Can Cats Eat Olives? Can Cats Get Some Health Benefits from Olives?

Can Cats Eat Olives

Olives are just like catnips for cats – their scent is like a drug to them. It’s addictive. As cat owners, we can’t help but think of the possibilities that our cats might also enjoy eating them as much as they love sniffing their distinct smell. But, can cats eat olives?

Can Cats Eat Olives? Is It Safe For Them?

Olives are not toxic to cats. So, technically, it’s just fine to give your cats olives in moderation. While olives are not poisonous to cats, you should also not disregard the health and safety risks that come along in sharing these salty snacks with your feline friend.

Also, just because olives are not toxic to cats doesn’t mean that you should give these foods to them. Nonetheless, it’s still good to know that your cat would just be fine just in case he eats a piece of olive that fell on the floor.

Moreover, olives are just empty calories for cats. Although they contain nutrients that we humans, can benefit from, we could not say the same thing with cats. They get nothing from eating olives instead of calories packed with some nutrients that they can easily get from high-quality cat foods.

So, while it is safe to feed your cat olives, it’s not really advisable. But, if your cat is in good health, he loves eating them and their bodies can tolerate the olives well, then, feel free to give these fruits to them as treats. As always, bear in mind that treats should only account for 10% of your cat’s total daily caloric intake.

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Why Do Cats Love Olives?

There are no studies that could answer this question scientifically, but there are some theories that we can rely on. And on top of the reasons why cats go crazy for olives is because they love the sensation after eating it, which is similar to what they experience after licking catnips.

And this is because olives, particularly green olives, contain a compound that has similar structural components to a chemical compound found in catnip called nepetalactone. This active compound is believed to be the one responsible for the silly behavior of cats after they consume the leaves, stems, and flowers of catnip.

As a cat pet parent, you have probably given catnips to your feline companions before. So, you also know what we are talking about here, you can also vouch that they do love catnips. And since olives contain a compound similar to the nepetalactone found in catnips, it just goes to show that olives can also be an alternative to catnips if you don’t have the latter.  

But, how does this compound work? And why does it cause a trancelike behavior in cats similar to humans after taking psychoactive drugs?

It turns out that nepetalactone affects the vomeronasal organ of a cat. Most scientists agree that this organ is not present in humans; but most mammals, including cats, have it. It can be found at the top back of their throat, and it functions as a nose-brain that enables cats to detect pheromones.

Pheromones are sex hormones that cats release when they are in heat to let other cats know that they are ready to breed.

Obviously, catnips and olives don’t have pheromones, but they have nepetalactone and nepetalactone-like compounds, respectively.

And this chemical compound stimulates the pheromone receptors in a cat’s vomeronasal organ, causing a mind-altering and trance-like reaction similar to what you see when your cats are in heat. In particular, you will notice your cat will roll around, will act silly, and his eyes will be dilated.

So, this explains why your cat behaves like they are in heat after consuming catnips. Again, this is one of the reasons why some cats are hook to olives because they contain a chemical compound similar to nepetalactone found in catnips.

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When Are Olives Bad for Cats?

Just like any other human food, olives become bad for cats when they consume a lot in a short time. Giving your cat less than one whole olive a couple of times in a week should just be fine. A tiny snack of green or black olives is just okay as long as your cat can tolerate it and he doesn’t exhibit any untoward reactions.

If your cat already has an underlying health problem, it’s best not to give him olives even in small amounts or as treats. As mentioned earlier, olives are just empty calories for cats. And in addition, many olives are soaked in spices, salt, and other ingredients that can be harmful to felines.

Bear in mind that when you are feeding your cats olives, you are also exposing him to the negative health effects of these ingredients. As pet parents, we are pretty sure that you are aware that it’s dangerous for cats to have high sodium content in their diet.

If your cat’s body absorbs a lot of sodium from his foods, he may suffer from sodium toxicity or poisoning, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, kidney injuries, seizures, body weakness, and even death. Hence, if you are thinking of buying olives for your cat, make sure to always read the label.

