Figs are a delicious fruit normally found on the trees of our Middle Eastern neighbors.
They are sweet and delicious, but bad news for kitties! Figs contain a great deal of the toxic substance oxalic acid.
Though fatal to cats, oxalic acid also can have a number of negative health effects on humans too so it also should be handled with care and good judgment.
Figs are high in sugar content which will give an energy boost and strength to the cats consuming figs and it is usually used for human food too.
It is also a great source of fiber which is needed for a cat’s digestive health and overall good health.
The fiber is also needed for the cat’s coat to look healthy and shiny and it is a positive thing that most cats love the taste of figs.
The toxic parts in figs for cats are the leaves and seeds. It is important to know that the seeds are extremely poisonous to cats.
However, they are more likely to eat the fresh leaves or fruit first. These leaves contain cyanide and glycosides that can poison the cat within as little as 24 hours.
Consumption of small amounts like a little fruit or a small handful of leaves may be enough to get your cat sick.
Let’s dive in!
Can Cats Eat Figs?
Since the pale to yellow sap contains ficin (ficain) and psoralen, cats should avoid eating fig fruits.
Your cat may be able to eat figs that have been baked or soaked in water to remove the toxic components.
The proteolytic enzyme ficin is found in unripe fig fruits and unripe fig leaves; it may produce vomiting if ingested.
Dogs and ferrets can also develop phytophotodermatitis from eating figs. Be sure to monitor your animal’s behavior after feeding them a fig because symptoms may appear within an hour of ingestion.
If these symptoms occur in your pet contact your local veterinarian promptly. Call your veterinarian immediately if you suspect that your cat has eaten a fig or has these symptoms.
The skin, mouth, eyes, and respiratory system are all susceptible to phytophotodermatitis.
Topical application of sap or rubbing the sap on the cat’s skin may cause phytophotodermatitis. Eating unripened fruits of figs can cause intestinal upset or vomiting that can lead to diarrhea and dehydration.
Oral administration of the linear furanocoumarin psoralen may produce nausea, while contact with it in the eyes may cause inflammation of the oral or nasal cavities.
It has been found that cats can be tolerant of figs in small volumes and for short periods of time.
If you are a fig lover but concerned about giving your cat a healthy snack of figs or fig leaves, then consider cutting the fruit or leaf into small pieces and feeding them to your feline friend.
Make sure to avoid feeding your cat whole pieces of figs or fig leaves because this could damage or obstruct their intestines.
Is Figs Safe For Cats?
Ficin (ficain), which is found in the plant’s whitish-yellow sap, may cause irritation or burning sensations on the cat’s skin.
The presence of this compound in ripe fruits may cause vomiting and diarrhea. Other symptoms include nausea and anorexia.
Consumption of the ripe fig fruit may also cause phytophotodermatitis because the sap contains psoralen, which causes damage to the skin’s DNA and triggers inflammatory reactions.
Toxic levels of these substances may cause severe complications and even death in cats.
The psoralen found in fig leaves is dangerous for cats because it can cause photosensitization in cats after ingestion or exposure of the skin to sunlight.
When ingested, this substance increases the cat’s sensitivity to light for 48 hours or more.
This may result in damage to the cat’s eyes due to the prolonged exposure of the sensitive skin around the eyes.
Cats, on the other hand, are able to tolerate psoralen present on the plant’s leaves.
Psoralen is the toxic substance found in plants like poison ivy and poison oak. Oral consumption of these substances may cause vomiting and gastrointestinal upset in cats — particularly with repeated exposure.
However, your pet may experience difficulty in breathing and abdominal pain when psoralen is ingested or applied to the feline’s skin.
Latex sap and unripe fruits include a psoralen compound, and the condition produced varies depending on the amount of consumption by the animal.
The toxicity of this enzyme may cause skin irritation and burning in your cat’s mouth and throat as well as affect the respiratory system.
It may cause nausea and central nervous system disorder that can develop into delirium and coma.
Your cat’s skin may become very inflamed, develop blisters and scabs, or cause hypersensitivity to sunlight that can lead to skin cancers.
UV rays from the sun might aggravate the inflammation brought about by phytophotodermatitis.
Nutrition And Benefits Of Fig
Vitamin and mineral content of fig fruits ranges from tiny to moderately; a serving of whole fig contains about: Figs contain a lot of potassium which has a vital role in controlling blood pressure.
