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Can Cats Eat Mulberries? What You Need To Know!

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By Nicole Cosgrove

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Dr. Lorna Whittemore

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Mulberries are similar to blackberries and raspberries but with a slightly sweeter flavor. Although most cats are uninterested in this kind of flavor profile, an inquisitive feline might try one or two of the berries to fulfil their curiosity and their desire for answers. Fortunately, the ASPCA states that mulberries are non-toxic to cats and dogs, which means that your feline friend can eat them without too much danger of illness or poisoning.

However, as obligate carnivores, cats don’t need to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables to stay healthy like omnivores and herbivores do.  In fact they have changes to their gastro-intestinal tracts that make them less suited to digesting these.

About Mulberries

The mulberry is related to the fig and comes from the mulberry tree. The tree is commonly grown in Asia and North America, although it is primarily grown for its leaves, which are used as food for silkworms. It can take several years for the tree to become established enough to produce fruit and the berries are considered more delicate than other berries like blackberries and raspberries. As such, your cat is far less likely to come across mulberries, but there is still a chance.

mulberry-pixabay
Image Credit: BoyKat, Pixabay

Are Mulberries Good For Cats?

Whether you have tracked mulberries down in the grocery store or you have successfully managed to grow your own, you don’t need to worry too much if your cat eats them. The ASPCA states that they are not toxic to cats or dogs, so eating one or two won’t cause illness or any major problems for your cat.

However, due to their meat specialized digestive system they are not designed to process berries so they will be getting little nutritional benefit from consuming this fruit despite filling them up and potentially causing them to eat fewer nutritional foods.

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What Fruits Are Toxic To Cats?

Mulberries are non-toxic to cats, but this isn’t the case with all fruit and vegetables. Some are considered very toxic and incredibly dangerous for cats, including:

1. Apple

red apples
Image Credit: pasja1000, Pixabay

Strictly speaking, apples can be safe for cats, but there are caveats. The core should be removed as the seeds contain amygdalin which when chewed can release cyanide. While the levels are unlikely to be dangerous for humans unless eaten in very large quantities, cats are smaller and it takes a lot less to cause cyanide poisoning. If you really want to feed apples to your cat, ensure that it is thoroughly washed and that you remove the stem, core, and pips before feeding.


2. Grapes

grapes_Jill Wellington_Pixabay
Image Credit: Jill Wellington, Pixabay

It is known that grapes, and raisins, are toxic to cats, although it is unclear exactly what toxic substance causes grape poisoning in cats. The ASPCA states that these fruits can cause kidney failure and that feeding them should be avoided.


3. Potatoes

potatoes
Image Credit: Christos Giakkas, Pixabay

Raw potatoes should not be fed to cats because they can cause gastrointestinal distress. Similarly, green potatoes, whether raw or cooked, contain high levels of solanine. Solanine is a substance used by the potato to deter predators and it can cause toxicity and illness. Cooked, plain potatoes, that are not green, should be fine, although you should not feed mashed potatoes because of the additional milk, butter, and salt that is usually added to the food. Solanine poisoning can cause depression, tremors, salivation, inco-ordination and seizures.


4. Tomatoes

sliced tomatoes
Image Credit: Beverly Buckley, Pixabay

Similarly, the tomato plant contains tomatine which is related to solanine, and if your cat eats even a relatively small amount of the tomato plant, it may experience vomiting and diarrhea. Very high doses could cause some more serious neurological symptoms. The ripe fruit of the tomato is considered safe and may offer some vitamins to your cat. Also, you may notice that tomato and tomato paste are listed as ingredients in cat food but this usually means that the ripe fruit was used and it should be perfectly safe.

Conclusion

Cats are obligate carnivores which means that their diet should consist primarily of meat and animal products. They cannot digest plant-based ingredients as well as omnivores so they will not reap the nutritional rewards that food like tomatoes offer to humans. What’s more, many plants can cause illness and even toxicity in cats, while some like potatoes are safe in certain forms but toxic when raw or green.

Generally, if you are unsure, the best approach is to avoid feeding these foods to your pets unless you have checked that they are genuinely safe for consumption. Stick to meat and to safe cat food to avoid toxicity and ensure that your cat gets all the benefits they have to offer.

With that said, mulberries are not considered toxic so if your cat does steal one from the bush outside or your plate, it should not cause illness or lead to any form of poisoning.

Related Read: Can Cats Eat Persimmons? Here’s What You Need to Know!


Featured Image Credit: chulmin1700, Pixabay

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