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Cats And Olive Oil: Use And Potential Dangers

Cats And Olive Oil: Use And Potential Dangers

Olive oil, as the name itself suggests, is obtained from pressing whole olives. This oil is known to have numerous benefits for people.

It has anti-inflammatory properties and improves a human’s blood pressure. It’s also rich in mono-unsaturated fats, protects against chronic diseases, and improves heart health.

Since this oil contains vitamins and antioxidants, it’s great for moisturizing dry skin. 

People with constipation problems can also benefit from taking a tablespoon of olive oil on empty stomach first thing in the morning. The fats in the oil soften the inside of the bowel and help stool to pass.

It sounds like it does wonders for humans, but, what about cats and olive oil? Should your cat consume olive oil? And for what purposes?

Let’s find out whether olive oil is something your cat should avoid, or perhaps something that should be a part of its diet.

Can Cats Consume Olive Oil?

cat smelling olive oil in the glass

In general, olive oil isn’t toxic for cats, meaning that it isn’t necessary to entirely prevent your cat from ever licking it.

However, while olive oil is safe for felines, it’s not advisable for them to consume it regularly.

Consuming too much olive oil, which is basically fat, can cause digestive issues in your cat, such as vomiting and diarrhea.

In case you use olive oil in cooking, and your cat licks some of your food, this isn’t dangerous for your cat. It’s just not recommended for cats to eat it too often.

Your cat’s diet should be high in protein and low in carbohydrates, and olive oil is primarily a calorie-dense fat.

Our feline friends don’t actually need this type of calories. Moreover, consuming food rich in olive oil can even contribute to excess weight in cats.

As Malin Öhlund and his associates [1] explain, the prevalence of obesity in felines ranges from 7% to 63% in different populations.

Weight issues can significantly decrease your cat’s quality of life, so, you should do your best to keep it at an ideal body weight.

Should You Use Olive Oil On Your Cat’s Coat?

white cat with olive oil

Every cat is skillful in grooming their own fur. Still, some of them will, for different reasons, show an unhealthy coat look.

I recommend you take your cat to a veterinarian whenever you notice any changes in your pet’s coat and skin.

Still, olive oil is something most of you probably have at home and can come in handy with this issue. Let’s look at the three coat situations where olive oil can be very helpful.

1. Matted Fur

Matted fur means that a cat’s coat has become severely entangled and knotted. This not only looks bad, but can be very painful and dangerous for a cat’s well-being.

Take a look at the video below to get an idea of what a seriously matted coat looks like.

You can try to brush out the mats fur by using a mat breaker. However, your cat is likely to be upset and won’t let you do this. A thing you can try with this problem is olive oil.

The Olive Oil page suggests how you should use a syringe and apply olive oil to the mats on your cat’s coat.

Then you should rub it in gently. It’s necessary to repeat the process for three to four days in a row. 

The olive oil will soften up mats and will cause them to fall off after a couple of applications. 

2. Hairballs

Many cats struggle with hairballs. 

Since they spend so much time grooming their furs, most of them will occasionally swallow some of the hair. 

This hair can turn into balls in a cat’s stomach. You’ll probably see your cat gagging and trying to vomit, and then it will expel a hairball.

Still, hairballs can become a serious problem if they appear often, which can indicate that a cat may have a problem in its gastrointestinal tract.

It’s a good idea to consult a veterinarian if you notice your kitty often struggles with hairballs. You can also consider adding one teaspoon of olive oil to your cat’s meal once a week.

This amount won’t harm your cat and can lubricate its digestive system and help it pass hairballs easily. 

3. Dry Skin

Adding a teaspoon of olive oil once or twice a week to your cat’s diet can help moisturize its skin and alleviate irritation.

This is possible because olive oil is rich in vitamin E and anti-inflammatory fatty acids.

However, it’s crucial to emphasize the importance of consulting with a veterinarian despite the potential benefits of olive oil for your cat’s dry skin.

Dry skin can be a symptom of many different conditions in cats, such as allergies, bacterial infections, and parasites.

Should You Use Olive Oil To Treat Constipation In Your Cat?

cat sniffing olive oil in bottles

Many cats will deal with constipation at least once during their lifetime. Just like for humans, this can get to be very unpleasant and painful for them.

Regular stool is essential for a cat’s health. Some ways to make a cat poop when constipated is to increase its water intake and encourage it to exercise.

Another thing worth trying here is olive oil. Farewell Pet Care suggests that this olive oil is a laxative and a lubricant and helps soften a cat’s stool, lubricates the digestive tract, and helps the cat with its bowel movement.

You should add about ½ to 1 tablespoon of five to ten drops of olive oil to your cat’s meal. In a couple of hours, you should witness your cat having a normal bowel movement.

Although this method can be quite effective for occasional constipation, it’s important to emphasize that it isn’t a long-term solution. It’s strongly recommended that you consult with a veterinarian before using olive oil to treat your cat’s constipation.

Also, if this problem occurs often, you should get your cat examined, since frequent constipation isn’t normal.


What’s the final verdict on the issue of cats and olive oil?

Olive oil is safe for cats, just like for humans. However, the amount is the most important factor here. 

Just because it’s safe, it doesn’t mean you should make olive oil a regular part of your cat’s diet. Felines are obligate carnivores, meaning that they benefit from meat protein. Too much fat like olive oil in their diet can cause stomach upsets, as well as lead to obesity.

Still, just like for people, olive oil can also be miraculous for cats in other areas. It can be used to treat coat issues like dry skin, hairballs, and matted hair. Furthermore, it can help cats struggling with constipation.

In the end, I would like to remind you once more that, no matter what the purpose of using olive oil with your pet is, always consult your veterinarian beforehand.


[1] Öhlund M, Palmgren M, Holst BS. Overweight in adult cats: a cross-sectional study. Acta Vet Scand. 2018 Jan 19;60(1):5. DOI, Retrieved January 10, 2024.