Cranberries. A small, round red fruit you enjoy ever so often. Especially with the holiday season around the corner, you might be wondering if you can enjoy this tasty treat with your furry friend. Can cranberries be an exception?
Can Cats Eat Cranberries? The quick answer is Yes! Cranberries are safe for cats to eat. However, there are a few big exceptions and sensible precautions you need to take, as is often the case with human food and cats. It is possible for cats to get stomach upset if they eat too many cranberries and dried cranberries and sauces that contain a lot of sugar.
We all know the rule of thumb, “no sharing human food with your pets,” and for a good reason. You should always consult your veterinarian before giving your cat human food. Here’s everything you need to know about cats and cranberries.
What are Cranberries?
You might know about this tiny red fruit. If not, you must have had your doctor prescribe cranberry juice after an especially nasty UTI. The scientific name for this delicious delight is “Vaccinium macrocarpon,” and it is found in the Northern part of The United States. The first-ever use of cranberries was by the Native Americans, who consumed them and used them as a fabric dye.
The United States produces the most cranberries, followed by Canada and Chile. Their peak harvest season is from October to December, so they are widely used during the holidays, especially Thanksgiving. It contains many anti-oxidants, one of which is proanthocyanidins, which are mainly responsible for its fiery red colour.
Are Dried Cranberries Safe for Cats?
The short answer is, yes, it is completely safe for you to feed your furry friend cranberries. Cranberries are not toxic to cats in whatever form (dried, raw, cooked, etc.). Of course, it is wise to keep cranberry intake in moderation as they do not provide meaningful macronutrients to your felines (e.g., proteins and fats).
They need to be unsweetened and free of artificial flavours. Artificial flavours can cause an upset stomach in cats, eventually leading to dehydration. Sugary cranberry juice is specifically made for humans.
As cats are small, the sugar is too much for their little bodies and can lead to obesity, which leads to further complications in felines. Do consult your vet beforehand. If they give you the go-ahead, then the occasional cranberry is actually beneficial for your pet as it is rich in vitamins and proanthocyanidins.
Chocolate-coated dried cranberries shouldn’t be given to cats, either. Although they are less sensitive to theobromine than dogs, chocolate still isn’t good for them.
Why Do Cats Like Cranberries?
Cats enjoy cranberries simply because they are delicious. Many cats enjoy the savoury flavour and the soft and crunchy texture. Cats are not sensitive to sweet flavours; hence they cannot detect or appreciate that.
Although felines are obligatory carnivores, meaning they can exclusively eat and digest meat and have short digestive systems specific to this function, some cats, oddly enough, enjoy certain fruits and eat them too. However, fruits for cats should be considered as treats (just as junk food is on the top of our food pyramid) and should only take up 10% of your cat’s diet at max.
The Benefits of Feeding Cranberries to Cats
Cranberries are rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, C, E, and K. They contain manganese, copper, potassium, iron, and magnesium. Vitamin C boosts their immune system, which helps your feline fight harmful bacteria and viruses and supports wound healing and the thymus gland.
Manganese is essential for connective tissue development (bones, cartilage, and joints) as well as required for neurological functions. It is also believed that phytochemicals prevent urinary tract infections in cats just as it does in humans.
Can Cats Eat Cranberries for UTIs?
Cats suffer from frequent UTIs, which cause a lot of distress to the animal as well as the owner. Cranberries and cranberry juice contain phytochemicals that interfere with the attachment of bacteria to the lining of the bladder while also dropping the pH of urine, making it difficult for bacteria to thrive.
Also, Check Out: Can Cats Eat Cantaloupe?
How Can I Safely Give Cranberries To My Cat?
Cats are not generally fond of fresh cranberry tart. Here are some ways cranberries can be served to cats:
- Through a Supplement – Give your cat cranberry extract in supplement form.
- Via a Treat – Instead of giving them their regular treat, try giving them a dried cranberry (which cats prefer more)
- Water bowl – Add a tablespoon of cranberry juice to the water bowl
- Homemade – Bake cranberries with carrots pieces and chicken shreds. Add some flax oil, and you have healthy homemade cat food.
- Leftovers –Offer leftover cooked cranberries with baked potato from your thanksgiving dinner.
When serving cranberries to your feline friends, ensure the pits and stones are thoroughly removed as they contain small amounts of cyanide. This is not enough to harm you, but your pet’s smaller size can be poisonous to them.
How many Cranberries Can a Cat Have?
It’s a good idea to consult a vet before giving your cat a taste of cranberries. They can tell you how much your cat can have exactly. Although generally speaking, it should be offered as an occasional treat as cranberries do not have the macronutrients (proteins and fats) required for your kitty’s growth and well-being. As they are obligatory carnivores, cranberries are merely a treat for them.
Can Cats Eat Cranberry Sauce?
Owners should be wary of giving their cats cranberry sauce as the added sugars are harmful to them. Instead, opt for a dried cranberry treat with no added flavours or added sugars. The same goes for cranberry juice. Avoid juices with added sugars and preservatives, as they may be hazardous for your pet.
Are Dried Cranberries Poisonous for Cats?
The ASPCA has not mentioned the safety of cranberries for cats, although no toxicity has yet been reported. It should be given in a limited amount when used as a treat or following the advice of the doctor if used to treat a UTI.
What Fruits Can Cats not Eat?
- Cherries are toxic to cats as their pit and stem contain large amounts of cyanide.
- Grapes and raisins can damage your feline’s kidneys.
- All citrus fruits such as lemon, lime, and oranges can cause an upset stomach and eventual dehydration.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I feed cranberries to my kitten?
No, un-weened kittens should not be fed cranberries. The following cats should also be kept away from the fruit:
Cats that are allergic to cranberries
Cats on an elimination food trial
Can I give my cat cranberry juice?
If the cranberry sauce contains sugar, you cannot feed it to your cat. Manufactured cranberry juice contains preservatives and sugars. The preservatives may be dangerous for your feline’s health, so they can only have a dried cranberry treat or supplement.
Can cats eat cooked cranberries?
Cooked, raw, or dried cranberries are acceptable if no additives are added. Don’t give your cat sweetened cranberry sauce, juice, or candies, as they contain high sugar levels and other additives.
Can cats have canned cranberries?
All canned cranberry sauces and jelly have too much sugar for pets, but cooked and unsweetened cranberries are fine.
You can share your delicious holiday treat with your pet, maybe not in the same form you have it in, but you can both enjoy the high anti-oxidant, vitamin-rich benefits cranberries offer. Of course, like with everything, moderation is key.
Who is Isabella?
My name is Isabella, and I am a dedicated and knowledgeable cat enthusiast. With years of experience caring for cats and a deep love for felines, I made a mission to help other cat lovers navigate the challenges of cat ownership.