Ideally, in serving olives to your feline buddy, it’s best to chop or grind them to make them easier to chew and digest. And don’t forget to remove the olive pit since this can be a choking hazard.

Olives are also high in fat. So, giving these treats to your cat regularly can increase his chances of getting feline obesity, which can only cause a series of health complications to your cat.

Additionally, if your cat has been diagnosed with diabetes, you should avoid giving him olives at all. This is because olives are known to cause insulin sensitivity in felines.

Can Cats Get Some Health Benefits from Olives?

Cats, unlike dogs and other mammals, are obligate carnivores. They are not omnivores, so, they can’t process the nutrients from plants efficiently the way that they can with meats. As such, while we can enjoy the health benefits from eating olives, our cats cannot.

The nutrients that your cats need – vitamin A, vitamin C, minerals, antioxidants – are all in their primary food source, which is none other than meats.

Besides, no matter how nutritious olives are – your cat can’t also absorb the essential nutrients that they contain. If you are worried that your cat may need a special diet, feel free to schedule an appointment with your vet.

And if you just want to add variation to your cat’s daily menu, we suggest that you alternate olives with other human foods that are safe for them. Or you can simply purchase high-quality cat foods and cat treats at your local pet store.

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What is the Difference Between Black Olives and Green Olives?

Olives are a staple ingredient to several household recipes – from pasta, pizzas, salads, sandwiches, and a lot more. The primary difference between black and green olives relies on when they were picked and how they were stored.

As the color green implies just like with other fruits, green olives are unripe and then cured, while black olives are ripened before they were picked.

Green olives are meant to be eaten raw than cooked, and they have a distinct tangy and salty taste due to brining. In most cases, they are even stuffed with pimentos, almonds, garlic, and onions.

On the other hand, black olives have a slightly fruity taste, and nutrition-wise, they are richer in antioxidants, while green olives have higher sodium content.

Can Cats Eat Green Olives?

Yes, cats can eat green olives, but in a lesser amount considering that they have higher sodium concentrations than black olives.

And of course, you should avoid giving your cat green olives that are stuffed with ingredients that are toxic for him, such as garlic and onions.  

If your cats are more inclined to eating green olives than black olives, it’s probably due to isoprenoids and pimentos, which have a similar chemical composition with nepetalactone.

In that case, it might be better to just give your cats some catnip since it’s somewhat clear that they are simply up to the mind-altering sensation which is typical with catnips and green olives.

Can Cats Have Olive Oil?

Olive oil is considered a healthy part of our diet. In fact, despite their higher price tag, health-conscious individuals prefer it more than the regular oils. But, can you drizzle olive oil into your cat’s food?

Well, yes, you can. However, just like with any food and food component that isn’t made for cats, you should just limit the amount.

Consuming too much olive oil or any fat can also cause vomiting and diarrhea in cats; so again, the key is to give it in moderation (if you really want/have to).

Final Thoughts 

There’s nothing in olives that makes them a must-have addition to your cat’s diet. These fruits don’t offer any significant benefit to cats, so, it’s best to avoid them as much as possible. Or if your cat really loves them, you can try buying them some olive-flavored treats, instead. 

Again, one major concern with olives is sodium toxicity because of their high sodium content as a result of brining. Hence, olives are not a healthy treat for cats, especially for those with underlying problems with the heart and kidneys.

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Bonus Recipes

We have put in the extra effort and put together 3 easy yet tasty recipes which you could share with you feline buddy while using Olive oil. Enjoy!

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Salmon and Catnip Cat Treat Croutons

Becky Hardin
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 25 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 15 oz Bag or canned tuna  drained
  • 1 cup Coconut flour for a stickier, thicker consistency, you can use whole wheat flour or oat flour. those flours might work better if you want to roll these into balls. if making the crouton shape, the coconut flour works just fine
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil extra light
  • 1 tbsp Dried catnip
  • 1 Egg
  • 1-2 tbsp Water  add more water if you want the dough a bit stickier

