Can Cats Eat Olives?

Can cats eat olives? 

Yes, cats can eat olives as they are non-toxic to cats. Olives are packed with nutrients including calcium, iron, copper and vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant. A small amount of olive is safe for a cat to eat, but treat foods should only make up 10% of the cat’s diet, and therefore should be given as an occasional treat and should not be a part of the cat’s daily diet.

Olives contain isoprenoids, which is chemically similar to nepetalactone in catnip and may induce a high in some cats. 

Can cats consume olive oil? 

A small amount of olive oil can be added to a cat’s meal to help with constipation and hairballs and for healthy skin and fur.

Virgin olive oil has a number of nutritive and health promoting potentials due to oleic acid, which is a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid that makes up between 55-80% of olive oil.

In humans, oleic acid is known to reduce inflammation and is associated with a decrease in cardiovascular diseases.

What are olives?

Olives are the small fruit that grows on olive trees (Olea europaea), and are traditionally grown across the Meditteranean but are popular throughout the world. The fruit green or black, depending on when it is harvested and can be used to make olive oil, or cured in brine to remove their bitterness.

Once cured, olives may be eaten as they are, served in antipasto, added to salads (Greek salad contains olives), or as an ingredient in hot food. A single olive weighs between 3-5 grams.

Can all cats eat olives? 

No, not all cats can eat olives, this includes:

  • Cats on a prescription diet to manage or treat a medical condition
  • Cats on a calorie-restricted diet
  • Cats with a known allergy to olives
  • Cats with heart or kidney disease should not eat olives due to their high salt content
  • Cats who have had gastrointestinal signs (typically diarrhea) after consuming olives or olive oil

Safety

  • Always speak to your veterinarian before introducing new foods to cats as certain medications may make olives unsafe for cats.
  • Remove the pip to prevent choking and broken teeth.
  • Stuffed olives may contain pimiento peppers which are safe to eat, but do not feed olives which have been marinated in or contain garlic or onion as these are both extremely toxic to cats.