Does your cat get super excited every time you open a jar of olives? Can it recognize the scent from a mile away? This common behavior often surprises new cat parents. But don’t worry, it’s a perfectly normal feline response.
Why Do Cats Like Green Olives?
Your cat loves green olives for the same reason it likes catnip. These unassuming fruits contain some of the same chemicals as the infamous cat drug, specifically isoprenoids and pimentos.
The compounds target the happy receptors in your cat’s brain, making it dazed and mellow. That means your feline may roll around, flip over, rub itself against objects, or become extremely excited.
Often, the aroma of the olive will be more appealing to a cat than its taste. Cats are carnivores, after all, and will not go out of their way to eat fruits and vegetables. So your pet may simply push it around playfully instead of eating it. Either way, give your cat a green olive, and it’ll make its day.
Can Cats Eat Green Olives?
On occasion, green olives can make a healthy yet fun treat for your feline companion. Olives are not toxic and offer no health risks for your pet cat. Look for plain and unsalted options if you’re thinking of using them as a treat.
The canned varieties that stock your pantry may have additives that could harm your cat. And while the olives themselves aren’t bad, over-imbibing may give your pet diarrhea.
Keep in mind that olives don’t have any nutritional value and can by no means replace traditional cat food options. However, certain brands of dry foods come in olive flavors, so if your feline is obsessed with the flavor, you may want to check those out.
That said, most cats will simply play around with their olives instead of eating them, so make sure your pet finds the taste appealing in the first place.
How Often Can Cats Eat Olives?
If your cat loves eating olives, you’ll want to make sure you’re feeding it in appropriate amounts.
Typically, you can feed adult cats half an olive two or three times a week. Of course, that’s for small olives. With bigger ones, you may want to use a quarter portion at one time.
Generally speaking, your feline’s snack intake should add up to less than 10 percent of its regular food-based calorie requirements. If you think cutting up the olive will take the fun out of your cat’s treat, try some discrete observation first.
Hand them a green olive and watch them play with it. Chances are they’ll bat it around for a long time and eventually start nibbling on it. This gives you the opportunity to notice how much they end up eating.
As long as you’re managing its intake and paying close attention to what it is doing with its treat, there’s no reason you can’t give it a whole olive. If you’re still worried, try checking in with your vet first.
Are Olives Unhealthy for Cats?
In their raw, unprocessed form, olives do not harm your cat’s health. However, many people make the mistake of feeding their pets store-bought, canned varieties that can cause multiple health risks.
Most olives are cured in brine to remove their natural bitterness. The mixture itself has a high sodium percentage, which leaves the finished product exceptionally salty. If you’ve ever eaten store-bought olives, you’ll know how true this is.
When your cat eats a lot of olives and hence ingests all that salt, it can get sodium poisoning, the symptoms of which include vomiting, constipation, digestive issues, and diarrhea.
Will washing olives, should we get rid of the salt content? Absolutely not. No matter how thoroughly you wash the olives, it will only get rid of the top layer of salt, not the sodium that has seeped into them and altered their taste.
Now you might be wondering, are raw olives okay to feed to your cat? For the most part, yes. However, green olives come with pits, and if your cat is chewing on the olive, it may choke on this pit. This isn’t usually a problem since cats will mostly play around, claw at, or slightly chew the olive and rarely ever get to the pit.
However, you should be aware of this potential harm and supervise your pet closely. If you’re feeding your cat whole olives, remove the pit beforehand.
Finally, cats that have been diagnosed with diabetes should not be eating olives because of the potential for insulin sensitivity. The same is the case for cats with kidney or heart conditions.
Are Olive Pits Dangerous?
The pits in green and black olives are a choking hazard for your cat. That said, they are not toxic. If your cat ingests an olive pit, you don’t need to worry because the pit will simply pass through. You’ll probably find it in your kitty’s litter in a day or two.
Can Cats Eat Olive Oil?
If your pet is turning its nose up at the cat food in its bowl, you may need to do something to entice it.
The scent of olive oil can attract a cat to its food. You can also use it as a treat to reward good behavior as long as it is in moderation. One tsp a few times a week is an acceptable amount.
Olive oil is not toxic for cats and does not present a risk to your cat’s health.
Green olives are not toxic for your cat. However, you need to make sure you:
- remove the pits since they can be a choking hazard
- feed it less than 2 small olives over the course of a week
- do not purchase olives that have been kept in brine, as you risk giving your cat sodium poisoning
- are not using the treat excessively or as a replacement for regular food since olives have no nutritional value for your cat
Finally, note that all these tips are for healthy, adult cats. Pets that suffer from diabetes, heart, or kidney conditions should not be fed olives. If your cat has prior health conditions, consult your vet before making any changes to its diet.