Yes, cats can eat cranberries. Cranberries can be a fun feline treat in several different forms, although there are a couple of forms like sauce and juice that it’s best to avoid.
What to Do If Your Cat Ate Too Much Cranberries
Don’t panic! Whether raw, cooked, or dried, cranberries are non-toxic to cats, and while eating too many can upset a cat’s stomach or give them diarrhea, it won’t do long-lasting harm. Cranberries can be a healthy and fun treat if given appropriately.
Of course, they should be fed sparingly and not as the primary food source. Ask your vet what quantity of cranberries is a good amount.
If your cat has decided to feed themselves cranberries, remove the rest when you find them and put them somewhere the kitty can’t treat them as a self-serve buffet dish and where you can give them out. At least now you know they like cranberries.
If the cranberries are anything but raw whole cranberries, like a prepared cranberry treat, check the ingredients list for other additives they might have eaten with the cranberries and treat accordingly.
Dried cranberries are often packaged as a combo snack with raisins or other dried fruit, which might be less appropriate and require a trip to the vet to make sure they’re okay. Cranberry juice is rarely just cranberry juice. It can contain added sugar and other fruit juices to help alleviate the natural sourness of the berry.
If your cat has discovered a new favorite food, maybe try purchasing pure cranberry products and mixing them yourself just to avoid any potential issues in case your cat learns how to obtain cranberries without you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Raw cranberries can be a safe, tangy treat for cats, but moderation is key for both humans and felines. In addition, it’s essential to supervise your cats while they’re eating raw cranberries.
Raw cranberries may be a choking hazard for felines if the cranberries aren’t cooked down first. You’ll therefore need to ensure that your cats can eat something of this size without having difficulties. Do not give your cats raw cranberries as a treat if they have any teeth issues.
You can also give your cat dried cranberries as a tasty, safe treat—but it’s crucial to keep the following caveats in mind:
If possible, buy packages of dried cranberries alone–since many packages with dried cranberries also contain mixed dried raisins. Both raisins and grapes are a no-no for cats (and dogs) since grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure.
Therefore, if you buy mixed dried cranberries and raisins, don’t simply open up the package, dip it into your hand, and give the contents to your cats. Instead, carefully pick out the cranberries only for a tasty feline treat.
Sugar is often added to dried cranberries. Check the package’s label to determine how much sugar is included. If there is too much sugar, do not give the dried cranberries to your cat. The feline mouth has limited taste buds, none of which developed to taste sweetness.
Modern sweeteners and table sugar are not natural foods for cats, so if they consume sugar, they do not digest it efficiently and may experience discomfort, diarrhea, and vomiting. Repeated sugar consumption can lead to weight gain, tooth problems, diabetes, and other medical issues.
In addition, some packaged dried or canned cranberries may be made with sugar substitutes to decrease calories. This may include xylitol, a naturally-occurring substance often used as a sugar substitute. Xylitol can cause sudden decreases in blood sugar levels, seizures, and liver cell damage, causing severe toxicity in dogs.
Although research has shown that xylitol does not appear to have similar toxic effects in cats, this may be due, at least in part, to most cats’ lack of interest in sweet foods. However, it’s best to store any xylitol-containing products, such as toothpaste or sugar-free foods, safely away from where your cats and dogs may reach them.
Yes, your cats can safely eat cooked cranberries—as long as you’ve cooked a small dish yourself and haven’t added any ingredients that could cause issues for your cats. But if cooked cranberries are part of a dish that includes raisins, alcohol, sugar, and other ingredients, steer clear and do not give any to your cats.
In most cases, it’s probably wise to refrain from giving your cats cranberry sauce as a treat, particularly if someone else has brought it over as a Thanksgiving Day dish and you’re unsure about the ingredients. If you’ve purchased cranberry sauce, check the label to determine whether it contains too much sugar or potentially toxic sugar substitutes.
Bottom line: If your cats get into any foods that contain unknown ingredients or something that might be toxic for cats, immediately contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435, which is available for any animal poison-related emergency, 24 hours per day, 365 days a year.
Some research suggests that for humans, cats, and dogs, cranberry juice can be beneficial in preventing and helping to treat urinary tract infections (UTIs).
It’s thought cranberries may serve to make the urine more acidic, making the environment less hospitable for bacteria to prosper. However, other studies have found no benefit, so additional research is required.
Further, cranberry juice may contain too much sugar, artificial sugars, and potentially toxic ingredients. Therefore, be sure to contact your veterinarian regarding the cranberry juice’s ingredients before giving it to your cats.
In addition, your veterinarian may be able to prescribe pills that contain cranberry extract or recommend appropriate over-the-counter cranberry-extract-containing supplements. However, as noted above, further research is necessary to prove their effectiveness and safety.