In A Nutshell
Cherries are generally the sweet treat on top of most sweets and healthy eats. We’ve enjoyed cherries since we first ate them.
Then you start thinking if you could feed these cherries to your cat that looks intently at them as you indulge.
Can cats eat cherries? Your cat can only enjoy treats when you know when to give it to them.
So when cherries are in season, do you give it to them? To be honest, nothing is tastier than a bowl of cherries, for as long as the pits are removed! If you can enjoy them, why deny this delicious fruit to your cat?
Can Cats Eat Cherries? Why Not!
That’s right! Cats can eat cherries. The good news is, it isn’t like feeding your cat raspberries. So, you can feed your cat more than 2-3 at a time. Yet this should happen up to a healthy extent.
As you can see, cats are carnivores. So, they absorb most of their nutritional benefits mostly from animal sources and protein other than vegetable or fruit sources.
The question we need to ask is why we still consider giving these as treats to our well-loved felines?
So this query entails a rundown on the benefits of consuming cherries!
First things first, these delicious treats are soft to chew and are quite sweet on the tongue. It’s easy for this fruit to catch our attention with their bright red color.
Your cats are most likely to try a cherry out to satisfy their curiosity. Do bear in mind that not all health benefits of cherries apply to cats.
Also Read: Can Cats Eat Blueberries?
What are the Benefits of Cherries?
What nutrients can we benefit from cherries? Antioxidants are at the top of the nutritional profile. Just like us, your cats need just as many antioxidants.
These groups of antioxidants can help with inflammation, eliminate forms of carcinogen, combat heart disease, and a lot more.
When eaten properly and in moderation, cats may also enjoy the benefits of cherries. The following are some of the health benefits of cherries to cats:
1. Lower Your Cat’s Risks of Getting Chronic Diseases
Cherries are loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. The combination of these two compounds helps in fighting oxidative stress, thereby preventing your cat from getting chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer.
These compounds also help in promoting mental health, strengthening the immune system, fighting inflammation, preventing cellular damage, and preventing the signs of premature skin aging.
2. Improve Sleep and Digestion
Cats are known for their innate ability to sleep 12-16 hours a day, so they may not need anything that could help promote sleep. However, there are instances when environmental factors can make it hard for them to do so.
For instance, when you just moved into a new place, your cat may take a day or two to be accustomed to his new environment. As a result, he may have a hard time falling asleep during the first few days.
In times like this, giving your cat doses of cherry fruit may help put him to slumber and help him restore his usual sleep patterns.
Aside from helping your cat with sleep, cherries also boast high amounts of fiber and water content. This combination could help in promoting healthy digestion, and relieve issues like incontinence and constipation.
3. Manage Arthritis
Thanks to cherries, your senior cat may now experience a significant reduction in his levels of pain and discomfort brought by arthritis.
Also, a lot of studies have shown significant findings in the use of cherries in improving the symptoms of gout in cats.
Gout is a more severe form of arthritis as a result of the buildup of uric acid inside the cat’s body. So, relief from its symptoms is really of big help in improving your cat’s quality of life.
4. Calmer Attitude
Besides the group of antioxidants, another fundamental substance you can find from cherries is melatonin. We consider melatonin as a “soothing remedy”.
The cherries your cats eat help relieve tension on a physiological and cognitive level. Your cat must get worked up when guests come home or by the sound of firecrackers.
By feeding your cat cherries, you can reduce their stress and discomfort. Melatonin calms the nervous system and the brain. So they’re less anxious, fearful, or irritable when in a new situation.
Are Cherries Toxic to Cats?
With cherry’s reputation as a healthy human fruit, it may be hard to believe that it can pose some health issues to cats. Cherry poisoning is one of the dangers of feeding cherries to felines. However, it can be easily avoided by knowing which parts of the cherries should be discarded and what can be consumed by our cats.
Cherry poisoning is an entirely serious health condition in cats. It happens when a cat eats an unripe part of the cherry fruit. Cyanide is formed when fruits being consumed release cyanogenic glycosides upon chewing. This often occurs when there are too many served all at once without thorough checking.
So, you’ll know when your cat’s eaten an unripe cherry with these first symptoms such as a sense of discomfort, episodes of indigestion, vomiting, or diarrhea.
More so, as your cat accidentally eats the seed of a cherry or any part that also contains cyanide may lead to cherry poisoning as well.
The cherry plant belongs to the Rosaceae family under the genus Prunus. Common names of cherry trees or shrubs include cherry laurel, choke cherry, prunus, black cherry, ground cherry, domestic cherry, and wild cherry.
Possible Risks of Cherries to Felines
Eating huge amounts of cherries can cause some gastrointestinal symptoms in cats such as vomiting and diarrhea. However, these are just mild symptoms compared to what your cat may experience if he ingests not just the cherry fruit itself, but also the rest of the parts of the cherry plant.
