Blueberries are a superfood in human nutrition. Loaded with a lot of nutrients and antioxidants, they are a healthy treat for the human body.
But can your cat eat blueberries? Although they can’t taste the fruit flavor, cats can eat blueberries safely. As obligate carnivores, their diet doesn’t necessarily require fruits and vegetables, but they can get some health benefits from foods such as blueberries.
Like any other human food, moderation is key. Let’s take a look at the health benefits and how you can safely feed your cat blueberries.
Is it Safe for Cats to Eat Blueberries?
Blueberries are one of the few human foods that your cat can ingest safely. Since they can’t taste the flavor and texture, cats may be excited to eat this fruit due to the moist texture. However, despite having over-the-top health benefits for humans, these antioxidant-rich foods are digested completely differently in a cat’s carnivorous stomach.
On top of being safe for cats, blueberries come with some health benefits for your cat. Here are some of them.
Blueberries contain the highest level of antioxidants among all fruits. In addition, they contain flavonoids, which contain anthocyanins, which are one of the most powerful antioxidants. These nutrients help reduce cell damage, keeping your pet healthy.
Blueberry extracts are commonly used as an ingredient in cat foods. The antioxidants are used as a preservative. In addition, these compounds keep the food fresh for longer.
Blueberries are approximately 85% water which is an excellent option for keeping your pet hydrated. If your cat’s diet is made up of dry kibble, you can add some blueberries to help with digestion. In addition, when your cat is well hydrated, they are protected from common feline diseases like kidney stones, chronic kidney disease, and urinary tract infections.
These fruits are also high in fiber that helps with digestion. So adding some blueberries to your pet’s diet will keep the digestive tract moving and keep the stomach full for longer, especially if you are trying to make them lose weight. Dietary fiber also has an overall protective effect against several diseases.
Vitamin and Minerals
Blueberries are known to have high levels of Vitamin C, K, fiber, and manganese. Vitamin C is important for your cat’s immune system. Vitamin K works to boost bone development and health. On the other hand, manganese regulates metabolism and amino acid production.
How to Feed Your Cat Blueberries
Here’s how you can safely feed your cat blueberries.
Serve Only a Few
In the daily diet, blueberries should be served in moderation. Despite coming with health benefits, they should not constitute your cat’s primary diet.
According to the health and weight of your pet, it needs a complete, well-balanced diet, which can be canned food, dry kibble, or a vet-approved home-cooked diet. Also, avoid too many treats to keep your pet healthy.
Serve Them Fresh or Frozen
Your cat will enjoy blueberries whether they are fresh or frozen. Make it easy to eat by squishing them.
How to Introduce Blueberries to Your Cat
If your cat has never eaten blueberries, here’s how to safely introduce this fruit to their diet.
Consult the Vet
Despite being safe for cats, it’s always best to talk to your vet about the appropriate foods before introducing them to your pet.
Calculate the Portions
Based on your cat’s caloric needs, you can use that to determine how many blueberries your cat should consume over a set period. The amount should align with the nutritional needs, body weight, and health.
Prepare the Berries
This process involves washing them thoroughly and removing the berries from the stem. After this, you can either cut them into half or smaller sizes or smash them so your cat can smell the juices. Some cats also enjoy eating frozen blueberries as a crunchy snack; therefore, you can serve them that way.
If you notice your cat is not interested in these options, you can try mixing the raw blueberries or mashed cooked blueberries into your cat’s food. However, if they don’t eat any of these, there’s no need to force them.
Monitor Your Cat
Introducing a new treat or food to your cat can cause gastrointestinal issues. It’s best to introduce the treats in moderation so you can monitor any changes or problems immediately and seek medical intervention.
Potential Health Concerns from Blueberry Consumption
For first-timers, blueberries may cause a stomach upset. Since their primary diet is mainly meat and lots of protein, some health risks are involved in introducing blueberries to your pet’s diet.
Although cats can eat and digest fruits and vegetables, eating too much could potentially cause stomach upset. They may also experience indigestion, vomiting, and diarrhea. To avoid choking on the berries, especially for kittens, try and mash them into a paste.
Blueberries have low levels of sugar content. However, this amount could still be harmful to your pet, especially if they have diabetes. If this is the case for your pet, it might be better to avoid these fruits.
How Many Blueberries Can a Cat Consume?
Snacks and treats should not make up more than 10% of your cat’s diet. Therefore, as a start, you should first give your cat one berry to monitor how they react before adding more. For an adult cat, two or three berries make sense but should also not be served daily.
In addition, the number of berries your cat eats in a day should also depend on other factors such as the cat’s weight, other treats they are feeding on, and their overall health.
Blueberries are nutritious fruits to add to your cat’s diet. However, as a treat, they should be included in small quantities according to the cat’s health. Before making them a part of your pet’s nutrition plan, you should consult your vet on the best quantities. After consumption, you’ll also need to closely monitor for any adverse reactions.
Also, remember that not all cats will like blueberries despite the benefits. If you notice that your cat is avoiding this fruit, there’s no point in forcing them to eat it.
Looking for more information on what your cat can eat? Try:
- Can Cats Eat Yogurt? What You Need to Know!
- Can Cats Drink Chocolate Milk? Everything You Need to Know!
- Can Cats Eat Broccoli? What You Need to Know!
Featured Image Credit: congerdesign, Pixabay
- Is it Safe for Cats to Eat Blueberries?
- Health Benefits
- How to Feed Your Cat Blueberries
- How to Introduce Blueberries to Your Cat
- Potential Health Concerns from Blueberry Consumption
- How Many Blueberries Can a Cat Consume?