Can Maine Coon Cats Eat Olive Oil?

PawperCare Team

Updated on:


Olive oil is a staple in many kitchens and is often praised for its health benefits for humans.

But what about our feline friends? Can cats eat olive oil? Is it safe or even beneficial for them?

In this post, we will answer these questions and more, based on the latest research and expert opinions.

Is Olive Oil Safe for Cats? 

The short answer is yes. 

Most cats can eat olive oil in small amounts. 

However, there are a few things you should consider and precautions you should take before you add olive oil to your cat’s food.

Olive oil is not considered toxic and is generally safe for most cats. 

This also applies to cat-safe foods you might have cooked with olive oil, like chicken. 

However, some spices and other recipe additions can be toxic to cats, so always check the ingredients before sharing your food with your kitty.

However, just because olive oil is safe for cats doesn’t mean it’s necessary or beneficial for them. 

Olive oil is 100% fat, which means it’s very high in calories. 

A single tablespoon of olive oil contains 124 calories, more than half the daily calorie intake for an average 10-pound cat. 

Feeding your cat too much olive oil can lead to obesity, a serious health problem for cats.

Moreover, olive oil doesn’t offer much nutritional value for cats besides vitamin E, vitamin K, and choline. 

It also contains mostly monounsaturated fatty acids, suitable for humans but not essential for cats. 

Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they need animal-based proteins and fats to thrive. 

They have evolved to use amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, as their main energy source. 

Olive oil contains no protein, so it won’t help your cat meet their nutritional needs.

Therefore, olive oil should be considered an occasional treat or supplement for cats rather than a regular part of their diet. 

If you want to feed your cat olive oil, make sure you consult your veterinarian first and follow their advice on the appropriate amount and frequency.

Why Do Cats Like Olive Oil?

Some cats may seem to love the taste of olive oil or enjoy interacting with you during treat time. 

Others may like the way they feel after eating olives or olive oil. 

That’s because olives, especially green ones, contain a chemical compound called oleuropein, similar to nepetalactone, the active ingredient in catnip.

Nepetalactone is a substance that stimulates the pheromone receptors in a cat’s vomeronasal organ, a special sensory organ located at the roof of the mouth. 

This organ helps cats detect pheromones, which are sex hormones that cats emit to communicate with other cats. 

When nepetalactone or oleuropein binds to these receptors, it can cause mind-altering effects that make some cats loopy, calm or agitated.

After consuming nepetalactone or oleuropein, your kitty may roll around, act sillier and more playful than usual and have dilated eyes. 

Not all cats react this way though; some may show no interest or response at all. 

The sensitivity to these compounds is inherited and affects about 50% of cats.

What Are the Health Benefits of Olive Oil? 

Olive oil is often touted as a healthy addition to human diets because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

It may help lower cholesterol levels, prevent cardiovascular diseases and protect against some types of cancer.

But do these benefits apply to cats too?

Little scientific evidence supports the claim that olive oil has significant cat health benefits.

Most studies on olive oil have been done on humans or other animals with different dietary and metabolic needs than cats.

While some of these benefits may be possible for cats too, they need to be proven or better understood.

However, some anecdotal reports suggest that olive oil may help some cats with certain health conditions or symptoms. These include:

  • Hairballs: Olive oil may act as a lubricant that helps hairballs pass through the digestive tract more easily.
  • Dandruff and skin problems: Olive oil may moisturize the skin and coat, reducing inflammation and itching.
  • Digestive or bowel issues: Olive oil may improve digestion and bowel movements by stimulating bile production and preventing constipation.
  • Arthritis: Olive oil may reduce joint pain and stiffness by decreasing inflammation and improving blood circulation.

These potential benefits are not guaranteed; they may vary depending on the individual cat’s health status, diet and lifestyle.

Also, olive oil is not a substitute for proper veterinary care; if your cat has any of these problems, you should consult your veterinarian and follow their treatment plan.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does It Work to Give Olive Oil to Cats Suffering from Frequent Hairballs?

Hairballs are a common problem for cats, especially long-haired breeds.

They occur when cats groom themselves and swallow loose hair, accumulating in their stomach and forming a ball.

Sometimes, these hairballs are vomited or passed in the feces, but other times they may get stuck and cause discomfort, nausea, loss of appetite or even intestinal blockage.

One of the home remedies that some cat owners use to prevent or treat hairballs is olive oil.

The idea is that olive oil can act as a lubricant that helps hairballs slide through the digestive tract more easily.

However, no scientific evidence supports this claim, and it may be ineffective or safe.

First of all, olive oil is not a natural part of a cat’s diet, and it may cause digestive upset or diarrhea if given in large amounts.

Secondly, olive oil may interfere with the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin A, D, E and K, which are essential for your cat’s health.

Thirdly, olive oil may not be enough to prevent or eliminate hairballs; it may only mask the symptoms or delay the problem.

A better way to deal with hairballs is to prevent them from forming in the first place. You can do this by:

  • Brushing your cat regularly to remove loose hair and reduce shedding.
  • Feeding your cat a high-quality, high-protein diet that supports healthy skin and coat.
  • Providing your cat with plenty of fresh water and a clean litter box encourages hydration and elimination.
  • Giving your cat a commercial hairball remedy containing natural fiber or petroleum jelly can help bind and expel hairballs. Always follow the instructions on the label and consult your veterinarian before using any product.

If your cat suffers from frequent or severe hairball problems, you should see your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Sometimes, hairballs may indicate an underlying condition, such as inflammatory bowel disease, parasites or cancer.

Is Olive Oil Good for Cats with Dandruff and Skin Problems? 

Dandruff is a condition that causes flakes of dead skin to appear on the coat.

Dry skin, allergies, infections, parasites or other factors may cause it.

Some cats may also have skin problems such as dermatitis, eczema or psoriasis, which cause inflammation, itching and irritation.

Some cat owners may try to use olive oil to treat dandruff and skin problems in their cats.

The rationale is that olive oil can moisturize the skin and coat and reduce inflammation and itching.

However, no scientific proof exists that olive oil can effectively treat these conditions in cats.

In fact, olive oil may do more harm than good in some cases. For example:

  • Olive oil may clog the pores and cause acne or folliculitis (inflammation of the hair follicles).
  • Olive oil may attract dirt and bacteria and increase the risk of infection.
  • Olive oil may make the coat greasy and dull and interfere with grooming.
  • Olive oil may trigger allergic reactions in some cats.

The best way to treat dandruff and skin problems in cats is to identify and eliminate the underlying cause.

This may require a visit to your veterinarian for a physical exam, skin tests and other diagnostics.

Depending on the diagnosis, your veterinarian may prescribe medications, supplements or special shampoos to treat the condition.

You can also help your cat by:

  • Feeding them a balanced diet containing omega-3 fatty acids can improve skin health and reduce inflammation.
  • Avoiding potential allergens or irritants in their food or environment.
  • Keep them indoors or provide shade and water if they go outside.
  • Reducing stress and boredom by providing them with toys, scratching posts and attention.

Is Olive Oil Good for Cats with Digestive or Bowel Issues? 

Digestive or bowel issues are common in cats and can have various causes, such as food intolerance, infection, parasites, stress or disease.

Some symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, gas or bloating.

Some cat owners may use olive oil as a home remedy for digestive or bowel issues in their cats.

The theory is that olive oil can improve digestion and bowel movements by stimulating bile production and preventing constipation.

However, there is no scientific evidence to back up this claim.

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