Cherry poisoning in cats happens when a feline ingests the unripe part of a cherry, or when he eats the pits, the seeds, leaves, stems, or blossoms, which are all toxic to cats. The first signs of cherry poisoning may appear like your cat just ate a lot of cherries because the symptoms are just similar – indigestion, vomiting, diarrhea, and gas.
When a cat only ate one or two of these toxic parts of the cherry plant, it won’t be life-threatening. However, when he ate a lot of these parts that contain cyanide, he may experience severe clinical signs that include difficulty of breathing, panting, dilated pupils, bright red gums, and shock, which can eventually lead to death.
As mentioned earlier, cats are obligate carnivores, so they are better off getting their nutrients from animal sources than from plants. And in a way, cherries are foreign bodies for felines. Hence, you should proceed with caution when feeding these fruits to them.
Instead of overwhelming them with a handful of cherry, just offer them one or two ripe cherry fruits without their pits. This can help their body not to be overwhelmed with compounds that are harder to digest. So, by giving your cat just a few cherries at a time, you can spare them from the discomforts brought by an upset stomach.
Also, make sure to observe for signs of choking when feeding cherries to your cat. Again, you can avoid this by only giving him one or two cherry fruits at a time or you can also smash them and add them as toppings to their favorite cat food.
Cherries also contain some sugar, and cats are known to having issues digesting sugar. As such, eating plenty of cherries can also cause sugar indigestion, which can eventually lead to obesity.
More About Cherry Poisoning in Cats
Being poisoned by cherries might be the last idea that comes to mind when thinking about these pretty fruits. Well, it turns out to be true – beauty can kill after all as cherry poisoning can be lethal for cats. But, how could this condition happen in the first place?
We can blame these morbid complications of cherries to a cat to a single culprit – and that’s cyanide. All parts of the ripe cherry fruit are toxic to cats, and that includes the seeds, the blossoms, the stems, the pits, and the leaves.
However, unless you have cherry plants in your garden, cherry poisoning is least likely to happen to your cat. For the symptoms to manifest, a cat should have ingested huge amounts of these toxic parts of the cherry plant. So, if you are giving cherry fruits to your feline buddy, make sure that they are ripe and do remove the pits first as they also contain cyanide.
Cyanide is toxic to cats because it inhibits cytochrome oxidase, an enzyme that is vital for cellular oxygen transport. Hence, with the presence of cyanide in a cat’s system, his cells cannot pick up oxygen to be transported throughout the different parts and organs of the body. The series of events will cause hypoxia and eventually organ failure (kidney damage, etc.) and death.
Diagnosing and Treating Cherry Poisoning in Cats
If you caught your cat eating, licking, or chewing any of the toxic parts of the cherry plant, then, you can suspect cherry poisoning.
The severity of the symptoms may also be influenced by the amount of cyanide exposure through the ingestion of the cherry plants.
If you didn’t see your cat eating or licking these poisonous parts, your veterinarian will base his or her diagnosis on the presenting symptoms during the physical examination.
Before your vet will give a definitive diagnosis of cherry poisoning, he may also need to do a differential diagnosis. This is because cherry poisoning may mimic the symptoms of cyanide poisoning and nitrate poisoning.
The easiest way to rule out cyanide and nitrate poisonings is by simply taking a blood sample. When a cat is experiencing cyanide poisoning, his blood will turn bright red, while that of a cat experiencing nitrite toxicity will turn into dark brown. Your vet may also take your cat’s blood oxygen, as a decreased in oxygen level can indicate cherry poisoning.
As for the treatment, you can expect your vet to start your cat with oxygen supplementation, followed by fluid therapy to flush out the cyanide out of the body.
Methylene blue may also be administered intravenously as this substance will help in the effective oxygen transport inside the body.
How can I Feed Cherries to my Cats?
While cherries are incredibly the perfect source of antioxidant for your cats, having too much of it could lead to other detrimental results. Considering your cat has a different digestive system function compared to us, and because of that, your cat’s metabolism is different.
Here’s how we can safely feed cherries to your cats.
First things first, you need to know how to introduce this fruit to your cat. Make sure that you don’t overwhelm your furry friend with a bowl full of cherries, knowing you have no idea how the body might react to it.
Cats could be hypersensitive to food and are truly prone to mild or severe allergies. This is especially for other fruits and vegetables that shouldn’t be in their diet.
You can safely administer feeding your cat with a piece flesh of a cherry. It’s like doing a test patch to see if there may be any reactions to it.
Give the test at least an hour or two for results and any changes in your cat’s behavior. If your cat is pooping like the usual and doesn’t seem to express any discomfort, then it’s a go signal to continue feeding cherries.
