Apple is one of the most popular fruits in the United States, with Americans eating nearly 15 to 19 pounds per person per year on average.
But can cats eat apples?
It’s a question many cat owners have asked themselves and it’s also one of the most popular searches on the internet regarding cat diet.
You see, cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they require meat in their diets to stay healthy.
While some believe that apples are healthy for felines, others argue they may cause digestive issues or even be toxic to our feline friends.
So what is it? Can cats eat apples or not?
Let’s take a look at what science has to say about our four-legged friends and their dietary requirements.
Can Cats Eat Apples?
Yes, but only in small amounts. Apples are safe for cats as a treat, but their stems, leaves, and seeds are toxic because they contain cyanide.
If your cat appears to enjoy the apple and shows no negative effects from it, eating it occasionally in moderation probably won't cause harm.
The Benefits of Apples for the Health
Apple skins contain important dietary fibers and antioxidants that help fight against cancer. Like most fruits and vegetables, apples are a good source of vitamins A, C, and E, as well as potassium, copper, calcium, and manganese.
They also contain pectin that helps reduce cholesterol levels in humans.
In fact, some veterinarians will recommend apples as a natural remedy to help prevent hairballs from forming in kitties’ digestive systems.
After all, an apple a day keeps hairballs away!
Is Feeding Apples to Cats Nutritionally Beneficial?
Cats are obligate carnivores which means that it is necessary for them to eat a complete and balanced diet that contains nutrients that are only found in animal products.
This is why vegetarian diets are not suitable for cats as they cannot digest them properly. If your cat is getting a proper diet, there is no need for apples or other fruit.
Apples may not have animal protein but contain micronutrients that can be beneficial to a cat if eaten occasionally as a treat.
Apples contain fibers that might help with gastrointestinal issues such as hairballs, although there is no evidence to support this.
Are There Any Risks with Feeding Cats Apples?
Many pet owners enjoy feeding their cats apples as a treat and there is no evidence that this is harmful in any way.
However, there are some risks that come with feeding your cat too many apples or eating too much sugar.
- Cyanide poisoning to cats
- Obesity and diabetes
- Allergic Reaction
- Might upset the cat's stomach
Cyanide Poisoning to Cats
Apple leaves, stems and seeds are toxic to cats because they contain cyanide. Even though the cyanide level is not high, it is still harmful to cats.
Even small amounts of cyanide ingestion in cats can lead to breathing problems and seizures, so it's best to avoid toxic portions at all.
Signs of cyanide poisoning will typically begin anywhere from 15 minutes to a few hours after animals eat it.
Several signs may indicate cyanide poisoning in cats, including:
- Rapid breathing
- Runny eyes
- Fast heartbeat
- Loss of coordination
Severe poisoning may cause death if treatment is not administered immediately. Just in case, go to the vet immediately if your cat experiences sudden signs of illness.
Obesity and Diabetes
Apples are high in sugar and can lead to obesity and diabetes in cats if eaten too much or too often.
Be sure to monitor your kitty's apple consumption to ensure he/she is not eating too many of them or any at all if he/she has a history of these health issues.
Symptoms of diabetes in cats include:
- Weight loss
- Lack of appetite
- Excessive thirst
- Increased urination
Some cats may be sensitive to new food such as apples, which can lead to an allergic reaction that includes symptoms like diarrhea or vomiting.
Other symptoms of an allergic reaction include:
- Runny nose
- Swollen eyes
- Itchy skin
- Unnatural stool
- Coughing or wheezing
While this is very rare, it is possible that your cat may be one of the ones who react this way to apples so it is always best to check with your veterinarian before feeding your cat apples in any amount.
Might Upset the Cat’s Stomach
Apples eaten in excess can upset your cat's stomach and cause gastrointestinal issues like vomiting or diarrhea. To avoid this problem, feed your kitty an apple as a rare treat rather than as part of their daily diet.
The following symptoms may also occur:
- Anorexia (loss of appetite)
- Abdominal pain
How Much Apple a Cat Can Have?
Caloric intake is the number of calories that your cat needs per day to maintain a healthy weight and balance its diet.
There is a general rule of thumb when it comes to treats for our kitties:
Treats can make up a maximum of 10 percent of your cat’s total daily caloric intake and should not exceed more than 10 percent of the daily caloric intake.
Assuming your pet eats 200 calories per day, this means that only 20 of those calories can come from treats such as apples.
A large apple contains around 120-130 calories, so if you do the math it becomes easy to calculate how much an apple your pet can have in a day.
