Apples are a healthy and nutritious fruit, packed with vitamins and fiber. We have eaten apples for many thousands of years and use them widely in our diet, both raw and cooked. However, can cats eat apples? Do cats enjoy eating apples, and are they toxic to cats and should be avoided altogether?
Cats can eat small amounts of apple safely. However, apples contain high levels of natural sugar. If eaten in large amounts or over a long period of time, this may cause health problems for cats such as diabetes or digestive upsets. There are also toxins in the stalk, leaves and seeds which must not be fed to your cat.
Luckily, it is unlikely that you will find your cat raiding the fruit bowl for apples. Cats are carnivores and much more tempted by meat products than fruit. Fruit is not part of a cat’s natural diet and cats do not have the taste receptors for sweet and sugary flavors such as those found in apples.
So, in theory cats can eat apples, but it is unlikely that they will want to. There are many other healthy snacks available which your cat will enjoy, and apples probably come a long way down the list.
Are Apples Toxic to Cats?
Cats can safely eat apple flesh in small amounts without causing health problems. However, the stem, leaves and seeds of apples do contain toxins and must not be fed to your cat. Apples also contain a high level of natural sugar. This may cause digestive upsets or diabetes if eaten in large quantities or over a long period of time.
The seeds, leaves and stem of apples are particularly toxic to cats as they contain traces of cyanide. If left untreated, cyanide poisoning can be fatal for cats. So it is important that these parts of the apple are not fed to cats.
The symptoms of cyanide poisoning include difficulty breathing, vomiting, dilated pupils and dark red gums. If these symptoms are seen, then it is vital that your cat attends the veterinary clinic as soon as possible.
Feeding Apples to Your Cat
Apples can be a nutritious snack for your cat. They are high in fiber and protein, and a great source of Vitamins C. If you want to try feeding apples to your cat, make sure that they are prepared correctly to make them safe to eat.
Cats can and will eat apples if the fruit is prepared properly. The stem, leaves and pips of apples are toxic to cats. So it is essential that they are removed. They may also find the skin hard to chew, preferring the soft flesh inside the apple instead.
Make sure that the apple is fresh, without any bruises or soft areas. And wash it thoroughly to remove any residue from fungicides or pesticides.
Can cats eat apples directly out of your hand like shown in the video below? They surely can.
But the best way to feed apples to your cat is in slices with the skin and core removed. Slice the apple thinly to make it easy for your cat to eat. You can also cut the apple into small cubes, which can be scattered on top of your cat’s food.
Some cats also love eating applesauce. However, it is best to make this at home for your cat rather than buying from a store. Commercial apple sauces may contain added sugars, preservatives and additives which may be toxic or harmful for your cat.
To make applesauce for your cat simply peel and core the apple. Then pop it into your blender until it is a sauce-like consistency. If you do not have a blender then small chunks of apple can be grated or mashed with a fork.
How Often Can Cats Eat Apples?
Apple flesh is high in natural sugars, which can cause diabetes in cats in large amounts. It is recommended that fruit and other treats constitute just 2% of your cat’s daily diet.
Cats are carnivores and their digestive systems do not cope well with carbohydrates such as apples. So eating apples may cause stomach upsets. It is best just to occasionally feed your cat a tiny bit of apple at a time as a treat, rather than feeding it as part of the daily diet.
Can Cats Have Apple Juice?
Cats can have apple juice. But it is not as nutritious as eating apple flesh. Apple juice contains a high concentration of sugar and has less fiber than apple flesh. Store bought apple juice may even contain chemicals and preservatives. So it is best to make your own apple juice for your cat.
If you want to give apple juice to your cat, then just allow them to occasionally have a few sips rather than drinking it daily. Cats who develop a taste for apple juice may then not drink enough water, which can cause dehydration and other health issues.
So, Can Cats Eat Apples?
Apples are not bad for cats. But can cats eat apples in large portions daily?
It is therefore necessary that you follow some guidelines when feeding them apples. Make sure to:
- Remove the skin, pips, stem and leaves from the apple.
- Slice the apple thinly, cut into cubes, mashing and blending are all acceptable methods of preparing apples to feed to cats.
- Feed only small amounts of apple to your cat. Recommended maximum of 2% of food per day.
Feeding apples to cats can cause digestive upsets, diabetes, and cyanide poisoning if these guidelines are not followed.