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Can Cats Eat Apples? What You Need to Know!

Any time your cat watches you eat, it’s hard to avoid the temptation to share a bit of your food with them. Sweet, crisp, and delicious, apples are a treat that’s as healthy as they are tasty. Naturally, you’ll want to give your cat a slice when they show interest. After all, if it’s good for us, it could be good for your cat as well.

Luckily, in the case of apples, they’re completely safe for cats to eat. Moreover, some of the nutrients in apples can pose some positive health benefits for your feline. That said, there are some precautions you ought to be aware of before you hand a slice of your granny smith over to your cat. Let’s take a look at the benefits and risks associated with feeding cats apples.

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Is the Whole Apple Safe for a Cat to Eat?

If you look up apples on the ASPCA website, you’ll find them listed as a substance that’s toxic to cats. Read a bit closer and you’ll discover that they’re referring to the seeds, stems, and leaves, but not the fruit itself.

What this means for you is that you can feed your cat small bits of apple, but you need to take great care to ensure that all you give them is apple meat. You can’t allow any of the seeds or stems to be eaten.

The problem with the stems, seeds, and leaves is that they contain cyanide.

If your cat eats the seeds and ingests cyanide, health problems are soon to follow. Some of the symptoms of cyanide poisoning include:

  • The cat becomes excited or agitated
  • Rapid breathing
  • Labored breathing
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Excessive salivating
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle spasms

Despite the dangers associated with the ingestion of the seeds, stem, or leaves, the meat of the apple is safe for your cat to eat. But that doesn’t mean your cat will want to eat it! Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they get all of the nutrients they need from eating other animals. On the off chance your cat does like apples, it’s not going to hurt your cat to share a bit, always in moderation, of course.

Cat and apple
Image Credit: raissameres, Pixabay

Benefits of Apples for Cats

We’ve discussed some of the possible dangers that come with feeding apples to your cats, but there are also some benefits that are worth mentioning.

Fiber

In the wild, your cat would have gotten a small amount of fiber from the bones and cartilage of the animals they ate. Today, your cat likely isn’t eating many small mammals, so they’re not getting that much-needed fiber to keep their digestive systems functioning at 100%. A few bites of apple on occasion can provide a little boost of fiber that can help keep your cat’s digestive tract in good health.

Calcium

Calcium is an essential nutrient for cats, so they have to get it from the foods they eat. While they aren’t the most concentrated source of calcium, apples do contain enough calcium to give your cat a boost.

This vital mineral regulates fluid concentration within the cells of your cat’s body. It also plays a role in blood coagulation. Of course, many people are aware of calcium’s role in building and maintaining cartilage and bones, including teeth and joints.

Precautions to Take When Feeding Apples to Cats

More likely than not, your cat will have no interest in eating an apple. But if your cat has decided to let curiosity get the better of them and you wish to fulfill their desires, then there are a few precautions you need to take to make sure that you’re doing so safely.

Wash the Apple Thoroughly

Apples are covered in fungicides and pesticides from the farming process. They’re also coated in a thick layer of germs from the time they spent traveling from the farm to the grocery store where they sat as hundreds of people walked by. You don’t want to feed all of these harmful extras to your cat, so thoroughly wash the apple before feeding it to your feline.

Only Feed Fresh Fruit

If the apple has started to turn brown, get soft, or show any signs of rotting or aging, don’t feed it to your cat. They’re much more sensitive to fruits that are going bad than we are. For you, eating that apple might not cause much harm. But for your cat, it could be a more unpleasant experience.

Cats can easily get sick from an apple that’s just starting to rot. Vomiting and diarrhea are common in such cases. But another concern is the fermenting of the apple’s natural juices. This starts to happen rapidly, and your cat has far less tolerance to alcohol than you. A fermented apple can easily cause alcohol poisoning in your cat’s tiny body, and now you’ve got a whole new problem on your hands.

No Seeds, Stems, Leaves

As we mentioned, the seeds and stem of the apple and the leaves of the tree all contain cyanide, which is highly toxic for cats. Make sure you remove the stem and all seeds from the apple before giving it to your cat.

Feed in moderation

Apples contain quite a bit of sugar. Remember, cats are obligate carnivores, so their bodies aren’t great at processing carbohydrates. Feeding sugars to your cat can lead to an upset stomach, weight gain, and more. But you can avoid all of these problems by only feeding your cat a little bit of an apple at a time.

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Image Credit: pasja1000, Pixabay

How to Feed Apples to a Cat

If you’re going to feed your cat apples, there’s one way that’s better than any other; applesauce. Applesauce is much easier for your cat to eat than a whole apple or even cut up slices.

But store-bought applesauce often has lots of sugary additives. It’s best if you can simply puree an apple up yourself. Once again, make sure you remove the seeds and stem before tossing the apple in the blender as these are toxic for your kitty.

If you don’t have access to a blender and you’ve got an apple on hand, you can safely feed it to your cat by cutting it into small chunks or slices. Just make sure they’re pretty small as you don’t want your cat to choke.

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Conclusion

Your cat probably doesn’t want to eat an apple. If you think they seem like they want a bite of your apple, you might just be projecting. But some cats break the norm and they enjoy these sweet treats. If you have one of these unique felines, there’s no reason to worry. Apples won’t hurt your cat, as long as you don’t feed them the parts that contain cyanide. And like all things, moderation is key. Too much apple can upset your cat’s stomach, so only give them a little at a time.