How Can I Feed Apple to My Cat Safely?
Apples are fine for cats on occasion, but consult your veterinarian before doing so. Here are some things to keep in mind if you want to feed your cat apples safely:
- The apple should be washed thoroughly.
- Seeds, stems, and leaves should be removed.
- Cut it into bite-sized pieces.
- Feed one or two tiny pieces to your cat.
- Monitor your cat's health.
Can Kittens Eat Apples?
Some kittens can eat solid food from the beginning of 5th week, but other kittens need to be gradually introduced to it.
However, in either case, the same basic precautions apply—the apple should be given as a treat occasionally.
Remember kittens need a specially formulated diet that is high in protein, low in carbohydrates, and meets the nutritional needs of growing kittens.
Growing kittens need this special diet to have all of the energy they need to develop into healthy, adult cats.
Can Cats Eat Cooked Apples?
Cooked apples are generally safe for cats to eat. The cooking process softens and ripens the apple, making it more digestible.
However, adding other ingredients such as sugar or salt to the apple can change the nutrients and make it unsafe for your cat to consume.
Can Cats Eat Dried Apples?
Dried apples are not a good food choice for cats because they have no water in them, have too much sugar, and do not offer any necessary benefits.
The lack of water makes them hard for a cat to digest and the sugar content is too high for their dietary needs.
Even if your cat eats only a little, it will still be too much sugar for them to handle and can lead to health issues. Cats cannot eat dried apples without serious consequences.
Can Cats Eat Candy Apples?
Candy apples contain high levels of sugar, making them unhealthy for cats. Similarly, your kitty should not be snacking on candy corn or anything else sweetened with artificial sugars or syrups. As a general rule, it’s probably best to skip giving your cat sweets altogether.
Can Cats Drink Apple Juice?
It is possible to give your cat apple juice in moderation, but be mindful of the type of juice you purchase and how much your pet is drinking at once.
The sugar content in apple juice can lead to health issues such as diabetes and weight gain for our four-legged companions.
Market apple juice has a lot of added sugar and preservatives so it's better to opt for homemade or 100% natural juice from the store if you do choose to indulge your pet.
If the apple juice is all-natural, then your pet can enjoy it a little bit now and again.
Can Cats Eat Applesauce?
Most commercially produced applesauce contains preservatives and other artificial chemicals which are not good for your kitty.
Some applesauce also contains sugars which could be a bad choice for cats, as well. So the cat should not be given this type of food under any circumstances!
Can Cats Eat Apple Pie?
Unfortunately, many foods that are safe for human consumption can be harmful to our feline companions, including apple pie.
Cats cannot eat apple pie because it contains ingredients that can be harmful to them.
It is better to avoid feeding your cat anything that contains ingredients like sugar, cinnamon, spice, butter, and lemon juice as these are all harmful to your pet.
Some Other Fruits for Cats That Can Be Eaten Occasionally
Moderate consumption of the following fruits is acceptable, but a high quantity should be avoided. However, fruits may not offer nutritional benefits to felines:
It is important to remember that any type of fruit is usually high in sugar and may lead to weight gain or diabetes in your cat if eaten in large quantities.
Fruits That Cats Should not Eat
Cats may be able to tolerate apples in moderation, but other fruits can be harmful to them. There are several other fruits that can cause gastrointestinal problems in cats and should not be given to them. These include:
Snacks for Cats That are High in Protein
Protein snacks like small bits of cooked chicken or a small serving of tuna will provide your cat with nutritional benefits without all the sugar found in most fruits.
There are a lot of protein snacks available to choose from:
- Cooked eggs
- Lean beef
- Shrimps and prawns
- Feeding your cat small amounts of apples as a special, occasional treat will likely not be harmful.
- Apple seeds, leaves, and stems contain cyanide, which is toxic to cats.
- Consuming an excess amount of apples can cause gastrointestinal problems.
- Always consult your veterinarian before feeding your cat any new foods.
It can be very stressful and concerning when a beloved pet is not feeling well, so it's worth it to get pet insurance to make sure you can cover the veterinary bills.
Importance of Pet Insurance
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Some pet insurance companies will even cover 100% of veterinary expenses. So make sure to choose the best pet insurance plan for your furry friend.
Once you have a plan in place, vet bills will never be too high because they'll already be covered by the policy.
It's important that we all take care of our animals' safety and well-being so they can enjoy their lives just as much as we do ours.
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