You were making a fruit salad the other day when your cat pounced onto the kitchen counter to get a taste. But can cats eat strawberries safely? Here’s everything you need to know before giving your favorite feline a nibble.
Yes, cats can eat strawberries…
Strawberries aren’t toxic to cats, so if yours is curious (and healthy without being on a specialized diet) and takes a nibble, it’s totally safe. But they shouldn’t have them all the time or in large quantities, says Dr. Teresa Manucy, a veterinarian and contributor at PetMD.
…occasionally and in moderation
Cats need nothing but animal protein to thrive. They don’t have taste receptors for sweetness, so most kitties won’t even be interested in taking a bite of your strawberries after getting a whiff. But if your cat is, keep in mind that cats are carnivorous and don’t digest sugar the way humans do. Giving your cat too much sugar can cause digestive issues over time, or even diabetes.
How to safely feed your cats strawberries
It should really be limited to a few licks or bites. Strawberries (and fruit in general) should be seen as a treat—not a source of nutrition or a meal replacement. And since treats should only make up 10 percent or less of your cat’s daily calories, you can do the math to figure out how many strawberries they can have. But that doesn’t mean it’s fine to give them the maximum amount. If your cat can have 25 calories’ worth of treats, that’s equal to about six strawberries. Since they contain more sugar than the average meat-based treat, you shouldn’t feed them all six.
It’s also important to keep in mind that all cats’ digestive systems are different and introducing them to a new food can cause stomach upset, diarrhea or vomiting. There’s also the slight potential for an allergic reaction.
If your cat is eager for a taste, be sure to thoroughly wash the strawberries and remove all the stems and leaves. Cut the berry into bite-sized pieces that will be easy for your cat to chew, like the size of a piece of kibble.