Can Cats Eat Strawberries?
NOTE: Always check with your veterinarian first before giving your cat any new foods, especially “people foods.” What might be okay for one cat might not be good for your cat, depending on multiple factors, such as their age, health history, health conditions, and diet. Cats on prescription diets should not be fed any food or treats outside the diet.
You sit down with a large bowl of strawberries, and much to your surprise, your cat takes a sniff and pulls a strawberry out of the bowl! After batting it around a few times, your cat picks it up, bites it a few times, and seems to savor the taste.
But then you wonder, can cats eat strawberries? Are they safe? And if so, how many strawberries can your cat safely eat?
Are Strawberries Good for Cats?
Although it is safe for cats to eat strawberries, they really don’t provide a large beneficial effect for cats. Strawberries do have some ingredients that are good for people as well as cats, such as vitamin C, folate, fiber, and potassium, but they are also high in carbohydrates and natural sugars. Overweight cats and those that are especially sensitive to sugars, like diabetic cats, should not have strawberries.
In addition, cats are “obligate carnivores,” which means that their intestinal tracts were designed to operate best when digesting meats and proteins. They can digest meat more completely and easily than other foods. Any food, such as a strawberry, that’s high in carbohydrates is not going to be as nutritious for cats as it would be to humans or even dogs, who are omnivores.
If your cat eats too many strawberries, it could also cause gastrointestinal upset—mostly vomiting and diarrhea. Limit healthy kitties to one strawberry or less per day, and only a couple per week.
Kittens are the most likely to explore and try a novel food like this, and it should be safe to allow a kitten to try them. The largest concern would be that they could choke on it, so cut it small enough so that even if they swallow it whole, they won’t choke.
Can Cats Have Strawberry Yogurt?
Some kitties enjoy the taste of yogurt, too, so the natural question is whether strawberry yogurt is safe for cats. The answer is yes, as long as the yogurt doesn’t contain any sugar replacements (like xylitol) and your kitty is not lactose intolerant. Also, sugar-sensitive and obese cats should not be given strawberry yogurt.
Much like plain strawberries, strawberry yogurt is very high in both carbohydrates and sugars, and it does not add any nutritional value to your cat’s diet. The combination of high carbs with a dairy product may also cause vomiting or diarrhea in cats sensitive to any of the ingredients.
If you use plain yogurt and add a few strawberry slices to it, this is safe to cautiously share. Limit the amount you offer to your kitty to less than a teaspoon, but if you see any signs of GI discomfort, it should probably be a “one and done” food.
Can Cats Be Allergic to Strawberries?
Allergies develop only after repeated exposure to a food, and most cats do not eat strawberries more than once or twice in a lifetime, so an allergic reaction would be quite rare. However, many cats may be intolerant of strawberries, and they could develop vomiting or diarrhea even after a single exposure.
Do Cats Like Strawberries?
Some cats do appear to develop a taste for strawberries, although recent research indicates that they do not have the taste glands needed to enjoy sweets. It may be that they enjoy the texture, juiciness, or even the smell of the strawberries.
Most cats will probably just try strawberries once and be done with them. If you’re wondering whether wild cats ate strawberries back in the day, the answer is probably no, since cats did not evolve to be able to digest sugars and carbohydrates. That isn’t to say that the bobcats hunting in the woods of Maine don’t ingest some when they pounce on a mouse that’s enjoying a wild strawberry snack!
What If Your Cat Ate Some Strawberries?
If your kitty does eat some strawberries, in most cases, you can simply monitor them for any signs of vomiting or diarrhea and call your veterinarian if these develop. However, if your cat is diabetic or sugar-sensitive and ate a strawberry, call your vet to see if any insulin adjustment is advised.
Strawberries are wonderful summer snacks for most people, but less so for cats. While you feast on a bowl of fresh strawberries, your cat would probably prefer a nice slice of plain roast beef!
Featured Image: iStock.com/Rusiana Chub
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