Strawberries are frequently thought of as the flavour of summer. If your cat agrees, you may be asking whether strawberries are safe for cats to eat, whether you can give your cat strawberries as a treat, and whether strawberries are sweet, juicy, and delectable.
We’ll go into great detail about strawberries so you have all the knowledge you need to decide whether to give your cat strawberries or not.
Benefits Of Strawberry For Cats
Strawberries are low in calories, high in fiber, and low in water. This makes them an excellent healthy snack that’s great for the digestive system and treating constipation.
However, they also contain over 5g of sugar in every 100g strawberries, making them a little too sugary for eating large amounts regularly. Despite this, the amount of fiber helps to regulate the rise in blood sugar, giving strawberries a relatively low glycaemic index.
Luckily, strawberries are also loaded with vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C and potassium. They also contain a number of important phytonutrients such as polyphenols and the antioxidant compounds quercetin and anthocyanins such as pelargonidin.
These nutrients are currently being studied for their important benefits to blood pressure, heart disease, and cancer. Strawberries have one of the highest polyphenol contents of all fruits.
Can Cats Eat Strawberries?
You might now be wondering whether cats can eat strawberries? The good news is that cats can eat strawberries, as long as you follow a few key rules.
Strawberries are considered a safe human food to feed to your feline friend. The ASPCA lists them as non-toxic to cats, dogs and horses. They are tasty, nutritious, and attractive to cats.
It’s not clear why cats want to eat strawberries, as cats have no ‘sweet’ taste receptors and therefore lack the ability to taste ‘sweet’ things. However, if you’re a cat owner, you’ll know how curious cats are, and how much they enjoy trying whatever you’re eating.
Hang on… cats are carnivores- are you sure they can eat strawberries? Yes, cats are obligate carnivores, and you might have heard that this means they cannot digest strawberries and other fruits and vegetables. However, this is not true; ‘obligate carnivore’ simply means that cats need amino acids that are only found in meat- they can eat plants if they choose, but they cannot live without meat.
Are Strawberries Good For Cats?
Ok, so cats can safely eat strawberries, but are strawberries good for cats? Do cats actually get any nutritional benefit from eating strawberries?
As with so many things, vets and researchers don’t yet know whether eating strawberries is good for cats. However, we do know that the high sugar content of strawberries means cats shouldn’t have too many strawberries, especially if they are diabetic. The high fiber content can also cause a problem- too much fiber can cause constipation or diarrhea.
The problem is that, despite all the amazing nutrients in strawberries, they are mostly found in small amounts. Unless your cat can stomach several hundred grams of strawberries (which we would definitely not recommend attempting!), they are unlikely to get any health benefits from eating strawberries- or any other fruit!
However, many cats like the taste of strawberries, and the water and fiber content can be useful additions to their diet. Compared to many treats, strawberries are relatively low-calorie, so if your cat likes them, they can be given as a healthy reward.
How Much Strawberry Can A Cat Eat?
This brings us on to how much strawberry you can safely feed a cat. As usual, I would advise that your cat’s diet is mostly a formulated complete and balanced diet. This cat food should be his main meal- making up at least 90% of his daily calories. The final 10% of his calories can come from snacks and treats, such as strawberries.
For the average cat, this means 20 calories a day can come from an unbalanced source. Assuming you give a variety of other cat treats, you shouldn’t give your cat more than 20g of strawberry per day to avoid obesity. Having said this, many cats will get gut upset from the fiber if they are eating any more than a teaspoon (10g) of strawberry a day.
With this in mind, you may want to feed a small slice of strawberry to your cat as a reward, or chop it up into small pieces and sprinkle it over his meal. Don’t forget to wash the strawberry to remove any traces of pesticides, and remove any greenery (the stem and top) if it’s still present, as this can get stuck in your cat’s throat.
As with all new foods, the first time you give your cat a slice of strawberry, you should give a piece smaller than your fingernail, then monitor your cat for 48 hours for adverse effects. Although strawberry allergies are rare, this is the best way to make sure your cat can cope with strawberries in their diet.
Strawberries are a safe treat for cats and contain a variety of nutrients. They’re also full of water, which is important for maintaining your cat’s hydration. Having said this, you should bear in mind that the fiber in strawberries can cause digestive system upset if you feed too much- and this might prevent your cat from getting any health benefits from strawberry. If you do choose to feed strawberries to your cat, only feed them very small quantities.