This helps to reduce the risk of heart diseases and diabetes.
Vitamin K, calcium, manganese, potassium, magnesium and other minerals are all important.
The figs’ dietary fiber makes them an excellent prebiotic that promotes healthy digestion and aids in the management of diarrhea and constipation. A glass of fig juice or fig tea may cure stomach and intestinal problems.
The high fiber content in figs aids in the digestive process in the stomach and intestines and can relieve constipation and diarrhea. It could also aid in the prevention and reduction of hemorrhoids and intestinal diverticular disease.
A 100g serving of dried fruit contains between 15 and 45g of fiber.
Polyphenols, such as chlorogenic, syringic or gallic acids are antioxidants that help prevent oxidative cell damage.
They have also been shown to help prevent and treat cancer and inflammation. Health benefits of Figs are many; it is known to lower cholesterol and regulate blood pressure levels.
Consumption of figs is also effective in controlling the blood sugar levels which is an added benefit for people with type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance. The fiber content in figs has a positive effect on heart health and blood glucose regulation.
In addition, the quantity of soluble fiber and resistant starch in dried figs is helpful in maintaining digestive health and reducing high blood sugar.
Fruits are an excellent prebiotic because of the presence of indigestible sugars that act as food for the friendly bacteria that are supposed to live in our intestines.
Are Figs Toxic to Cats?
Cats are known to be poisonous towards figs due to a toxic compound in them.
A biochemistry idea says that a protease inhibitor in figs impairs normal digestion, while another suggests the fig is toxic because it has a unique chemistry.
My cat loves the dried figs and won’t leave them alone! I grow fresh fig in my garden too and I fed my cats some from the tree the other day – I thought they would love them but they didn’t!
Fichin and psoralen have been reported to induce skin inflammation in cats.
There are foods that may be potentially harmful to cats but that there are so uncommon as to be rarely encountered. The most common potentially dangerous foods to cats are raisins and currants.
Raw apples and certain vegetables can also cause problems for cats if presented in a large enough quantity; however, most cats cannot ingest enough of these foods to cause a problem.
Because Fingonine prevents part of the enzyme activity necessary to break down folic acid, the deficiency can result in bone marrow failure and anemia.
When cats consume figleaves, the dried leaves can swell and form a heavy and possibly indigestible mass in the intestines.
Feline vomiting, diarrhea and anorexia have more serious causes than eating a fig alone; if your cat is vomiting or has diarrhea it must not be fed on anything other than water.
If this continues for more than 12 hours contact your vet immediately. Since a fig is toxic to cats it is not advised to feed them to pets.
Also Read: Are Fiddle Leaf Figs Toxic to Cats?
Unripe figs are more poisonous to cats than ripe ones because they contain raphides that irritate the skin and cause an allergic reaction in cats.
The raphides in unripe figs are poisonous to cats even when consumed in small amounts. My conclusion was that figs were a healthy food for cats and that cats should not eat them if they had eaten unripe figs before.
Apples were also healthy for cats and nice to eat too.
There are a few plants that are beneficial to your cat’s health Figs are great then.
Even though they are not really fruits. Cats are okay eating unripe figs but not canned figs or figs that have turned brown or soft.
Because they contain more harmful chemicals: sulfur dioxide and potassium sorbate which both can cause stomach upset and vomiting for your cat.
Your cat may get minor skin irritations after coming into contact with a ripe and partially ripened fig. However, if consumed in large amounts or in unripe form can lead to serious digestive problems.
Symptoms of poisoning, such as drooling, diarrhea, and vomiting are good reasons to get your cat to the vet right away for treatment Rub a little olive oil onto her and massage the mixture into the bruise gently.
The oil will moisturize your kitty and work to heal the bruised area. It will also prevent infection.
Eating figs may cause mild to severe gastrointestinal irritation in cats including vomiting and nausea. There are reports of fatalities associated with consumption of figs by cats and kittens.
All in all, your cat should stay away from figs whether they are ripe or unripe as they may be toxic for them.
Even fig newton is a bad choice for your health.
As a result, instead of letting it eat your figs that you grow on your trees or buying them from vendors in the market or grocery stores, you might benefit yourself and your pet by giving your pet other healthier treats.