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Can Cats Eat Apples

A gray cat sniffing a red apple

While your “apple a day” is a healthful snack for you, is it safe for your cat to munch on? The answer is a bit more complex than a simple yes or no. If you find your cat raising a paw to beg for the occasional apple treat, it’s important to learn more about how to feed this fruit safely, as some parts of the apple are toxic.

Nestle Purina veterinarian, Dr. Taylor Francis, says, “My clients are always looking for safe, natural treats they can share with their pets, so discussing these options with them is important.”

Are apples good for cats?

The flesh of the apple is safe for your cat to eat, but pesticides on the skin and natural parts of the plant (stem, leaves and even seeds) can be toxic if they eat a lot of them. Apple flesh is a good source of calcium and fiber, which can be healthy for your cat to nibble. Apples also contain B-vitamins, and vitamins A, C and K. These vitamins and minerals have many functions including promoting a strong immune system.

However, the seeds, stem and leaves of the apple contain cyanide and can be quite dangerous to your cat. Clinical signs of ingesting too much cyanide can include rapid breathing, drooling, and vomiting. Be sure these are removed. Consider peeling any apple bits you offer to your cat as well. While the skin contains phytonutrients (good for humans, and for cats, too), it could be contaminated with pesticides (bad!). In fact, traditionally grown apples have frequently made the lists for some of those most-contaminated with pesticide residues, so washing or peeling your apples before you or your cat enjoy them is recommended.

Why does my cat like apples?

If your cat likes to nibble on bits of apple, it’s not the fruit’s natural sugar that’s attracting them. Here’s a fun fact: cats can’t taste sweetness. While studies show that cats often avoid bitter flavors, they don’t “go for” the sweets the way we do. Cats don’t have the same sweet taste receptors, so we can’t really guess how apples taste to felines. Your cat may like the crunchy texture or coolness of the apple. Alternatively, she may discover that a cored and peeled apple makes a fun rolling toy that she can really sink her teeth into.

Of course, if you think your cat may be taste-testing your food out of boredom rather than actual enjoyment, try spicing up your cat’s life with some games. We have some great cat game ideas here on Petfinder.

Since my cat can’t taste sweet things, is sugar bad for my cat to eat?

Over time, too much sugar could lead to or exacerbate diabetic issues in cats. Dr. Francis explains, “Cat’s are prone to diabetes if they are overweight and/or ingest too much sugar over time. Feline diabetes is similar to our type-2 diabetes requiring insulin, but they can reach remission if proper dietary steps are taken, such as reducing overall dietary carbohydrate consumption.”

Even if your cat loves fruit or other high-sugar foods, be sure your cat’s main source of calories is a complete and balanced feline diet. You should not exceed 10% of daily calories in treats. Early clinical signs of diabetes in the cat include increased appetite, drinking and urinating. If you think your cat has or may be at risk for diabetes, you should speak with your veterinarian to determine the best nutritional plan for your pet.

Can my cat eat applesauce?

Commercial applesauce may contain additional sugar you cat doesn’t need, in the form of corn syrup. Stick to fresh or unsweetened applesauce as an occasional treat.

How often can I feed apples and other fruit to my cat?

Fresh fruit is healthful for humans but should be just an occasional treat if your cat likes it. Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they need nutrients from meat sources to meet their requirements. They have a shorter, simple digestive system that’s great for digestion of protein and fat but isn’t as well adapted to break down uncooked or unprocessed carbohydrates. Cooked carbohydrates can be an excellent source of nutrients and energy, which is why they are included in many nutritious, complete and balanced feline diets. However, unprocessed carbohydrates may be difficult to digest and lead to gut upset.

What can I offer my inquisitive cat if they are interested in human treats?

If you have a cat who likes to venture beyond the pet food bowl, first be sure your cat’s daily diet is well-balanced and satisfies feline taste buds. Visit the Cat Food Selector on Purina.com for options that match your cat’s life stage and cravings.

It’s no surprise that cats enjoy an extra-special treat. Commercial packaged cat treats are a delicious and nutritious option for them, and they are extra fun when hidden in about your home for your cat to hunt and eat. Some cats also enjoy grazing on cat grass. Your foodie feline might also like other unusual treats with ingredients that are more appropriate than fruit.  Petfinder has a homemade summer cat treat recipe that will make your “chill” cat purr!

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