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Can Cats Eat Craisins? What You Need to Know!

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By Nicole Cosgrove

glass bowl of dried cranberries or craisins in kitchen

Craisins are a delicious treat; soft, chewy, and packed with nutrition too! Of course, what’s safe and delicious for humans is not always the case for our pets, all the more so for cats as they are obligate carnivores. If you’ve been snacking on some craisins and getting a pleading look from your cat, you may be wondering if it’s safe to give your feline a taste. But can cats eat craisins? Are craisins safe for cats?

Unfortunately, no, as craisins contain a lot of added sugar and should not be given to your cat. Dried cranberries in moderation can be given to your cat occasionally, though, as long as they are free from sugar or other added ingredients. That said, craisins and dried cranberries don’t offer much meaningful nutrition that your cat would other get from their normal diet, but they are not toxic and not overly harmful either. Below, we’ll dive a little deeper into feeding craisins to your cat.

What are Craisins?

Put simply, craisins are dried cranberries, made by partially dehydrating fresh cranberries in a process very similar to making raisins from grapes. Craisins are more commonly referred to simply as dried cranberries, as the word “craisin” is trademarked by Ocean Spray Cranberries and cannot be used for dried cranberries from other manufacturers. Craisins are the product available exclusively from Ocean Spray and contain added sugar and sunflower oil.

a dried cranberries
Image Credit: tamanna_rumee, Pixabay

Why are Craisins Bad For Your Cat?

Craisins are dried cranberries, similar to raisins, but contain added sugar and refined sunflower oil, both of which are not good for cats. Cranberries are typically not as sweet as grapes, and so sugar is often added to make them more palatable (and less healthy!).

While cats can technically eat sugar in small amounts without any issues, it’s certainly not advisable to feed it to them. Like humans, eating too much sugar can result in obesity, heart disease, dental problems, and feline diabetes in cats, and it’s best left off the menu. Refined sunflower oil, or vegetable oils of any kind for that matter, is also not a great ingredient for cats. Again, cats are obligate carnivores and plant-based oils cannot be processed properly by their sensitive digestive systems.

While both of these ingredients are safe for cats in moderation and certainly shouldn’t do any harm in the small amounts that they’re found in craisins, they are best avoided altogether. That said, if your cat sneaks a few while you’re not looking, they’ll probably be just fine!

What About Dried or Fresh Cranberries?

Since craisins are a particular product from a single manufacturer, what about regular dried cranberries? Are these safe for your cat? If the dried cranberries are free from flavors, oils, added sugar, or artificial ingredients, they are generally safe to feed your cat in moderation. Still, cranberries, fresh or dried, have very little nutritional value for cats. While cranberries are great for humans and packed with beneficial vitamins and nutrients, cats have very little need for fruits or vegetables in their diet and can get all the nutrients they need from their regular food. Still, a dried cranberry here and there is perfectly safe for your cat.

a bowl of dried cranberries or craisins
Image By: Creativegen, Pixabay

Other Fruits for Cats

While cats don’t have much of a need for fruit in their diet and most aren’t interested in fruit, some cats may enjoy a piece of fruit occasionally. Of course, fruit contains a lot of sugar, albeit good sugars, and should be fed in moderation only. Also, make sure the fruit is cut up into small, easily chewable pieces to avoid any choking hazards.

Some safe fruits for cats include:
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon
  • Mangoes
  • Pineapple
  • Kiwis
  • Pears

It’s important to note that grapes and raisins are not safe for cats, and may cause some potentially serious digestive issues, vomiting, and diarrhea, and even kidney failure in rare cases.

Final Thoughts

Craisins contain added sugar and refined sunflower oil, and so are not a healthy option to give your feline. While they are non-toxic and won’t cause any serious harm, these ingredients are best left off the menu. Dried cranberries that are free from added flavors, oils, or sugar are a better option, but still don’t offer very much nutritional value for your cat.

Featured Image Credit: Duplass, Shutterstock

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