Secondly, make sure you’re not feeding your cat just cherries. Literally treat it as the cherry on top! These fruits should only come as side dishes or add-ons incorporated into their main diet.
Your cat’s main diet consists of animal proteins. These animal proteins such as chicken, meat, or fish become 90% of their overall dish, while 10% are only cherries.
Third, as you feed your cat you can add in puree for better digestion. This shall potentially help with regulating your cat’s digestive system, while too much of it could also trigger diarrhea.
One of the most important thoughts you can take from this article is to give only a handful of pitted cherries and not more than that.
Are Cherries Safe for Cats?
The digestive system of a feline is different and could come off as extremely sensitive. It breaks down nutrients slower. Showing quick signs of an upset stomach, constipation, or diarrhea.
Cherries contain a natural sweetener but all sweets aren’t easily digestible for cats. Their stomach isn’t able to digest sugar as fast as humans. So, this means that giving them too many cherries may result in sugar indigestion which can lead to obesity over time.
Giving your cats too much of the cherries might upset the stomach or trigger an uncontrollable bowel movement. This is from how potent the effects of antioxidants are when it’s absorbed from the cherries as their bodies digest it differently from ours.
That is if you go overboard with the feeding. Consider feeding your cat cherries every once in a while. Say you’re going to reward your cats for being obedient or responsive. With this, you can go ahead and use just a handful of cherries to feed them as treats.
Just remember that feeding your cat a few cherries is fine, but overdoing this by consistently giving them a batch certainly won’t help them!
The Major Take-Away
Our pets are like our children to us; they are family. As such, making every step to ensure their health and safety is really a must. As always, if we are going to introduce any human food in their diet, we need to be extra careful and if possible, we can seek the professional advice of our local vet.
There are only a few fruits and vegetables you can safely give to your cats, and yes, cherry is one of them! Cherries all contain antioxidants your cat can benefit from in the long run.
Here are a few things to take note of before anything else!
- Consider the number of cherries you give to your cat. These are desirably given in small quantities.
- Do a patch test by giving just a piece of flesh to your cat and then observe their reaction to the flesh for at least two hours.
- The benefits of antioxidants are fundamental to your cat’s bodily function.
- Take away all the seeds, stem, and leaves of the cherry when serving it as a treat.
- Cherry-pick the ones that are already ripe!
Again, cats can eat cherries but only in moderation. And you should never feed them the toxic parts of the cherry plants, which include the pits. If your cat exhibits any adverse reactions after eating a cherry, withdraw the fruit immediately and consult your veterinarian.
Finally, do not replace your cat’s staple diet with cherries. Instead, only give your cat a piece or two of cherry as treats and you should not treat it as a nutritional supplement or as an alternative health remedy.
So if your cat is bored eating the same old treat, I believe cherries are going to change that!
Cherry Chicken Treats
- 1 Chicken breast cooked and chopped
- 1 cup Sweet Cherries pitted and chopped
- 1 Egg
- 1/4 cup Milk
- 1/4 tsp Lemon Juice
- 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/2 cup Oats
- 1 1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- In a large bowl add all ingredients and mix well.
- Knead dough into ball and roll onto a heavily floured surface 1/4 inch thick and cut with your cookie cutter of your choice.
- Place on your prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until browned at the edges. Cool and refrigerate.
Chewy Cherry Cat Treats
- 1 large Egg
- 1 4 oz jar chicken and brown rice baby food (or something meaty which may include canned wet cat food)
- 1/4 cup Parsley coarsely chopped
- 2 tsp Olive oil
- 2 tbsp Water
- 1 cup Brown rice flour
- 1/2 cup White (or brown) rice cooked
- 1 tbsp Catnip or a hearty tablespoon of extra wet cat food. (optional)
- 1/4 cup Sweet Cherries pitted, diced
- Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together egg, baby food (or wet cat food), parsley, cherries, olive oil, and water. Add brown rice flour and cooked rice. Stir to incorporate. The mixture will be thick but spreadable.
- Spread mixture onto prepared baking sheet creating a rectangle that is about 1/3 of an inch thick. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven. Let rest until cool enough to handle, then slice soft dough into bite-sized pieces. Return pieces to the oven to bake for another 8 minutes.
- Remove from the oven. Allow to cool completely. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
- 2 lbs Sweet Cherries pitted
- 1 cup Water
- 2/3 cup Sugar
- 1 tsp Fresh lemon juice
- Stem the cherries and remove the pits.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the cherries with the water, sugar, and lemon juice, and cook until the cherries are very soft and cooked through, about 10-15 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature, then refrigerate to chill thoroughly.
- Puree the cherries and their liquid and put the mixture through a fine sieve.
- Once the cherry mixture is chilled, freeze according to your ice cream maker's instructions.
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