Apples are one of the most popular fruits in the United States, as evidenced by the old saying “As American as Apple Pie!” They are inexpensive to purchase and grow freely in many areas, so it’s not uncommon for cat owners to wonder if their feline friends can eat them. The short answer is yes, cats can eat apples. However, there are several things to consider before you make it a regular treat. Keep reading while we take a closer look at apples to find the pros and cons of feeding them to your pet.
Are Apples Bad for My Cat?
All cat breeds are carnivorous animals, which means that animal proteins make up almost all their diet. Cats do not have the digestive enzymes to break down plant matter the way omnivores do, so eating this food can cause problems. However, the ingredients of most cat foods will have some fruits and vegetables listed, and it’s not unlikely that you will find apples.
One of the main components of an apple is sugar, and a single cup contains as much as 13 grams. Sugar is another way that cats are different from humans, and while we may enjoy the occasional sweet snack, there is evidence that cats can’t taste sweets. If they can’t taste sweets, there is no need to feed them to your pet and will only work to add sugar to their diet. Unfortunately, sugar will still lead to obesity, and cats are already suffering from obesity across America, with some experts suggesting as many as 50% of cats over 5 years old weigh more than they should.
Apples are the target of pesticides in many parts of the country, and an apple’s large surface can hold a considerable amount. We recommend always washing and peeling any apples you feed your cat.
Are Apples Good for My Cat?
The primary ingredient in an apple is water, which can help hydrate your cat, especially during the summer months when cats lounge around and don’t drink much. Many cats eat a dry kibble which helps keep their teeth clean, but if they don’t drink enough water, they can become dehydrated, leading to constipation and more severe health problems.
Raw apples have plenty of fiber which can help regulate your cat’s sensitive digestive system. Fiber helps reduce the risk of constipation and diarrhea by controlling the amount of water in the intestines. If your cat is constipated or suffers from frequent diarrhea, adding fiber to the diet can help get your cat back to normal. However, too much fiber, especially in combination with the high water content, can cause your cat to have loose stools and even diarrhea.
Vitamins and Minerals
Apples have a good amount of nutrients, including vitamins A and C, phosphorus, potassium, and antioxidants that can help boost your pet’s immune system keeping it free of disease.
How Should I Feed My Cat Apples?
We recommend avoiding apples unless your cats have a fondness for them. If you notice your cat trying to eat your apples, we recommend cleaning one really well and cutting out a half-inch cube without the skin. Chop that small piece off and let your cat try it. If they can eat it and not have problems in the litter box for the next 24-hours, you can increase the amount slightly. We recommend serving it as a treat no more than once per week.
Alternatives to Apples
Carrots are a popular ingredient in many cat foods, and a small portion of cooked carrots can be a colorful treat for your cat without as much as the sugar contained in apples.
You can serve peas raw or cooked, and many cats might eat them faster than you might expect since it’s a popular ingredient in many cat foods due to the high protein content.
Broccoli is the perfect treat for indoor cats that like to eat plants. Cooked broccoli is healthy for your cat and gives them something to play with and chew on.
Green beans, like peas, can be served raw or cooked and provide a great source of fiber.
Pumpkin is a widely used food for relieving constipation in dogs, but it can help your cat as well by adding plenty of fiber to its diet. Pumpkin is a popular ingredient in many pet stores, and cats seem to like it.
If your cat ate some apple without you noticing, they will likely be just fine. You can even give a small amount as a treat once per week, but we recommend choosing a healthier alternative to avoid the risk of weight gain. The alternative list we provided is a great place to start, but plenty of foods would make a better snack for a cat than an apple.
We hope you have enjoyed reading over this guide, and it has helped answer your questions. If we have helped improve your cat’s diet, please share this guide to feeding your cat apples on Facebook and Twitter.
Related Read: Can Cats Eat Eggs? What You Need to Know!
Featured Image Credit: pasja1000, Pixabay