Can Cats Eat Apples? Yes, But With These Precautions!

image of a kitty with apples

They say “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”, a practice that can be traced all the way back to the time of Hippocrates who said “Let food be thy medicine”. Can an apple keep the veterinarian away? Some dogs like to munch on apples, but is it good for your cat? Cats are obligate carnivores which means they may not fully digest anything that isn’t meat.

Normally, a cat may not want to eat an apple, but if they find one of these roly-poly fruits they may decide to take a bite in play. If your cat sees you eating apple slice, she may get curious and want to give it a try.

A little apple won’t hurt your cat. In fact, the antioxidants in apples might be good for her. There’s also calcium, vitamins K and C and a good deal of fiber. Just remember that all things must be done in moderation, even eating healthy foods like apples.

Click Here To Find Out If Your Kitty Can Eat Watermelon.

What about applesauce?

An old riddle goes “How do you serve five apples evenly between three people?” The answer is “Make applesauce”. This is also the answer to the riddle of how to serve crunchy apples to an animal made to eat meat.

The few cats that do like apples prefer it pureed. It’s also a handy way to add extra vitamins and antioxidants to your cat’s food with a little flavor.

Do remember, this is only a healthy food additive, not a meal in of itself. If you use homemade applesauce, make sure the seeds don’t get mixed in as they have cyanide and are poisonous. 

It’s better to give them homemade applesauce than anything processed with artificial preservatives. Do not use anything with sweeteners as they’re not good for cats and your cat can’t taste sweets anyway. Cinnamon is largely non-toxic to cats as long as they’re not allergic but nutmeg is poisonous to them as are cloves. 

How To Prepare Apple For My Cat

image of two red apples

It’s very unlikely that your cat will be able to do more than take a few nips out of this big (to them) round fruit. While a pureed apple might be easiest for a cat to eat, you may also hand feed her a slice or two of apple if she likes it. There are a few useful things to remember though.

Rotten fruit is not good for a cat. The fruit must be clean. These two things would apply even to an apple being eaten by a human. But the one important thing to remember when feeding apples to a cat is not to let them swallow the seeds.

Never Feed Your Cat Rotten Fruit

If you feed your cat fruit, don’t feed them anything you wouldn’t eat yourself. If anything, cats are more sensitive to rotten fruit than humans. It can lead to diarrhea and other stomach problems. Fermented apples can quickly send a cat into an alcohol fueled coma, so keep your cat far away from them.

If you happen to live near an apple orchard, make sure Kitty doesn’t nibble a bad fruit out of curiosity.

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Don’t Forget to Wash the Fruits

Some apples are treated with pesticides and fungicides or sprayed with something to make them look extra shiny to make them look more appetizing. Give the apple a good rinse in clean water. Soap is unnecessary but you may want to soak them in a baking soda solution for 12 to 15 minutes before letting your cat take a bite.

Better yet, just peel the skin off. Don’t think “organic” means they weren’t treated with pesticides. They were just treated with natural pesticides and fungicides that aren’t necessarily safe for consumption.

Apple Seeds Are Not Safe for Cats

The seeds are not only a choking hazard and get stuck in teeth easily, but are composed of substances that can be converted into hydrogen cyanide. Anyone who’s read an Agatha Christie novel can tell you cyanide is bad news. The tiny bit in the seeds may be harmless to humans, but can play havoc on a cat’s more delicate system.

Click Here To Find Out If Your Kitty Can Eat Strawberries.

Are Apples Good For Cats?

In moderation and if they don’t eat the core or seeds, an apple can be good for your cat. If Kitty has been taking a bit too long in the litter box, maybe she could use a little extra fiber. Vitamin C will help her stay healthy. She needs calcium for strong teeth and bones. Apples also have phytonutrients that regulate blood sugar.

Concerns with serving apples to cats.

Always remember that apples should be only in moderation, just to add a touch more fiber, vitamin C and a flavor variety. Cats neither need or want sugar so apples coated in candy or caramel won’t do anything but damage their teeth and make their whiskers sticky. The best way to feed a cat apples is stirring a little applesauce into their food or hand feeding her the odd slice.

Above all, it must be reiterated that the cat should not allow the seeds. Apples are completely lacking in the protein and B vitamins that your cat really needs. A 242 gram apple has 126 calories, so your cat may not need a whole one. Feel free to share!

Resources:

  • Apple WRITTEN BY: The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica
  • Apples – The World’s Healthiest Foods
  • Feeding Your Cat Cornell Feline Health Center Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Apple phytochemicals and their health benefits Nutr J. 2004; 3: 5.
    Published online 2004 May 12. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-3-5 by Jeanelle Boyer and Rui Hai Liu
  • Cats Lack a Sweet Taste Receptor J Nutr. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2007 Nov 5.
    Published in final edited form as: J Nutr. 2006 Jul; 136(7 Suppl): 1932S–1934S. by Xia Li, Weihua Li, Hong Wang, Douglas L. Bayley, Jie Cao, Danielle R. Reed, Alexander A. Bachmanov, Liquan Huang, Véronique Legrand-Defretin, Gary K. Beauchamp, and Joseph G. Brand
  • September 2, 2018
Mary Nielsen
 

A huge animal lover, born and raised around dogs, cats, chickens... Self-educated pet care nerd. Currently parent of three adopted cats and one small mutt. Animal adoption advocate. Loves a good book (about animals) and playing the piano.