Blueberries are not considered toxic to cats. Cats can eat blueberries but just like any plant-based foods, blueberries need to be fed to cats in small quantities. Blueberries are a tasty treat for humans and whether they are found whole as toppings on yogurt or mashed into pancake dough, it offers a lot of nutritional benefits. However, for our feline friends, the same is not the case. Cats do not get as many benefits from blueberries as humans do. So, even if you gave in to those charming big eyes and decided to indulge your furry guy's new berry craving, you might want to watch how much blueberries you feed them.
Are you wondering what the best way to feed these tasty berries to your cat is? Or what harm feeding many blueberries to your cat may be? I got you covered. In this post, I answer these questions and lots more. So, let's dive in.
Can Cats Eat Blueberries?
Blueberries are known as superfoods. They are commonly known for their high antioxidant levels. They are also speculated to reduce blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and heart disease in humans. No doubt, they are a great source of many health benefits. Humans consume blueberries either by themselves as a snack or as toppings for ice cream and yogurt (frozen blueberries). They can also be mashed into pancake dough and used to make delicious blueberry pancakes.
That being said, as a cat owner, you may be wondering if your cat can also eat blueberries and benefit from all these benefits. The good news is cats can eat blueberries, too. It is considered safe for cats. However, the not-so-good news is that blueberries do not offer cats the same health benefits that they provide to humans. Cats are obligate carnivores that derive their nutrients from meat or meat-based foods. This means that fruits like blueberry are not able to meet your cat's nutrient requirements.
Hence, blueberries or any other food apart from cat food that you feed your cat should not be more than 10% of their total diet. Cats can eat one or two blueberries per day. The tasty berries should not replace cat food but should be an occasional treat for your cat. Too many berries at a time may lead to stomach upset or vomiting spells.
Are blueberries good for my cat?
Blueberries are popularly known for their antioxidant properties. They are a great and healthy snack for a cat if given in small quantities. Also, compared to other cat treats, blueberries are low in calories.
Here are some benefits of blueberry for your cat:
Blueberries may just contain more antioxidants than any other fruit. Yes, you read that right. So, feeding one or two blueberries to your cat can supply your cat with antioxidants. Antioxidants help your cat's body fight against free radicals that can damage DNA in your cat's body cells.
Cats are prone to urinary tract disease. This disease is usually caused by the presence of bacteria in the urinary tract such as E. coli. Blueberries can help prevent this disease by preventing the bacteria from attaching to your cat's bladder wall.
Blueberries contain fiber content that is good for your cat. The fiber can help reduce inflammation throughout the body and also prevent inflammatory bowel movements. Also, fiber adds bulk to your cat's stool, making it easy for your feline to go.
Will blueberries harm my cat?
Blueberries in small quantities are not harmful to cats. Cats can eat small amounts of blueberries occasionally. However, feeding your kitty blueberries in excess can become harmful to their health.
Even though cats cannot enjoy the sweetness of blueberry (cats can't taste "sweetness"), the sugar content in blueberries can pose a threat to your cat's health. Even though blueberries contain natural sugars, they can still spike up your cat's sugar level.
Another thing to note is that blueberries do not contain the nutrients your cat needs to survive. Cats require meat or other meat-based food to survive. Also, cat food contains the complete and balanced diet needed by your cat to survive. Hence, blueberries or other plant-based foods should not become a stable part of your cat's diet as this may lead to health complications in the long run.
How Should I Feed Blueberries to my cat?
Fresh berries are your best bet. Blueberries that are fresh and thoroughly washed should be given to cats. Washing properly ensures that the berries are free from pesticides. To be on the safe side, you may opt for organic blueberries so that you can be sure that it is fresh.
Blueberries can also be sliced in two and given to your cat. This makes it easier to chew and digest. It also prevents choking. The tasty berries can equally be mashed and fed to cats or mixed with cat food and given to your cat.
Frozen blueberries should not be given to cats because they may find it hard to chew the hard skin and this may result in choking.
Is Blueberry extract safe for cats?
Yes, absolutely. Most cat food sold commercially contains a blueberry extract that is safe for cats. In case you were worried that the sugar content may affect your cat, I'm happy to let you know that the blueberry extract contained in cat food does not affect the sugar or carbohydrate levels. However, monitor your cat's reaction to the new food for the first few days to be sure they don't become ill.
How often should I feed blueberries to my cat?
One or two blueberries per day are considered okay for your cat. If your cat does not show any negative reaction like diarrhea or vomiting, you can continue feeding them about two blueberries occasionally.
Cats can eat blueberries. The superfood is not considered toxic to cats. However, it should always be given to cats in small quantities. Also, ensure the berries are clean and fresh. If your cat starts showing any reactions like stomach upset, consult with your veterinarian.