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • Combine drained tuna, egg, coconut flour, water, olive oil, and catnip. Blend in a food processor until mixture is smooth and completely combined.
  • The mixture is different than normal dough. It is not very sticky and is a bit powdery.
  • Pinch or roll pieces of the dough into "croutons" and place on baking sheet.
  • Bake cookies for 12 – 15 minutes until they are dried on top and browned. It's okay for them to be slightly burned, you want them crunchy!
  • Allow cooling completely.
  • These will store in your fridge for about a week. Since they contain egg and tuna, you shouldn't keep them longer than that. Store in an airtight container.
  • Enjoy!
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Fee's Special KItty Diet

Sandi from CA
RENAL/KIDNEY/DIABETES DIET
Servings 1 cup

Ingredients
  

  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 tbsp Cooked green beans finely minced
  • 2 tsp Carrots (if you substitute other vegetables, avoid those with a higher natural sugar content) finely minced
  • 2 tbsp Baked chicken breasts, minced (no skin)
  • 2/3 cup Brown rice, cooked and cooled (unrefined, wild rice is good)
  • 1-2 tbsp Olive oil (according to how moist your cat prefers his or her food. Olive oil is good for preventing hair balls)

Instructions
 

  • Mix all of the ingredients thoroughly. The rice must be mixed in well because cats are most likely to retrieve all that ISN'T rice from the dish.
  • Cook in a medium skillet over low heat, stirring constantly, until the egg is at least soft-set but done.
  • Refrigerate or freeze in air-tight containers (Tupperware, Rubbermaid, Ziploc). Use the refrigerated portions within 36 hours.
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Cat Food Gravy Recipe

Jerry Pank (Cookipedia)
Prep Time 1 hr 15 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs 10 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 25 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 450 g Pork ribs
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 1 medium Carrot quartered lengthwise & chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1.5 pints Water beef oxo +1 teaspoon chick stock powder
  • 1 tin Tomatoes chopped
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp Parsley chopped
  • 1" Rosemary sprig

Instructions
 

  • Trim the ribs of any excess fat.
  • Using the pressure cooker as a saucepan, heat it up, add the olive oil and a pinch of ground black pepper.
  • Brown the ribs for 5 minutes, turning them often.
  • Remove the ribs and set to one side.
  • Add the butter, yes, I know! It is a treat. Sauté the butter for a minute or so, don't allow it to burn.
  • Add the stock, the ribs and the remaining ingredients and stir well.
  • Place the lid on the pressure cooker, bring to 15 psi or high and cook for 2 hours.
  • Allow the pressure to reduce by the natural release method.
  • Separate the meat from the bones and add back to the gravy.
  • Remove and discard any bones, the rosemary sprig and the bay leaf.
  • Carefully check for any softer bones that may have disintegrated during the cooking process.
  • Allow to cool completely and skim and discard any fat. There was no surface fat when I cooked this though.
  • Add to a food processor and blend to a rough puree.
  • Store in the fridge or freeze in batches for later use.

Notes

  • This could be cooked in a slow-cooker on low for about 6 hours. Brown the ribs in a separate pan if you do this.
  • You can also use pork shank.

Is it safe for cats to eat olives?

In general, olives are not a dangerous food for cats; they're considered safe for them to consume in very small quantities.

Do olives make cats high?

Yes, some cats will get a euphoric reaction, similar to catnip. Olives actually have chemicals that are similar to catnip, but this is from the scent and not the taste.

Do cats like kalamata olives?

If you give your cat olive oil, you need to do so in moderation as well. A tablespoon is enough for your little feline friend. You can as well sprinkle it over his food just to give it a little nutritional value. Olives like the Kalamata olives are healthy for your cat.

Why do cats love olives?

Cats like green olives because they contain the chemicals isoprenoids and pimentos, which have similar chemical makeups to the ingredients found in catnip. Cats are more obsessed with the smell of the olive juice opposed to the taste, which is why some cats will just play with the olive like a cat toy.

  • Updated July 7, 2021
Mary Nielsen
 

A huge animal lover, born and raised around dogs, cats, chickens... Self-educated pet care nerd. Currently parent of three adopted cats and one small mutt. Animal adoption advocate. Loves a good book (about animals) and playing the piano.