If you’ve ever dropped a blueberry and watched your kitty chase it across the floor, you might have wondered: Can cats have blueberries? Is this fruit safe for them?
Blueberries are perfectly safe for most cats to eat in small quantities, but there are some potential risks pet parents should know about. Here’s what to know about whether your cat can eat blueberries.
Are Blueberries Good for Cats?
We think of blueberries as being a superfood for humans, so we might be inclined to think the same thing about feeding them to our cats. Unfortunately, this isn’t really true. Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they are designed to primarily eat and process meat. They aren’t as adept at digesting non-meat foods, such as fruits and berries.
But this doesn’t mean that blueberries don’t have any health benefits for cats—the antioxidants in blueberries may still help to neutralize free radicals, boost the immune system, and promote joint health in your cat. However, because cats cannot eat them in any large quantities, the likely benefits of blueberries are probably going to be quite small.
Can Blueberries Be Bad for Cats?
Blueberries are safe to feed to most cats as a treat in small quantities—no more than two or three berries every few days.
However, blueberries have a very high sugar content (which is what makes them so sweet!). This high sugar level can cause spikes in blood sugars, which can present a real problem for cats with diabetes or those with sensitive digestive systems. In large amounts, these concerns are compounded with the potential that cats could become obese from the increased amounts of sugars and carbohydrates.
It's best to consider blueberries, at best, as an occasional treat and not a healthy part of the diet. And if kitty has any health problems—especially diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, or pancreatitis—consult with your veterinarian before offering blueberries as a treat.
How To Safely Feed a Cat Blueberries
If you would like to share your blueberries with your kitty, keep in mind that not all cats have the same tastes, and yours may not have any interest in trying them. Blueberries are not part of the natural cat diet.
Before you offer your cat a berry, wash it and remove any particles, stems, or leaves that may be attached. Some cats will be curious and chase a blueberry rolled across the floor, others will want it cut open or mashed, and some might want it as a topper on their canned food. Some cats will have no interest in blueberries no matter what you do—and that is OK, too.
How Many Blueberries Can Cats Eat?
Less is more when it comes to cats and carbohydrates. Because cats are obligate carnivores and do not digest fruits well, their systems can be easily overwhelmed. To be safe, only feed your cat up to three blueberries at once, no more than a few times a week.
Other Fruits Cats Can Eat
Not all cats will like fruit, and fruit isn’t as healthy for cats as, for example, a cube of turkey or fish. But if you find your feline has a taste for fruit, make sure what you’re feeding them is safe.
Some cat-friendly fruits include:
Always keep portions small and check with a veterinarian first to make sure fruit is appropriate for your cat.
Featured Image: Getty/Julia Gomina
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