Apples – everybody loves them – and if the old saying is true – doctors fear them. This mighty red fruit has probably been the most used symbol of healthy food choices – and for good reason, as the apple is chock full of vitamins and minerals (14 of them, to be exact), and is by far the most common, if not, one of the most common fruits that can be found in the world.
They vary in color, and can come in shades of green, through to deep yellow, crimson, and deep, dark reds that look absolutely appetizing. And they can also be used in anything from a beautifully baked apple pie to just having a slice or a bite of apple on its own, making it such a versatile, healthy fruit option.
You must be thinking right now – so, if the apple is good for me, then surely it’s good for my cat? While your little furry friend is giving you those glassy eyes and pleading for a little morsel of the apple snack you’re enjoying, you’re probably weighing the pros and cons of sharing this mighty fruit with them.
So here’s the simple answer for you right now – yes, your cat can eat apples. But do they need apples? Even though apples are pretty much the pinnacle of healthy eating, there are a number of considerations that any responsible cat owner should know about before sharing apples with their cats. Let’s explore these considerations in the article below.
Why Are Apples So Good?
From the get go, apples contain vitamins C, A, E, B1, B2, and B6. All of these vitamins work together with the high potassium, phosphorus, calcium and riboflavin content, to help boost the immune system, promote cell healing, protect against cancer, and help in weight loss efforts.
There is also a high level of polyphenols present in apples, which is a micronutrient that helps fight cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and issues related to the digestive system.
With all these benefits, there’s little wonder why apples have been one of the most enduring icons of healthier food choices worldwide.
Can Cats Eat Apples?
Here’s the million dollar question – wait for it – yes, they can. Apples are perfectly safe for cats to eat. But does simply knowing that your cat can eat apples simply mean that they should?
There’s little evidence to show that cats will benefit from all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals that apples provide to us humans. From a nutritional point of view, the hard truth is, cats don’t stand to gain that much at all.
Why is this so? Well, the biggest reason is the fact that cats are known as obligate carnivores. This means that through the generations of their cat ancestors, their entire digestive system has been designed to get all of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals that their feline bodies need from only meat or meat products.
Adding fruit into their diet isn’t really going to make them any healthier – compared to us humans who need adequately balanced servings of fruits, vegetables and other food groups to stay healthy.
So, you now have your answer – go ahead and cut off a little piece of apple for your cat to savor!
Risks Of Eating Apples
Apples are a superfruit, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any inherent risks when it comes to feeding them to your cat. In general, apples are considered a safe fruit item for healthy cats – so if your cat has diabetes, or any other underlying health condition, it’s best to stay away from the apples for now.
Another thing to note is the fact that apples are high in natural sugars, called fructose. Unlike humans, cats do not have the enzymes present in their digestive systems to effectively break down fructose into usable energy, which means that your cat will ultimately be consuming an alarmingly high amount of sugar in their diet if apples are fed on a regular basis.
One more final, but important thing: the stems, leaves, and seeds of apples contain some amount of cyanide, which is highly poisonous to cats. If by any unfortunate chance your cat has ingested any of these apple parts, call your vet or your local animal poison control center immediately for medical assistance.
How Should I Feed My Cat Apples?
If you’ve weighed out the risks and benefits of feeding apples to your cats and have decided to go for it, the key phrase to remember here is “a little goes a long way.”
Cut up the apple slice into small, bite sized morsels that your cat can easily consume. This avoids any risk of a choking hazard, and allows your cat to digest smaller amounts of apple to reduce any stress on their digestive system.
If this is your first time feeding apples to your cat, always feed them a tiny portion first to see if they enjoy it. Cats are known to be picky eaters, but they are individualistic little beings as well, so you might be surprised to see that while one cat may love apples like a fat kid loves cake, while another avoids it like the plague.
The rule to follow is that you should always ensure your cat doesn’t consume more than 10% of her caloric allowance from treats (which in this case, means apple!). Therefore, for a 10lb healthy cat, the maximum serving of an apple should be no more than a quarter of the fruit each day.
What About Apple Puree?
Apple puree is not only safe, but a popular option for cat owners who want something a little more natural in their treat bag. You can usually mix in a tablespoon of apple puree into their food a few times a week to give them a little fruity, naturally sweet kick in their daily meals.
Apples are a perfectly safe treat to give to your cats occasionally. Healthy cats should not have any issues with being served apples, however, in the grand scheme of things, always remember to put nutrition over treats. Apples are treats which should be given occasionally, but the bulk of your cat’s diet should always be the scientifically formulated commercial cat food, which contains all the nutrition they need to lead a healthy, happy life under your care.