owners might be curious about what would happen if their cats consumed other citrus fruits. If so, they should know that oranges share a lot of the same contents as other citrus fruits, which happen to include those that are harmful to cats. As such, cat owners should make it a rule of thumb to never feed their cats any kind of citrus fruit because it is much better to be safe than sorry. This is particularly true because there are some citrus fruits that contain more of the harmful substances than oranges, thus making them that much more dangerous for cats.
What Should You Do If Your Cat Eats an Orange?
Cats have an excellent sense of smell. As a result, it is perhaps unsurprising to learn that they don’t like the smell of citrus fruits very much, seeing as how citrus fruits are poisonous to them. In fact, this information is so commonly known that a lot of people have been known to use the smell of citrus fruits to discourage cats from doing undesirable things. Thanks to this, cats tend not to go around munching on citrus fruits. Unfortunately, this is not true 100 percent of the time under 100 percent of potential circumstances. For that matter, it should be mentioned that we don’t always consume oranges as they are. Instead, it is very common for us to process oranges into other edible forms, meaning that their smell isn’t guaranteed to remain the same. In any case, the important point is that cat owners need to keep a watchful eye out for their cats eating citrus fruits.
If cat owners see any of the aforementioned symptoms, they should contact their veterinarian as soon as possible. Once they have done so, they should do their best to provide their veterinarian with as much information as possible. By doing so, they can give their veterinarian a clearer idea of what has happened, thus making it that much easier for them to figure out the right course of action before carrying it out. Sometimes, the case will be mild enough that the cat owner won’t have to bring their cat in. Other times, the veterinarian will need to provide treatment. For topical cases, this might mean a bath to remove the problematic substances followed by the application of a corticosteroid if inflammation has already broken out. Meanwhile, if the cat has consumed citrus fruit, the veterinarian might feed them something to get them to vomit it out before following it with either activated charcoal or some other method to clean up the rest of the problematic substances in their stomach. It is also possible that the veterinarian will have to use an IV to administer fluids because the cat’s diarrhea plus vomiting can cause them to become dehydrated.
On a final note, cat owners should never assume that what is fine for them to consume will be fine for their cats to consume. If they are ever curious on the matter, they should consult their veterinarian to make sure that a particular food is fine for their cats before proceeding with any kind of feeding.