Cats can have strange behaviors sometimes, but have you seen how they behave when you give them an olive?
I have had cats all my life. I grew up with them, and when I start living on my own, the first thing I did was to adopt a cat. In all these years I have not seen a cat refuse an olive, green or black. The cat will roll on its back, throw the olive in the air, paw it, and play with it for minutes. Olives do make a great cat toy! What a crazy view! Then they will usually leave it somewhere under the sofa when it is no longer of interest, but I have seen cases when the cat ate the olive or swallow its pit.
There must be something with the olives that makes them so attractive to cats, but
Can cats eat green or black olives?
In general, olives are not considered being toxic to cats. Therefore, your cat can eat green or black olives, but only the flesh because the olive brine (juice) can cause sodium intoxication, and with the olive pit, your cat might choke. Give them olives with moderation, as you do with any other snacks or treats because, in the long run, they can cause more harm than good.
Added to pizza or certain foods or eaten as such (in brine or oil), olives are a real delight for people. They cannot be eaten directly from the tree. In order to be consumed, they must be processed.
Besides the good taste, they also have countless benefits for the body, being considered one of the most nutritious ingredients. Olives are rich in vitamins, omega fatty acids (3, 6, and 9), and trace elements (potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, copper, sulfur, calcium, iodine), being auspicious in cardiovascular diseases, to prevent cancer, for hair and skin health, bones and connective tissue health, digestive tract health, and others.
When it comes to cats, many owners can confirm that their pets “go crazy” when they see an olive, but no one can explain this strange love. But still, why do cats love olives?
There are several theories about why cats like olives. One of them is that cats can easily “smell” all the nutrients in the olive. As I mentioned earlier, olives are full of nutritious elements such as vitamins, omega acids, etc.
Another theory would be that the oval-round shape of the olive makes it a good toy for them, rolling it happily on the floor before eating it.
Euphoric Reaction From Olives
The third and most interesting theory, in my opinion, is that olives emit substances similar to catnip. Green olives contain isoprenoids (terpenes) that are structurally similar to the active chemicals in catnip. The chemicals in the essential oils of these plants bind to the receptors in the cat’s vomeronasal organ. This organ (also called Jacobson’s organ), is an auxiliary olfactory organ and is also present in some amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. The vomeronasal organ is located in the soft tissue of the nasal septum in the nasal cavity. Its function is to retrieve the odor molecules when an individual inhales through the mouth. With this organ, an animal can sense certain “aromas” such as pheromones (chemicals that carry information between individuals of the same species) that are used to marking territories (through urine spraying or scent glands).
That is why some cats show a great interest in the bark of the olive tree. In the countries where these plants grow, cats are often seen rubbing against the bark of the tree or they are actually eating the bark itself, manifesting as when they are near valerian or catnip.
Are Green and Black Olives Good For Cats?
Green and black olives are not part of two different olive species; they represent the fruit of the same tree but at different stages of ripening. In other words, green olives are the unripe fruits of the olive tree, while black olives are the extra-ripe fruits.
In addition to color, the differences between green and black olives are nutritional – the riper they are, the richer in fat. Green olives contain oleuropein, a substance that has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anticancer properties, but makes them bitter, and in order to be eaten, they must be kept in an alkaline sodium hydroxide solution for 8-72 hours. This solution neutralizes oleuropein. Regardless of their color, olives are placed in brine or oil so that they can be stored longer.
Black olives contain 3-4 times less hydroxytyrosol than green olives. This chemical compound is one of the most powerful antioxidants available and is found in olive pulp and olive leaves. It has strong antioxidant properties, helping neutralize free radicals, and is one of the main components of virgin olive oil.
Compared to olive oil, olives as such, regardless of color, are richer in antioxidants and lower in calories. Olive oil is a kind of fat essence extracted from olives – a tablespoon of oil is equivalent to 25 olives.
Regarding cats, vitamins C and E from olives help neutralize the free radicals in their bodies, and prevent the development of a large number of pathologies, including cancer. A fiber, rich in olives, cleanses the organism of toxins and cholesterol. Given that the frequency of heart disease in cats is high, olives can be beneficial. Olives also contain phosphorus, which is necessary for cats not only for the strength of bones and teeth but also for the process of transforming nutrients such as fats and carbohydrates into energy. Without energy, the cat will be lethargic.
Can I Give My Cat Olives?
Despite the benefits that olives have, they can be harmful to pets. Canned green olives contain in addition to spices, sodium hydroxide, and black olives contain iron gluconate. These components plus brine can adversely affect the cat’s body, overloading its heart and kidneys. Excess iron can also lead to coronary heart diseases in pets.
Olives that contain different fillings (shrimp, peppers, tuna, etc.) are no less harmful than simple ones. Usually, the fish paste with which the olives are filled contains chemical flavors and gelatin.
The cat’s organism can respond to the consumption of olives through:
– disruption of the gastrointestinal tract;
– stomach ache;
– development of inflammatory processes in the digestive system;
– the appearance of an allergic reaction.
