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It’s not uncommon for our cats to show interest in our food, but that doesn’t mean we should be feeding it to them. But if you accidentally drop a blueberry on the floor and don’t have a chance to pick it up, don’t panic if your cat gets to it first.
Can a cat eat a blueberry? Yes, cats can technically eat blueberries even though they're obligate carnivores and thrive off a diet that's almost all meat. However, cats can and do eat other food, but their primary source of nutrition needs to come from meat. As a cat owner, it's normal to ask questions such as "can cats have strawberries?" or "can cats eat fruit?" because a cat has a seemingly limited diet.
The fact is, cats can eat blueberries, but they don’t necessarily need to. Blueberries are full of antioxidants and nutrients, but a cat won't get a lot of benefit from eating blueberries due to the way their digestive system is designed.
So if your cat accidentally eats a blueberry off your kitchen floor, don’t panic. Blueberries are safe to feed to your feline friend as an occasional treat, but not as an everyday thing. To learn more about feeding your cat blueberries, continue reading the article below.
- Health Benefits: Are Blueberries Good for Cats?
- Can Cats Eat Blueberries?
- How to Serve Blueberries to Cats
- Cat eating blueberries: Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Notes
Health Benefits: Are Blueberries Good for Cats?
Blueberries are known as a superfood, and for good reason. Their purple color is an indicator that they're a great source of antioxidants and vitamins, and they're also full of fiber. Blueberries contain nutrients such as vitamin C, iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc.
Many of these nutrients are the building blocks for bones and contribute to heart health. Blueberries are a great snack that delivers vital nutrients to help your body thrive. These benefits are so great that it's natural to want to share them with your pets.
But are blueberries good for cats, even with all of that nutritional goodness? For starters, blueberries are not toxic to cats, although their sugar content is not good for cats with diabetes. The worst that will happen to your cat after ingesting a blueberry is cat diarrhea, because a cat's digestive system isn't designed to absorb the nutrients that are contained in a blueberry.
In contrast, feeding cats blueberries can help cat constipation for the same reasons it causes diarrhea. Constipation in cats has various causes, but treatment is usually softening the stool. A blueberry may act as a natural stool softener and alleviate the cause of the blockage.
However, there's not much research that shows that feeding blueberries to your cat is good for their health. A cat's digestive system is designed to extract nutrients from meat, and a cat's diet should consist of 90% cat food1. That's not to say cats can't eat fruit, but their ability to benefit from the nutrients in fruits are limited. Cats also can't taste sugar, which means they won't get the sweet sensation of eating a blueberry.
You can make sure that your cat is getting sufficient nutrition from their food by feeding them quality foods that are grain-free or have a minimal amount of grains and fruits to help aid with digestion. If you're not sure that your cat is getting adequate nutrition, you can take them to the vet and have a blood panel drawn. The results of the panel will show if your cat is getting what they need, and if supplemental cat vitamins are needed.
Can Cats Eat Blueberries?
Yes, cats can eat blueberries, but only in moderation. Feeding your cat too many blueberries can cause diarrhea, digestive issues, and an insulin spike in diabetic cats.
Diarrhea in cats can cause them to quickly become dehydrated, something that's dangerous for felines as they tend to draw their water intake from their food. Diet-induced diarrhea can also mask a chronic health condition that needs veterinary treatment.
It’s okay to feed your cat a blueberry every once in a while, but not as a weekly or daily treat. Another reason why you shouldn’t feed your cat blueberries in excess is that blueberries are high in sugar. A diabetic cat is sensitive to sugar, and feeding them blueberries can cause their insulin to spike.
As previously mentioned, cats have evolved to thrive on a meat diet. That's not to say that a cat can't eat other types of food so much as their digestive system is designed to draw out nutrients from meat.
It's always a good idea to talk to your veterinarian before you try introducing a new type of food to your cat. Your vet can give you an in-depth explanation as to why something is good or bad for your cat to eat and help you avoid an adverse outcome. Taking this step is especially important if your cat is on medication. Fruits may counteract the effect of the medication and render it incapable of treating a condition.
Digestive issues are another reason why you should limit feeding cats blueberries. As previously mentioned, blueberries can cause cat diarrhea, but it can also cause cat vomiting due to digestive upset. Cats vomit for a variety of reasons, but feeding a blueberry can cause chronic vomiting that requires a visit to the vet. The vet may inject medication into your cat to stop the vomiting and allow them to recover. However, it's best to avoid feeding blueberries to a cat that has a delicate stomach and eliminate the potential for a stressful situation altogether.
How to Serve Blueberries to Cats
If you do decide to feed your cat blueberries, you need to do it safely. There are a few ways you can safely serve blueberries to cats, such as:
On their own
You can introduce a blueberry to a cat by putting it in front of them and letting them inspect the fruit. The cat may investigate and decide to take a bite. If the cat likes what they experience, they'll probably eat the whole berry. Don't be surprised if your cat decides a blueberry isn't worth their time. Cats can't detect sugar or sweet flavors, which can cause the blueberry to be uninteresting to them.
As a topping
You can put a blueberry on top of another food that your cat likes, like their cat food. However, if you do this, you run the risk of ruining the original food for your cat if they don't like the blueberry.
Mixed in their cat food
You can mush a blueberry and mix it into their cat food. This will even out the texture and make the blueberry less detectable to your cat.
On top of yogurt or applesauce
Both applesauce and yogurt are good digestive aids and safe for cats to eat in moderation. Adding a blueberry on top of either one of these may help your cat eat the berry and digest it more easily.
Don't force your cat to eat a blueberry
If your cat doesn't voluntarily eat a blueberry, no matter how it's served, don't force it. Cats do not respond well to pressure, and there are plenty of alternative ways to feed supplemental nutrients to your cat.
Talk to your veterinarian about the need to supplement your cat's diet with nutrients. This avoids potential digestive upset, interference with medication that's already being provided, and the risk of an insulin spike in a diabetic cat.
Limit the amount of blueberries and fruit you feed your cat
A cat's digestive system isn't going to change when you start feeding them fruit and berries. Instead, the digestive system "ignores" the passage of berries and fruits and derives little in the way of nutrition from them. If you do feel a need to add blueberries to your cat's diet, limit the amount you give them. Keep the amount to no more than 10% of their total daily food1, which would be about two or three blueberries.
Cat eating blueberries: Frequently Asked Questions
What fruits are toxic to cats?
The fruits that are toxic to cats include:
What berries are safe for cats?
The berries that are safe for cats include:
What other fruits can cats eat?
Cats can eat various other fruits, such as:
Make sure to remove seeds and stems from the fruit and cut them up into small pieces prior to feeding the treat to prevent choking.
Can cats eat blueberries? It's ultimately up to you as a cat owner to decide if you want to feed your cat blueberries or not. You won't harm their health by giving them a blueberry to snack on, but you run the risk of dealing with cat diarrhea or other side effects later on. It's better to feed your cat a meat-heavy diet that they can easily digest and benefit from.
So, what do cats eat that's actually good for them? Dutch can help you learn more about a cat’s diet, as well as other pet health issues, such as diabetes in cats. Dutch can also answer questions like "can dogs eat blueberries?", so you can ensure you always feed your furry friends the right food.
Dutch provides online veterinary care and connects pet owners to veterinarians right from home. With Dutch, you can also buy cat medicine online, get a customized prescription treatment plan, have unlimited virtual visits with a veterinarian, and get your pet's medicines delivered directly to you. We also have an extensive free library of pet care and ownership topics for you to learn more about your pets.