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Can Cats Eat Pears? Are Pears Safe for Cats?

Fruit is a wonderful addition to a healthy diet; it provides us with plenty of dietary fiber and many other important minerals and vitamins. It’s well known that dogs can have small amounts of fruit as a part of their regular diet, but what about animals like cats, which are obligate carnivores? Can cats eat fruits like pears? Are pears safe for cats?

The answer is yes, even carnivores like cats can eat a vegetarian treat every now and then. That being said, there are a few important things to consider before feeding your feline pears or any other fruits. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the potential benefits of feeding your cat pears, as well as some of the potential hazards.

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Are pears safe for cats?

For the most part, pears are a perfectly fine treat to feed your cat on occasion — and in moderation. The fleshy part of the fruit contains some beneficial vitamins, minerals, and moisture that can be good for your feline. The seeds, however, are not safe. The seeds of pears contain cyanogenic glycosides which can be harmful, even fatal, in large amounts. If you do decide to feed your cat some pear as a treat, make sure it is free from any seeds.

While pears are safe for cats in small amounts, remember that cats are obligate carnivores and as such do not require anything in their diet other than the nutrition provided by meat, which is completely sufficient for their health. That said, there are some potential benefits contained in pears, including vitamin C, vitamin A, and plenty of healthy fiber.

Other than the seeds, there are some other hazards to be aware of when feeding pears to your cat, notably the sugar content. Pears should always be given raw and fresh and cut into small, digestible pieces. Avoid canned pears as these are often swimming in sugary syrup. Even raw pears have a high sugar content and should only be given sparingly in small amounts.

Fiber is a vital part of any animal’s diet, and most fruits are high in dietary fiber, which is great for the most part. But giving your feline too much fiber could result in a laxative effect and cause diarrhea, resulting in further issues like dehydration.

Cats and sugar

Pears contain a lot of sugar, and while this is considered by most to be a “healthy sugar” as it is not concentrated and refined, in large amounts it is still harmful to your feline. While sugar is not toxic to cats, it is still best to avoid including it in their diet as much as possible.

Most people don’t realize that cats cannot actually taste sweetness as they lack the receptors that we have to pick it up. Cats can taste bitterness, but they likely won’t enjoy a sweet treat like a pear anyway!

Some cats suffer from conditions like diabetes or obesity, and as such should not have any sugar whatsoever included in their diet, including pears and other fruits. Sugar, even from healthy sources in the form of glucose, should only make up around 1% of their daily diet.

A cat sits near a ripe yellow pear
Image Credit: Olena Belevantseva, Shutterstock

Some fruits to avoid

While pears, apples, and bananas are fine for cats in moderation, there are certain fruits that you should avoid giving your cats altogether, including:

  • Cherries
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Lemons
  • Grapefruit
  • Persimmons

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Final Thoughts

Pears are a perfectly healthy treat to give your feline — in moderation. They contain a high amount of dietary fiber and some important minerals and vitamins, and so make a great healthy snack on occasion. Be sure that the pears are fresh and free from added syrups, free from the seeds, and cut up into small, edible pieces.

The main concern with feeding your cat pears is the sugar content, as this can cause some serious health concerns when fed in excess. Above all, the key is moderation, and a few small pieces every now and then shouldn’t do any harm and may even provide some health benefits for your feline.