Summertime means some of our favorite fruits are in season! Watermelon, peaches, pineapple, and an all-time favorite, strawberries! Strawberries are a tasty treat in cakes and pies, topped with whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate sauce or simply by themselves. You may wonder if your cat can join in on the strawberry deliciousness.
Can Cats Eat Strawberries?
The answer is yes! The ASPCA says that this refreshing fruit is not toxic to cats; however, strawberries should be given to cats in moderation and with a few precautions.
Are Strawberries Safe for Cats?
Yes, strawberries are safe for cats in moderation, according to the ASPCA. However, there are a few precautions to consider before feeding strawberries to your cat.
First of all, remove the leaves and stems of the strawberry. Leaves and stems, if consumed by cats, can cause issues such as skin irritation and sneezing. Secondly, always wash and rinse strawberries, as you would before you eat them. If you buy them from the store, chances are they have been sprayed with pesticides. Thirdly, cut the strawberries into small pieces to ensure proper digestion. Finally, stick to moderation. Feed your cat only small amounts of strawberries occasionally as a treat. Strawberries should not be a staple in a cat’s diet.
Although fresh strawberries are a tasty snack for cats, don’t assume that because your kitty can eat strawberries, she can eat canned strawberries (way too much sugar) or variations such as chocolate-covered strawberries, strawberry jams, or strawberry syrup. While these strawberry treats are delicious to us, they are loaded with sugar, which is not good for cats.
Are Strawberries Bad for Cats?
As we know, just because a food is technically “safe” for cats does not mean it’s necessarily good or healthy for cats. Strawberries are loaded with health benefits for humans. Aside from the sweet, refreshing taste of strawberries, they provide the following vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamins A and C
This is not an exhaustive list. Check out the U.S. Department of Agriculture data on the nutritional facts on strawberries. Because of the high volume of vitamins and minerals, strawberries boost the immune system (Thanks, Vitamin C!), reduce inflammation, regulate blood pressure, fight cancer, and more.
However, cats don’t get many nutritional benefits from strawberries simply because of the large number of strawberries they would need to consume to achieve this, which would be counterproductive due to the high sugar content.
Cats are carnivores, and the majority of their diet should be protein from meat. Strawberries do not have significant protein value. However, like most fruits, strawberries contain water, so the extra hydration will be beneficial for your cat. In addition, they may benefit from the fiber that strawberries provide.
Now, back to the moderation thing. This is pretty important when applied to cats and “human” food. If a cat overeats strawberries, he could experience some issues. There’s the sugar content of strawberries. Yes, strawberries obviously contain natural sugar, but it’s still sugar. Too much sugar is terrible for cats because they cannot digest it as we can. In addition, excessive sugar can cause digestive issues and feline obesity, which can eventually lead to diabetes.
Aside from the high sugar content, strawberries contain a lot of potassium. Cats can suffer from a condition called hyperkalemia if they get too much potassium, so be aware of that.
Also, don’t forget about potential allergies. If this is your cat’s first time tasting strawberries, watch for reactions such as an upset stomach, vomiting, or diarrhea. If your cat develops these symptoms or others, stop feeding her the strawberries and call your veterinarian.
Do Cats Like Strawberries?
Cats cannot identify sweetness in foods, so they may or may not even like strawberries, considering the sweet flavor is one of the biggest appeals of this fruit. Some cats like strawberries, some don’t, and others like to play with a strawberry as if it is a toy!
The only way you will know if your cat likes strawberries is to give her a piece. Don’t be surprised or offended if she doesn’t even like it! You know how finicky cats can be. If she does gobble it down, that’s great too! If she tosses it around the kitchen and chases it, well, make sure you get a fun video of her strawberry entertainment!
My Cat Loves Strawberries: How Much Can He Have?
Let’s say your cat has already shown a strong interest in strawberries, and you are wondering how often he can have this refreshing snack. Most vets recommend cat owners to feed their pets a diet close to which they would eat in the wild. This is because cats’ bodies have adapted over time to support new ways of life. As I already mentioned, cats are strict carnivores, so they need meat, first and foremost.
Veterinarians recommend that “treats” should allot for no more than 5-10% of your cat’s daily calorie needs. According to the National Research Council of the National Academies, the size of your cat will determine his caloric needs, but an average 10-pound cat needs 280 calories a day. For a 10-pound cat, 5-10% of his daily calories are 14-28 calories. One medium strawberry has four calories, which means seven strawberries equals approximately 28 calories. Feeding your cat seven strawberries would max out his treat calories for the day. However, if you give your cat treats throughout the day, you probably want to stick to 2-3 strawberries.
Can My Cat Eat Strawberries Directly from the Plant?
It’s not wise to let your cat eat strawberries directly from the plant because the leaves and the stems can be harmful to cats. They are not only hard for a cat to digest, but they can cause skin irritation in cats. Then, there’s also the issue of consuming bacteria and other substances from the plant, such as worms.
Strawberries are safe for cats as a tasty treat now and then. Remember, they should not be a staple in your cat’s diet, but they can provide some extra hydration and a bit of fiber. Just omit the whipped cream and chocolate syrup.