In this case, the cat may become lethargic or very agitated.
Therefore, to the question of whether you can give olives to your cat, the answer will be quite negative. Even canned olives contain large amounts of vinegar and salt. And these ingredients in cats lead to fluid retention in the body, as well as disruption of the renal and cardiovascular system.
How Many Olives Is It Safe To Give A Cat?
Even if it is fun to watch a cat “go crazy” for the brine from the olives or the olive itself, it must be understood that a cat can get more discomfort than pleasure if it eats olives. Most of the time, after the euphoria passes, the cat will have the following clinical signs: abdominal spasms (in the stomach and intestines), bloating, and/or nausea, these being among the most common symptoms.
Even if they feel ill, their love for olives will not pass, so it is better to understand that these delicacies must be given in moderation. If a cat eats olives regularly, in addition to its usual diet, it can cause an excess of vitamins and minerals in the body. This condition can be much more dangerous than other nutritional deficiencies.
Therefore, it is worth remembering that the maximum daily amount of olives consumed by an adult person should not exceed 10 small olives per serving. And if your cat love olives, better keep them as a rare treat instead of giving them on a regular basis – you can give your cat maximum 2 small olives per day.
Can Cats Have Kalamata Or Manzanilla Olives?
Kalamata olives have a higher intake of nutrients than black olives; they contain antioxidants that are known to help prevent chronic diseases such as cancer. They are also full of monounsaturated fats that help reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, and optimize overall health.
These can be given occasionally to your cat, keeping in mind the high sodium intake they have.
Manzanilla olives are an assortment of green olives, originating in Spain. Along with the Liguria, Alfonso, and Godal varieties, Manzanilla olives are also relatively safe for consumption by your cat.
Feeding Vegetables to Cats
Even if cats can eat olives, it is important to offer them with caution, as they can have negative effects on your cat’s health.
It should be noted that cats are true carnivores and eat only meat-based diets. Therefore, vegetables, including olives, are not part of their natural diet. The nutritious ingredients found in olives are commonly found the in meat cats eat.
In other words, although olives have some benefits for humans, for cats they are insignificant, and most of the nutrients found in olives are found in cat food. Therefore, they should be offered as a reward from time to time and will not replace a proper diet for your cat.
Additional FAQ’s :
Can cats eat olive oil/extra virgin olive oil?
Because pure olive oil comes from fresh olives, it will be very healthy and will help your cat burn fat and relieve constipation. Constipation is a very common medical problem in cats and is often overlooked. Cats suffering from constipation will have difficulty defecating. This problem, although insignificant, can even lead to death. Olive oil can be a good remedy for this medical condition, as it will stimulate bowel movements and make the stool softer, allowing the cat to defecate. Olive oil is also good for the coat, making it look shinier, due to its moisturizing properties. One tablespoon of olive oil over the cat’s food once per week should be enough.
Is olive juice (brine) ok for cats?
Cats need only a few grams of salt in their diet. Olive brine contains a lot of sodium. If the maximum amount of sodium in a cat’s diet is exceeded, then salt poisoning will occur. Salt intoxication has the following clinical signs: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, incoordination, lethargy, excessive thirst, excessive urination, and in more severe cases tremor, seizures, coma, and even the animal’s death.
That is why it is recommended that canned olive juice Not be given to the cat for consumption.
Are olive leaves and branches poisonous to cats?
Cats that live in countries where the olive trees grow, love to chew their leaves or branches. They pose no danger to cats, being as healthy as they are to humans.
Olive leaf extract is also used as an antiviral and antimicrobial to treat various types of infections in cats such as feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV).
What happens if a cat eats olive pits?
Olive pits should always be removed before giving your cat an olive. In case you forgot and still gave the cat a pitted olive, you do not have to worry because it is not toxic to your cat. Many times, the olive pit will be eliminated along with the feces, but there are cases when it can cause intestinal blockage. Also, your cat may choke with the pit, causing breathing difficulties. In this case, the only recommendation is to take your cat to the veterinary clinic as soon as possible, being considered a medical emergency.
Why do cats love olive wood?
Olive wood contains isoprenoids (also known as terpenoids), which are a large and diverse class of natural organic chemicals derived from the chemical compound isoprene. This compound has a structure similar to the active chemicals in catnip, producing the same euphoric effect in cats.Most cats chew the wood or rub against the bark of trees. Do not allow your cat to chew large pieces of wood at once as there is a danger of choking and suffocating.
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Olives Major Benefits And Disadvantages For Cats
Olives are not toxic to cats. They can be eaten by cats, but in moderation, as you do with treats and snacks.
Even if they are full of essential nutrients, especially the Kalamata variety, excessive consumption can lead to various medical problems, such as digestive problems, allergies, or sodium (salt) poisoning.
As for olive oil, it should also be administered in small amounts, one tablespoon over the cat’s food being sufficient.
Be careful with the high levels of sodium in olives!
I hope this article removes any doubts and questions you may have had about cats and olives.
Please share your experience regarding the topic in the Comment Section below!
Happy Cat Care!