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Can Cats Drink Cranberry Juice? Everything You Need to Know

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By Nicole Cosgrove


Cranberry juice is often very good for people. For instance, it can be for urinary tract infections and similar instances. However, this isn’t necessarily true for cats. They have very different nutritional needs when compared to people. So, what works for us doesn’t always work for them.

Cats mostly eat protein and fats. Cranberry juice typically doesn’t have any of these things with it. Instead, it is full of carbohydrates. Most juices have added sugar in them as well. Because cats are much smaller than people, even a little extra sugar can seriously harm them. For this reason, you’ll have to avoid sugar-added cranberry juice.

However, you may be able to find un-sugary cranberry juice. There are some potential benefits to feeding your cat cranberry juice, assuming that it is free from extra sugar.

Health Benefits of Cranberry for Cats

Just like with humans, there are some potential benefits of feeding your cat cranberries. Of course, cranberries likely aren’t going to cure any diseases or illnesses outright. However, they may be used alongside medication and veterinary care.

Unlike humans, though, cats were not bred to consume high levels of veggies and fruits. They can be fed a few cranberries without much of a problem, but it shouldn’t be too many cranberries. Likewise, they shouldn’t take up much of their diet, as it may push out other essential vitamins and minerals. Instead, your cat should be eating mostly protein and fat, which cats should get from meat and other animal products.

Cranberries are a good source of fiber, as are most berries. They also contain quite a few vitamins and minerals, including vitamins C, E, and K. These can be extremely helpful for felines in some situations. This is the main reason that cranberries are sometimes included in cat foods.

cranberry sauce on wooden background
Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

Are Cranberries Good for a Cat’s Urinary Health?

Cranberry juice is often recommended for humans who have urinary tract issues. There are many theories as to why cranberries help urinary tract problems. It may be that it makes your urine more acidic, which can limit the growth of bacteria. It may also prevent the bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract walls, which causes them to be flushed out.

With that said, there haven’t been that many studies on cats and cranberries. We don’t know if cats absorb and process cranberries the same as people. We don’t know if they absorb cranberries at all. There are various nutrients that cats can’t absorb from plant-based sources. Some of the nutrients in cranberries may be similar, though no studies have been done on this quite yet.

Currently, we don’t know if cranberries are helpful for a cat’s urinary health or not. This is because there haven’t been enough studies done. However, we do know that all of the extra sugar can be harmful to cats. Therefore, if you decide to give your cat cranberry juice, be sure to get the kind that doesn’t include any added sugar.

cat and wine
Image Credit: Last Leaf Studio, Shutterstock

Are There Any Studies Done on Cats and Cranberry Juice?

There is a drug for UTIs in cats called cystocure, which uses extracts from cranberries as one of the main ingredients. This medication has been shown to be effective.  However, the medication includes other ingredients, and the cranberry extract is very concentrated. Therefore, it is unknown how much cranberry juice your cat would need to drink to get the same effect.

This is the only large study that is available at this time. It isn’t about cranberries specifically, but it does seem to be promising in terms of the benefits of cranberries. We don’t necessarily recommend using this study as proof to feed your cat cranberries, as it doesn’t take everything in the cranberries into consideration.

Image credit: Pxhere

Are Cranberries Okay for Cats?

Plain cranberry juice does seem to be okay for cats. Juice with added sugar is not okay for cats since the added sugar can cause serious problems. Cranberry juice should not make up the majority of the cat’s diet. It does not include the nutrients a cat needs to thrive. You shouldn’t be adding it as a regular part of your cat’s diet.

However, many cat foods include cranberries in moderate amounts to add some necessary vitamins and minerals. In addition, diets designed for urinary health are more likely to contain cranberry since they may help your feline avoid urinary tract problems.

Cranberries contain a substance called oxalates. These can cause oxalate crystals, especially if the feline is already has a predisposition to urinary tract problems.

Image Credit: samboep, Pixabay

Can Cats Drink Unsweetened Cranberry Juice?

Yes, they can, to some extent. However, you shouldn’t introduce it as a majority of the cat’s diet. It can cause severe problems with your cat’s overall diet. Cranberries contain carbohydrates primarily. Your cat needs a diet mainly containing protein and fat. Cranberries don’t include much protein or fat at all. For this reason, they should be generally avoided as a large part of your feline’s diet.

Unsweetened cranberry juice is the only suitable option for your feline. Added sugar is unnecessary for cats. Most juices are sweetened for people, but cats are much smaller. Therefore, sugar is a lot for them, even if it isn’t a lot for the average adult human. Therefore, sugary drinks and foods should be avoided for all cats.

What Else Can You Give Cats for UTIs?

cat at vet with owner and veternarian
Image Credit: 4 PM production, Shutterstock

UTIs should be treated by a veterinarian. An antibiotic will be prescribed most of the time and will provide your feline with some fast relief. However, the exact bacteria causing the UTI will often need to be checked, which will often need to be done with a culture. This may take a few days, so the vet may prescribe a wide-ranging antibiotic to provide some potential relief in the long run.

Some specific diets may prevent urinary tract problems. However, you should speak with your vet before switching your cat’s diet around. Different cats may be more prone to UTIs than others, but they may need a different specific diet to prevent future infections.

Final Thoughts:

Cranberries are often considered a home remedy for human UTIs. However, their use on cats has not been studied extensively. While they may help prevent future UTIs, many fruits are not a natural part of your pet’s diet. Therefore, you should be careful not to push out proteins and fats.

Your cat’s vet should treat any UTI. Ask them if adding cranberry juice may be helpful for your feline in particular. For example, a particular food with cranberries may be recommended for your cat.

Featured Image Credit: Piqsels

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