Can Cats Eat Strawberries

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can cats eat strawberries

Can cats eat strawberries? Yes, they can. Strawberries are neither poisonous nor dangerous to cats. However, while a single strawberry as a treat now and then isn’t hazardous for your cat’s health, feeding your cat strawberries in large amounts is not recommended.

Cats are unable to taste sweetness as they lack the appropriate receptors for taste. This is why they are usually uninterested in eating strawberries. However, this is not true for all cats, which is why precautions on your part are necessary.

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can cats eat strawberries

Can Cats Eat Strawberries – The Benefits

Nutritious treat

Strawberries can make a good replacement for the store bought treats you usually feed your cat that are high in fats and extremely unhealthy. When used as a treat, make sure that the quantity of the strawberries is small enough that it does not harm your cat’s health.  Strawberries have many vitamins and nutrients that benefit your cat, but strawberries are high in sugar.  Cats need to adhere to a low sugar diet just as humans. Cats that eat too much sugar, from fruit or other sources, can gain weight, develop diabetes, and have teeth that rot.   Nutritious treats are important, but in moderation.

Natural urges

In the wild, cats consume grass to aid in the regurgitation of indigestible food substances. Pet cats also require fiber to help regurgitate fillers present in their cat food. Since your pet cat cannot find grass inside the house, she will look for other replacements to fulfill her natural urges. Strawberries can serve as such a substitute.  While strawberries are not of a grassy nature, the nutrients within the berry, such as fiber, can aid the digestion similar in a manner that is similar to grass.   Fiber in the berry can also help your cat feel fuller longer, in the event your cat needs to eat less.

Acidity

The acidity of several fruits, including strawberries, can be good for your cat’s health as they kill bacteria and destructive toxins. Acidity in fruit can be used in a positive manner for your cat’s health, but only in moderation.  Foods high in acidity can cause stomach upset and indigestion.  When too much acid is ingested, the stomach lining can disintegrate and cause even more problems.  While you should not give your cat large amounts of strawberries individually, it is okay to give small quantities along with other foods

Dental health

A type of strawberry known as “Fragaria Vesca” is sometimes used to improve dental health. It softens teeth and gets rid of plaque. When biting into the pieces of strawberries, the teeth can be cleansed in a natural way.  After the initial softening of the plaque, you may shift to using a toothbrush to maintain your cat’s dental health. “Fragaria Vesca” can be fed to cats to improve their teeth including those that are pregnant, as according to vets, this does not hold any risk.

Using fruit as a method of teeth cleaning is an economical and easy way to maintain dental health in your cat.  Those cats who may resist regular cleaning, or have serious plaque issues may find eating strawberries to be efficient and pleasurable.

Reasons you Should Not Feed your Cat Strawberries

Not part of cat’s natural diet

Most vets recommend pet owners to feed their pets a diet as close to that which they would eat in the wild. This is done because animals’ bodies have adapted over time in different ways to support certain diets and ways of life. Cats are naturally carnivores. Since they would eat meat and not vegetation in their natural habitat, their digestive systems are not devised to break down plants.

Adhering to the evolved diet of a cat will allow your cat to remain naturally healthy.  When human food is added to the diet of a cat, a host of health issues can arise including obesity, high blood pressure, and circulatory issues. Cats may also risk choking on human food or being poisoned by certain ingredients their bodies are not adapted to.

High sugar quantity

The high sugar quantity present in strawberries means that eating great quantities of the fruit can result in your cat developing diarrhea or an upset stomach.  The stomach of a cat cannot digest sugar the way their owners bodies can, and this fact should be kept in mind when offering fruit of any source.  Small amount of strawberries are safe to offer cats, but not large amounts.

If you cat has eaten your strawberries from home, or eaten a batch of strawberries in a garden, she will be okay, but you need to be aware of the potential stomach upset that will follow.  If your cat has odd behavior or seems to be in pain, take your cat to the vet as soon as you are able.  If your cat simply has an upset stomach, offer her water and rest until their stomach settles.  You may wish to prevent the strawberry gorging in the future by fencing your strawberry garden or hiding strawberries in the kitchen.

Inability to digest sugar

Cats’ ability to break down sugar is also diminished since they lack the liver enzyme glucokinase that metabolizes carbohydrates and stops blood glucose concentrations from increasing far above normal. Thus, you should not feed your cat a large amount of strawberries

Allergies

Some cats may be more interested in rubbing against the fruit than eating it and this might cause them to sneeze or weep. If the leaves are still attached to the strawberries, rubbing against them can irritate the skin of your cat. When a cat spends time around strawberry plants, she can get a rash. Additionally, like humans, different cats are allergic to different foods and so it is entirely possible for your cat to be allergic to the strawberry itself. You should observe your cat closely when you feed her a new food like strawberries to ascertain if your feline is allergic to this new food.

Lack of necessary nutrition

 

As carnivores, the main nutrition that cats require comes from protein. Strawberries do not contain any protein and are of not much use when it comes to fulfilling the nutritional requirements of a cat.  While cats need protein from meat sources to survive, adding in a bit of fruit and veggies to their diet will not be harmful. The added vitamins may not be needed, but they are certainly beneficial in most cats.

Strawberries do contain many anti-oxidant properties but unfortunately cats do not eat the ample amounts of the fruit necessary to gain much of an advantage from this property.

Eating strawberries directly from plant

Eating unwashed strawberries may cause your cat to ingest pesticides which results in your cat getting stomach problems. If your cat eats strawberries directly from the plant, apart from the bacteria she consumes, she can also end up eating other substances that can cause her harm, such as worms. This is especially a threat to kittens and younger cats as they being curious are more likely to eat things they shouldn’t. Older cats are normally more cautious about what they put in their mouths

Precautions you should take if feeding your cat strawberries

  1. Wash them properly.
  2. Remove leaves and stems as they can cause serious health issues for your cat if eaten.
  3. Feed your cat only small amounts of strawberries, preferably mixed with other foods.
  4. Observe your cat carefully when feeding her strawberries the first time, to look for signs of an infection.

On the whole, while the question “Can cats eat strawberries?” can be answered with a yes. After comparing the advantages and disadvantages, it is safe to say that feeding your cat strawberries as a main food is not a good idea.

 

Related Articles:

Can Cats Eat Tuna

Can Cats Eat Watermelon

References:

http://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/evr_multi_healthy_snacks

http://petorb.com/can-cats-eat-strawberries/

http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/wild-strawberry

http://icatcare.org/advice/poisonous-plants

http://cancatseat.net/strawberries

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/strange-but-true-cats-cannot-taste-sweets/

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