Can cats eat strawberries? People who were little girls back in the 80's might remember a little (highly merchandised) character named Strawberry Shortcake who lived in a giant strawberry shaped house and had a little pink cat with white polka dots named Custard.
Custard was a berry sweet and friendly little kitty who liked to play. Her mistress grew giant strawberries and made strawberry flavored treats. Of course, this was the world of cartoons and dolls.
While it is easy to imagine a cute little kitty snacking on a sweet fruit shaped like a heart, we have to ask if this is really feasible or just as make-believe as little girls living by themselves in giant strawberries.
Are Strawberries Safe For Cats?
You may be asking yourself right now “Can cats eat strawberries?” Well, yes, they can eat just about anything. But should they? The more correct question is “Are strawberries bad for cats?” According to the ASPCA, fruits of the genus Fragaria are non toxic to cats. (The greenery of this plant is quite a different story.)
So, short answer, yes, they're safe. They are not at all poisonous. A nibble or two will not kill your cat. But there are more questions you should ask before feeding your kitty strawberries.
Do Cats Like Strawberries?
Most cats might not.
Cats just are not very partial to sweet tasting things in general. However, they do like fragrant things and strawberries do have an alluring aroma. For all their reputation of being finicky, cats are also quite curious and might want to try something they have seen you eat.
She just might change her mind in a week. If she does not have any interest in it, there is a plethora of other healthy foods or other fruits that are safe which you can introduce her to.
Are There Any Benefits?
The nutrient your cat needs most is protein, which strawberries are severely lacking in. Strawberries are rich in anti-oxidants, but your cat would have to eat quite a lot before feeling any effects.
They are heavy in vitamin C, which promotes general healing and reinvigorates the nervous system. Frankly, your cat's nervous system does not need much invigorating and she can naturally produce all the vitamin C she needs anyway. This fruit is also heavy in Ellagic acid which promotes healthy eyesight. Again, not really a problem for a cat.
Consider in the wild how far apart felines and fragarians are on the food chain. If a lynx is prowling about a patch of wild strawberries, he's probably out to get a mouse or rabbit that's come to nibble on the fruit rather than nibble on it himself.
Not that there are no benefits at all. If your cat is constipated, a little strawberry puree might help her out. It can work on other tummy troubles, particularly those suffered by older cats.
A tiny bite of strawberry can act like a natural breath mint if your cat's breath smells a little rank. A growing cat in need of potassium might benefit from the odd strawberry.
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Do you use treats to reward your cat for good behavior such as using the litter box or sitting still for the vet or groomer? Many kitty treats are high in fat so a tiny bit of strawberry might be a low fat option if that is what your cat likes.
Though diabetics love this fruit for being sweet tasting yet with a low glycemic index, even naturally occurring sugar can be too much for your cat. What's more, too many strawberries can lead to diarrhea.
If you feed your cat strawberries at all, keep it in moderation. Half of a strawberry per day is enough for your cat. You should definitely take the leaves and stems off.
Life hack: Take a drinking straw, push it through the tip of the strawberry and keep pushing until it's impaled. You will have a cleanly hulled berry with little waste. You can then cut it into small pieces. Wash your berries thoroughly to remove all pesticides and dirt.
Observe your cat closely after feeding a small but of strawberry. If she develops a rash, she is allergic and should not have anymore of this fruit. If you have strawberry plants in your garden, do not let your cat nibble the greenery as this is poisonous.
Be especially careful if your cat has found wild strawberries as just touching the greenery has caused some cats to break out in a rash. Think before feeding your cat anything strawberry “flavored” as this could mean a hyper sugary syrup your cat does not need.
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Strawberries are not a berry- uh- very necessary part of your cat's diet. If she insists on having one, give her a small bit but don't allow her to overindulge. It can prove to be a healthier alternative to most kitty treats, provided your cat actually likes strawberries.
While strawberries do not offer significant necessary nutrients to your cat's diet, they may serve a purpose, one way or another. As always, consult a veterinarian before making any radical changes to your cat's diet.
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