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Cats are very curious creatures. If you’ve ever found your cat on top of the counter then you know how curious they can be. Especially around new food and drinks. Early morning breakfast usually calls for a nice big glass of orange juice. But can cats drink orange juice?
The short answer is no. Cats should not drink orange juice or eat oranges. Cats are unable to digest oranges due to the lack of glucuronyl tranferase in their bodies which is needed to digest the essential oils found in oranges. A buildup of these oils can be very toxic to a cat.
Educating yourself about what to do if your cat ingests a dangerous amount of orange juice will help you understand what’s going on with your cat, and what to do next.
What to Do If Your Cat Drinks Orange Juice
Don’t call 911 and do not call the poison hotline. It isn’t that serious. Although it is serious enough for you to observe your cat for the next few hours. Anything your cat ingests takes time to go through their digestive system.
You will want to observe your cat to make sure that they aren’t having a bad reaction to the orange juice. If your cat has ingested enough orange juice then you may start to see symptoms of citrus poisoning. Although you may find that some holistic cat websites actually advocate that a small amount of essential oils will not harm your cat, I would highly proceed with caution.
It is always best to first seek advice from a medical professional before incorporating different forms of essential oils into your cat’s diet. It is up to you to decide if you want to give something to your cat that has no proven health benefits, but is regarded as safe only in small amounts and could potentially harm your cat.
Citrus Poisoning in Cats Can Be Fatal
If your cat drinks or eats a citrus fruit like an orange, they can experience symptoms like vomiting, drooling, diarrhea, and weakness. These are the most common symptoms of citrus poisoning in cats. Every cat will react differently depending on how much citrus their body can handle.
Your cat may even allergic dermatitis which is just a fancy word for skin irritation if they come in contact with citrus fruit. It’s lucky that this condition is rarely fatal, but it is definitely something to look out for if you find that your cat is somehow drawn to oranges or other citrus fruits and consumes them. If your cat is experiencing any of these symptoms you should immediately bring them to your veterinarian to be checked out for citrus poisoning.
There is no test to confirm if your cat is indeed experiencing citrus poisoning so it will be very important to be as descriptive as possible when explaining what happened with your vet. Try to include accurate amounts of how much your cat has ingested so they can have a good idea what they are dealing with.
Your vet may may try to induce your cat’s vomiting with a solution that is given to your cat orally. Once that treatment is finished, your vet may then give your cat activated charcoal to help absorb any leftover toxins in your cat’s body.
Citrus Scents Are a Natural Cat Repellent
Cats absolutely detest the smell of citrus fruits. Oranges and orange juice fits into this same category. There are even products on the market that are made solely to repel cats from certain areas and the main ingredients are indeed citrus scents and orange oils are present in almost all of them. Why do cats hate citrus scents in the first place?
This boils down to the receptors in their noses. To make a quick comparison, according to EasyologyPets, cats have an average of 45 to 80 million receptors in their nose while us humans only have about 5 million. That is a huge difference.
So you can be sure your cat can smell a lot more things than we can from very far distances. Smells that we do not find bad or fowl can be the complete opposite for your cat solely due to the fact that they are able to pick up on scents that we cannot.
Citrus scents have a very robust and strong scent to cats that can come off as assaulting to their sensitive noses. Your cat may make a weird face or suddenly move its head away after smelling something with a citrus scent. This is typically considered as normal.
Although citrus scents are a natural repellent, it isn’t uncommon to have a cat that is actually not deterred by its smell. This is the type of cat that may try to drink your morning glass of orange juice. If you notice your cat making weird faces or avoiding your orange juice altogether, then you won’t have to worry about your cat drinking it all while you’re away.
On the other hand, if your cat seems interested and wants to start drinking your juice, you may have to watch them a little more closely. Orange scent is not toxic to cats. It is only toxic when it is ingested. You can use this to your advantage to make a cat deterrent spray.
How to Make Your Own Citrus Scented Cat Repellent Using Oranges
Making your own citrus scented cat repellent with oranges can come in handy even if you don’t have a cat. You can spray this wherever you want to help ward of cats. This can be your garden, backyard, front door, window sills, car, or anything else you can think of where you are having issues with cats. This recipe is pretty simple and you will only need a few ingredients.
This is a list of what you will need:
- A Spray Bottle
- Orange Peels
- Medium Sized Pot
- Nylon Hose or Cheese Cloth (optional) – This is used wring out the orange peels as much as possible.
Take about 4-5 decent sized oranges to create about 12 oz. of spray. First go ahead and peel all of your oranges. To make them easier to peel, first score the oranges into quarters or thirds. Take the orange peels and place them all into a medium sized pot.
Fill the pot with just enough water to allow the peels to float at the top. This is the perfect amount of water. Place the pot on the stove and heat up the water to a nice boil. Let the orange peels boil in the water for 10 minutes to release the citrus oil. After 10 minutes drain out the water.
If you have cheese cloth or nylon hose you can then use it to try and wring out the orange peels as much as possible. Once the liquid has cooled, place it in a spray bottle and start spraying it wherever you like.
If your cat is attracted to oranges and orange juice then it would be a good idea to guard your drink the next time you pour yourself a big glass of orange juice.
There is no telling how much your cat needs to ingest in order to start showing symptoms of citrus toxicity so you’re better safe than sorry. If you feel your cat may have signs of citrus toxicity, take them to your vet as soon as possible to get checked out for possible treatment.