Apples are a popular fruit with humans and so it’s not unlikely that your cat will have run across them as well. (Depending on how playful your cat is, literally run across them, and sent them flying in all directions).
If you’ve caught your cat mooching while you prepare apples for baking or are snacking on one, it’s natural to wonder if it’s all right to share. After all, apples are a pretty nutritious fruit for humans, so can cats enjoy some of the benefits as well?
Short answer: cats can eat a small amount of the peeled fruit. They should not eat the core, seeds, leaves, or really the skin either. And as with any fruit or vegetable, a little goes a long way since cats aren’t really designed to ingest fruits or vegetables anyway. That being said, there are some nutritional benefits that cats can derive from a treat of a small piece of apple every now and again.
Do Cats Like Apples?
This will largely vary from cat to cat. Some cats enjoy the flavor and the texture of apples (though sweet apples won’t have much meaning to them since cats cannot taste sweet things). They may also appreciate the extra water. Other cats cannot be bothered with it.
Some cats like apple-flavored treats, but won’t bother with the actual fruit. It will depend on the cat. If your cat cannot be bothered, don’t force it since apples don’t contain anything cats cannot get from their regular diet anyway.
Do Cats Hate Apples?
Again, this will vary depending on the cat. I don’t think my cat has ever given apples a second glance. I had another cat that would lick pieces that fell on the floor.
It’s pretty unlikely that any cat will hate apples, but if your cat doesn’t want to eat them, don’t worry about it. Going without apples will not harm a cat.
Can Apples Kill Cats?
This is where things can get a trifle dicey when it comes to cats and apples. The flesh of an apple will not kill a cat. It may not necessarily agree with your cat (sour apples may cause a tummy upset for example), but it won’t kill the cat.
The seeds, leaves, and stems on the other hand can be very toxic. Apple seeds contain compounds that are converted to cyanide when ingested and while that trace amount won’t hurt humans, it’s enough to badly hurt cats, particularly small ones. If nothing else, it could make your cat ill and in the worst case, it could kill your pet. Cyanide poisoning has some of the following symptoms:
- Rapid or labored breathing
- Elevated heart rate
- Excessive saliva
- Muscle spasms
- Agitation or excitement
Seeds are also a choking hazard and can get stuck in your cat’s teeth, causing a lot of discomfort.
It’s unlikely that your cat will be allergic to apples, but if you are feeding your pet one for the first time, monitor it afterward for signs of an allergic reaction. These symptoms can include:
- Excessive itchiness
- Diarrhea and vomiting
- Decreased appetite
If you notice anything strange going on with your pet after eating apple, talk to your vet and don’t let them near another apple.
How Many Apples are Safe for Your Cat?
Apples should be considered a treat and no more than 10% of the cat’s calorie intake should be made up of treats. Apples are good because they are low calorie, making servings a touch bigger than you would see with other treats. A treat amount would be a few small chunks of apple or a couple of tablespoons of pureed ‘applesauce’ (made with nothing but apples!)
The best way to feed cats apples is actually through puree since that’s easier for cats to eat. Cats can eat applesauce, so to speak, but make sure that it has no added sweeteners or spices; particularly cloves or nutmeg which can be deadly (and cinnamon with most cats simply don’t like).
Purees are also easier to serve since they can just be put in a bowl or mixed with kibble. If you want to serve your cat apple pieces, make sure they are cut up small enough to not present a choking hazard.
Any apple you feed your cat should be fresh with no browning or rotting. Rotting apples are not only disgusting to eat but are also fermented and could cause alcohol poisoning in your cat. They can also cause vomiting or diarrhea, so make sure that your cat is only getting fresh fruit.
The Health Benefits of Apples for Cats
Apples do have some benefits for cats, particularly ones that are overweight and you are looking for alternatives to the usual carb-heavy treats. Apples are a particularly good source of dietary fiber, are low in fat, cholesterol, and sodium, and are in general, low calorie. They are also a good source of vitamin C, but since cats produce their own, this isn’t as much of a consideration. Apples also have extra water in them, which most cats can certainly use more of.
Keep in mind though that apples do have a fair amount of sugars in them. If cats have too much sugar, they will become overweight and greatly increase their chances of contracting diabetes. Cats aren’t built to process sugars and it doesn’t take much for cats to become unhealthy. Apples should only be used as a treat, not as a replacement for a meal. And they have absolutely no protein in them which makes them unsuitable for meals.
Apples can be beneficial for cats to eat, in small quantities, but they should be considered a treat. Make sure that cats don’t have access to the stems, seeds, or leaves, and it’s also best to remove the skin since even the best washing job may not remove all of the chemicals left on from growing. (plus, your cat may have a bit of trouble eating the skin).
As far as treats go, apples are definitely far from the worst ones out there, but if your cat turns up her nose at it, she won’t be missing anything essential.
Does your cat go for your apples?