Can Cats Eat Apples?

Published Oct. 2, 2023
cat sitting on a chair at a small table looking at a bowl of apples

We all know the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but is this true for our feline friends? Can cats have apples? And are apples good for cats?

While they’re a go-to fruit for snacking and baking, kitties won’t really reap the same benefits us humans do from this tasty fruit. Here’s everything you need to know about apples for cats.

Are Apples Good for Cats?

Although apples are certainly good for humans, the same is not true for our feline friends. Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they need to get most of their nutrition from meat-based products. They can’t process and digest the nutrients from non-meat foods as efficiently as other animals (such as humans and dogs) can. Therefore, while apple flesh is not toxic to cats, the nutritional benefits are fairly minimal. 

Apples have lots of fiber, which can result in gastrointestinal (GI) upset. The fruit’s high sugar levels can also result in swings of blood sugar in some cats, particularly those with diabetes or pancreatic disease. An apple’s stems, leaves, and seeds also contain cyanide, which in large amounts could be toxic to cats.

While apple flesh is not toxic to cats, the nutritional benefits are fairly minimal.

So, although it’s safe to share a small amount of apple flesh with a healthy kitty, sharing should be considered a “treat” and not a regular staple of your cat’s diet. Be sure to consult your veterinarian before feeding any fruit to your kitty, particularly if they have any health conditions (especially gastrointestinal problems or diabetes) or are prone to obesity.

Can Cats Eat Applesauce?

Cats should not be fed applesauce. While cooked apple flesh is safe for cats in small amounts, applesauce typically has added ingredients such as cinnamon, sugar, and other spices, which are not a good idea for cats.

So, if your tabby shows interest in sharing from your bowl of applesauce, it’s best to just say no and offer her a small piece of cooked apple flesh instead. While an occasional lick of applesauce is not toxic, it is also not healthy for kitty either.

How Much Apple Can Cats Safely Eat?

Many cats will have no interest in apples, and that’s OK. Remember: Apple isn’t a nutritious addition to the diet of the finicky feline, and (at best) it should just be a treat. Too much apple can cause GI upset in cats, so if your kitty does have a taste for apple, it’s important not to overdo it.

The best way to feed apples to cats is to wash and peel the fruit, remove the stem and seeds, and cut the apple into small, ¼-inch squares. It’s safe to feed one or two small apple squares to your cat raw, but it will be more digestible if the apple is cooked.

Limit the portion size to only one or two ¼-inch squares once or twice a week. Any more, and your kitty might experience vomiting, diarrhea, gas, or abdominal discomfort.

Other Fruits That Are Safe for Cats

Fruits and vegetables are not particularly nutritious additions to a cat’s diet, and many felines will have minimal interest in them. But if your cat does show interest, it’s important to know which fruits are safe for cats. Some options include:

Always talk to your veterinarian before introducing any food, including fruit, to your cat’s diet. 

Featured Image: Getty/Sergey Dementyev

Sandra C. Mitchell, DVM, DABVP


Sandra C. Mitchell, DVM, DABVP


Sandra Mitchell is a 1995 graduate of the New York State College of Veterinary Medicine. Since graduation, she has worked in many fields...

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