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Can Cats Eat Cranberries? Vet-Reviewed Facts

Hallie Roddy

By Hallie Roddy

Can Cats Eat cranberries

Vet approved

Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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When you love a specific food, it’s tempting to share the same mouthwatering taste with your cat so that they can experience it as well. Just because a particular food tastes good, though, doesn’t mean that your cats will enjoy it or should be eating it to begin with. There are dozens of human foods that are not safe for cats to eat, and you must be careful about what you allow them to snack on.

We all know that cats eat a primarily carnivorous diet, yet they still eat small amounts of fruits and vegetables here and there. When cranberries are ripe during the holiday season, it’s tempting to give them a little nibble to see what they think. Are cranberries safe for cats to consume? Not only do some cats enjoy cranberries, but they offer your pets a few nutritional benefits as well.

Should Cats Eat Cranberries?

Cranberries are among the fruits that are safe for felines to eat. In fact, they can benefit your cat in several ways. While humans benefit from consuming cranberries as a source of vitamin C, cats can synthesize their own vitamin C. That said, when cats are ill or otherwise going through disease processes, a boost of vitamin C can help strengthen their immune system, fight off bacteria and viruses, and heal any wounds that they may have.

Cranberries are also rich in vitamin K and manganese. Cranberry-based supplements are often used to prevent feline lower urinary tract disease and recurrent urinary tract infections. While cats are carnivores by nature, their health can be improved by eating small numbers of certain fruits and vegetables; the fiber, antioxidant, and micronutrient content have various health benefits. 

cat about to eat cranberries
Image Credit: Elena Pyatkova, Shutterstock

Do Cats Like the Taste of Cranberries?

Those who have owned or currently own cats know how finicky these animals can be. Your cat liking cranberries depends mainly on the individual who is eating them. Cranberries have a flavor combination that is both sweet and tart. There are many cats out there who love tart flavors, but some might also be less interested. Keep in mind that cats can’t actually taste sweet flavors, though, so the sweetness doesn’t really play much of a role in their likability.

Are Dried Cranberries Safe for Cats?

As you probably know, dried cranberries taste very different from raw ones. Either way, both forms are about equal in nutritional value, and the dried version is just as safe for your cats as the raw one. Advantages of fresh, raw cranberries are that their sugar content is less concentrated and that they have higher moisture content. However, not all cats are going to enjoy eating them, and you shouldn’t try to force them to.

Can Cats Eat Cooked Cranberries?

The answer to this question relies mainly on how you cook the cranberries. If you want to feed your cats cooked cranberries, refrain from adding ingredients to the mix other than water. If you don’t know what ingredients are in the cooked cranberries, it is better to be safe and avoid feeding them to your cat.

Many people add extra sugar to their cooked cranberries to counteract the tart flavor. Sugar is very unhealthy for cats and should not be given to your pets. If they consume some by accident, it likely won’t harm them, but keep a close eye on them and make a note of any behavioral changes in case you need to take them to the vet.

What Other Types of Cranberries Can Cats Eat?

There are quite a few cranberry products out there that seem like they would be safe for cats but probably aren’t. Popular dishes, including cranberries, are cranberry sauce and cranberry jelly. Humans usually make these to accompany chicken and turkey dishes. However, they are also full of sugar and various spices that could cause your cat to have an adverse reaction.

Cranberry juice is another product that humans love to buy. Again, the ingredients list is crucial for finding out if this is safe for your cat. Almost all cranberry juices are extremely high in sugar and have other dangerous artificial sweeteners and ingredients that pets should not consume. If your cat loves cranberries, it is best to stick to their raw form.

glass bowl of dried cranberries or craisins in kitchen
Image By: Duplass, Shutterstock

Final Thoughts

Overall, cranberries can be safe and tasty treats for cats. Many felines love the tart flavor and appreciate the soft and crunchy texture of these winter berries. Raw and dried cranberries with minimal ingredients are safe for cats to consume. Still, there are plenty of cats out there that might not enjoy them and would prefer not to eat them. Don’t force them to do anything they don’t want to. Instead, opt for other healthy treats they might enjoy. If you’re not 100% sure that a certain food is safe for a pet, double-check before serving it to them.


Featured Image Credit: Alexey Hulsov, Pixabay

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