Do you enjoy using olive oil in your cooking and are now wondering, can cats eat olive oil without getting sick? And, are there any health benefits for them eating olive oil?
I can answer this question, explain the health benefits for cats, and give you some additional advice that might help if your cat suffers from constipation or passing hairballs – so please read on.
Is Olive Oil Poisonous to Cats?
First, let’s cover one of the questions that always come up when cat owners find out their cat has eaten some human food.
Olive oil is not poisonous to cats, so don’t panic if your kitty has stolen some.
It’s not toxic in any way, although for obvious reasons you should always make sure your cat can’t get their paws on too much.
Too much olive oil will almost certainly have a laxative effect which is unpleasant to deal with for your cat, and you if you have an indoor cat.
In the short-term, your cat will also end up feeling unwell and might be sick. In the long-term too much olive oil can lead to weight gain and other health issues, so stick to no more than a teaspoon as a treat on occasion.
Are There Health Benefits for Cats Eating Olive Oil?
It’s no secret that people who consume olive oil as a regular part of their diet such as those in the Mediterranean live longer and suffer from less heart disease.
This is largely due to Olive oil being rich in antioxidants, monounsaturated fats, fatty acids, and anti-inflammatory properties.
In fact, the FDA has issued a statement previously saying that eating 2 tablespoons of olive oil a day may reduce the risk of heart disease.
So, that’s my little pep talk for you and hopefully helped raise some more awareness for why you should be eating olive oil, but does all of this apply to cats too?
Some of these health benefits do, yes. Heart disease isn’t such as an issue with cats, especially if they eat a well-balanced diet of cat food.
But a little olive oil in their diets can help with weight loss due to the monounsaturated fats. The vitamins and polyphenols are also good for strengthening your cat’s immune system.
There are also some other benefits such as helping to relieve constipation and pass hairballs as I will explain in more detail below.
Some owners swear it helps improve the look and feel of their coats too.
How Much Olive Oil Should I Give My Cat?
I recommend giving your cat no more than a tablespoon of olive oil at a time, and no more than 3 times a week.
There is no real harm in giving them a bit more than this, but this is the amount I’ve always used and it’s worked out fine.
The best way to give it to your cat is by mixing it into their regular food. Give it a good mix so there are no oily bits and they’ll probably not even notice.
Is Extra Virgin Olive Oil Better than Regular for Cats Too?
You’ve probably heard that extra virgin olive oil is better for you than the regular olive oil. This is also true for cats.
Extra virgin olive oil is made using only natural methods to press the oil from the olives and goes through some additional quality control processes.
Regular olive oils often contain other oils and have been extracted from the olives using solvents and other chemicals to make the process less expensive and quicker.
I’m not even a foodie or an olive oil snob, but the differences between the two are huge. So, I always recommend that everyone uses extra virgin olive oil for themselves, and their cats.
Using Olive Oil to Help a Constipated Cat
A constipated cat is not a happy cat, as I’m sure you can sympathize if you’ve ever been constipated.
The main symptoms of feline constipation you’ll notice are usually:
- He/she is not eating (even their favorite treats)
- Retching or vomiting
- Meowing or showing signs of being in pain
- Trying to use their litter box (but not pooping)
If you suspect your cat is constipated, olive oil has been a long used home remedy. I’ve personally found it to be very effective so I’m happy to recommend it.
The olive oil works by softening the feces and allows it to pass. It’s safe, easy to use, and your cat will usually be back to pooping within a few hours.
How Much Olive Oil Should I Give My Cat for Constipation?
I have always used half a tablespoon of olive oil and this has helped my cats poop within 24 hours, usually with a few hours after eating it.
If your cat hasn’t pooped within 24 hours or they constantly keep having constipation issues you should seek the advice of your vet.
Using olive oil is only a solution for cats that are constipated occasionally and should work effectively for a healthy cat. But please don’t hesitate to see a vet if it’s not a quick solution.
Using Olive Oil to Help Pass Hairballs
Cat’s tongues are very rough, as I’m sure any cat owners is well aware of if their kitty has licked them.
Their tongues basically have lots of little hooks on that helps catch all the loose hairs and drag dirt and debris out of their coats when they groom themselves.
This results in your cat digesting a lot of fur. Another thing you’ll be well aware of is just how much fur cats shed, just think about how much they are digesting!
Some fur will pass through their digestive tract without issue. But some stays in their stomachs and forms into a ball of fur.
Hairballs, fur balls, or balls of fur as they are called have to come out. As yucky as it is to see happening, cats will vomit out these fur balls when they are large enough.
It’s completely normal and nothing to worry about. Some cats have difficulty passing these hairballs however.
If you see your cat coughing or retching and not passing the furball there are a couple of home remedies that helps them out, both of which I’ve used and know works.
One thing you can do is put a little butter on their paws. They will lick the butter off and the grease helps the hairball come out easier.
Or, you can give them a teaspoon of olive oil which does the same thing. Olive oil is even more effective in my experience, so I’d try this first.
In summary, cats can eat olive oil and there are some health benefits to them doing so.
I give my cats a spoon of olive oil 3 times a week mixed into their food. I used to only use it to help with constipation and as an occasional treat.
But giving it to them regularly has stopped all constipation issues, they pass hairballs easier, and I have to say that their coats look a look healthier.
Olive oil is one of few human foods that I recommend giving your cat occasionally. Give it a try for yourself and see what you kitty thinks!