Can Cats Eat Strawberries?
Strawberries are one of the top five most popular fruits consumed in the United States. Just look at all the different ways people eat strawberries – fresh, on ice cream, in milkshakes, made into jellies or jams, baked into pies, or even covered in chocolate!
Moreover, strawberries are a very good for you since they are full of essential vitamins and minerals. Since strawberries are so healthy for people, you may be wondering if strawberries are a healthy snack for your cat.
For the most part, cats are just fine to have smalls amount of strawberry from time to time. However, as we will see, they aren’t really a health food for cats like they are for people.
In this article we’ll cover the following;
- Cats and Strawberries, What You Need to Know
- Can Cats Eat Strawberries?
- Can Kittens Eat Strawberries?
- Benefits/Drawbacks to Cats Eating Strawberries
- Healthy Alternatives to Strawberries for Cats
Cats and Strawberries, What You Need to Know
Strawberries are the cultivated fruit of a domesticated flowering plant that is part of the rose family. Although wild strawberries have been eaten since ancient times, the modern garden strawberry wasn’t developed until the 18th century.
Strawberries, like raspberries and blackberries, are not actually berries, but are aggregate fruits. Unlike true berries, strawberries actually contain many seeds in one fruit. Strawberries are considered to be a very healthy food for people. They contain high levels of vitamin C, manganese, and folate, along with lesser amounts of many other nutrients.
As far as cats go, many do enjoy the taste of strawberries, as we can see in this video:
When it comes to cats, however, they won’t be able to get as many benefits from strawberries as humans, so while there is no evidence that strawberries will hurt a cat, there’s also not really a point to feeding them to them from a nutritional standpoint.
Can Cats Eat Strawberries?
You cat should be okay to eat strawberries in moderation.
However, the more important question is whether or not strawberries are healthy for them. The truth is that while strawberries are almost never harmful, cats don’t really get many health benefits from eating strawberries.
This is because cats are obligate carnivores, which means all they really need to eat is meat. While strawberries do contain vitamins and antioxidants, cats actually are very poor at deriving nutrition from foods that aren’t meat.
You’ve much better off feeding your cat meat-based treats that contain bits of fruit, like Wellness Kittles Salmon and Cranberry Cat Treats.
While a lot of cats do enjoy the smell and occasional taste of strawberries, some cats seem to get pretty offended when you offer one to them:
There are, in fact, certain things cats hate. It appears from the videos that this cat is picking up on something they smell in the strawberry.
Strawberries contain furaneol, a compound used in perfumes and flavorings. While dilute concentrations usually smell sweet, for some cats, their sensitive nose finds the scent repulsive.
Can Kittens Eat Strawberries?
Kittens tend to be even more susceptible to things than adult cats. They are more prone to getting indigestion and diarrhea if they eat too many strawberries.
Furthermore, since kittens do not have as much experience with different food items, they should be monitored when eating strawberries to make sure they don’t choke on them.
When it comes to kittens, it’s always best to stick to a high-quality kitten food which they can derive all of their nutrients from, like Blue Wilderness Kitten Food.
Benefits/Drawbacks to Cats Eating Strawberries
Even though cats can eat strawberries, are they really good for cats?
For people, ‘health foods’ supply nutrients that are essential for our well-being. Many times, cats don’t require the same dietary sources of specific nutrients that people rely on.
For example, all mammals need sufficient vitamin C to survive, and most manufacture it in their livers. Because humans don’t produce enough vitamin C in their livers, they must eat oranges, grapefruits, and other vitamin C-rich foods or they will end up getting scurvy.
Cats, on the other hand, make plenty of vitamin C in their own livers, so they don’t need to eat strawberries to get enough vitamin C. It won’t hurt a cat to get a little extra of water soluble vitamins, like vitamin C. They just don’t need it.
Similarly, strawberries contain fiber, and cats don’t need fiber in their diet. In fact, food containing fiber can have a laxative effect on cats.
Another potential drawback to feeding your cat strawberries is that it is known that strawberries can sometimes cause allergic reactions in humans. This includes anaphylaxis, a serious allergic reaction that can result in loss of blood pressure and breathing difficulties.
Although similar anaphylactic reactions to strawberries in cats are not well documented, food allergies are not uncommon for our feline friends. In fact, food allergens are the third most common cause of allergies in cats.
Symptoms of food allergies in cats include itchy and irritated skin and vomiting and diarrhea in 10 to 15 percent of affected cats. If you think your cat is having an allergic reaction from eating strawberries, or any other food for that matter, it is important that you take them to see your veterinarian promptly.
Healthy Alternatives to Strawberries for Cats
Since cats derive the vast majority of their nutrition from eating meat, there is actually little nutritional benefit for cats to eat strawberries. Too many strawberries could cause indigestion.
However, in moderation, strawberries can be a fun and healthy treat for your kitty that’s an interesting change of pace from their normal food.
So, Can Cats Eat Strawberries?
Cats are fine to have a small amount of strawberries from time to time.
But, how about trying a cat food made with strawberries such as Farmina Natural or FirstMate Pet Foods Renaissance Grain-Free, instead? Strawberries are also used in Solid Gold Strawberry Balance Supplements and Uri Natural Care For Cats made just for your cat.
If you have any questions or would like to share a story about your cat eating, or just playing with strawberries, please tell us in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!