When we think of feeding our cats a treat, we usually think of meat (and maybe ice cream or milk). And in the case of high-quality meat at least, we are correct in thinking that it makes a good treat, as well as something that is genuinely good for them to have.
Since cats are overwhelmingly carnivores and in fact are built to handle meat, we don’t usually think of things like fruits and vegetables as a treat for a cat to have or even particularly want!
Cats are quite curious though and many of them will want to at least try a taste of whatever you’re having. Such is the case with strawberries. And while we think of strawberries as a great treat to have for a snack, desserts, or as part of breakfast, we don’t usually think of it as something a cat will like! If your cat does try a taste though, do you have to worry about its safety? Can cats actually eat strawberries?
The short answer here: Yes they can, but only in moderation. Strawberries are absolutely nontoxic to cats, as long as you stick with fresh, completely washed berries. Cats should not eat strawberry flavored things (like yogurt or ice cream) and you should also not give them canned or jarred strawberries as they have too much sugar.
Do Cats Like Strawberries?
Well, much like humans, this will vary from cat to cat. Some cats probably will like them quite a bit and others will turn up their nose at them. If your cat is angling around for a sniff or a lick, give it a very small piece of well-washed fruit and see what it thinks about it!
Keep in mind that in the case of strawberries, cats aren’t going for them because they are sweet. Cats cannot actually taste anything sweet – their tastebuds aren’t evolved to pick up the flavor nor should it be since cats eat meat. What cats do like about strawberries is their texture and moisture content.
None of my cats have ever tried or even asked for strawberries, so I’m not sure if they liked them or not. I may have caught my current cat licking a bit once, but it’s not something she’s particularly demanded. I have heard of other friends’ cats who did like strawberries, so there you go.
Do Cats Hate Strawberries?
Same answer as above really. I don’t think any cats will actively go out of their way to avoid strawberries, but they won’t bother eating it if they don’t like it.
Can Strawberries Kill Cats?
No, not unless they live off strawberries instead of meat and they end up contracting diabetes as a result of the high level of sugars. Cats should be getting most of their sustenance from meat; they require a high protein diet to be healthy.
A diet of fruits and vegetables is not going to do much for a cat and can lead to all manner of ill health. So, while strawberries alone won’t kill cats, living off them won’t help them to stay healthy and will lead to problems that will kill cats.
There is one addendum to add to this though. Strawberries can be an allergen for cats as well as for people. If you are feeding a strawberry to a cat for the first time, watch it very closely for signs of a reaction and take it to the vet if it has trouble breathing, gets hives, or has other issues that you aren’t sure about.
Allergic reaction signs include:
- Watery eyes
- Trouble breathing
- Skin reaction
- General discomfort
Cats can also suffer the side effects of eating too many strawberries. These include diarrhea, stomach pain, constipation, and of course, less appetite.
If you see these things in your cat, hold off on giving it any more strawberries and if it’s severe, bring your cat to your vet, particularly in the case of labored breathing.
How Many Strawberries are Safe for your Cat?
It’s recommended that cats eat no more than half a strawberry in one serving and they shouldn’t eat too many servings. Strawberries may not be toxic; however, they do still have a lot of sugar, and cats aren’t built to digest fruit in the first place.
When preparing a half-strawberry for your cat, make sure of the following:
- Wash the strawberry thoroughly to remove dirt, pesticides, and germs
- Remove the stem and the leaves. These things can cause problems for a cat’s stomach if ingested
- Cut the strawberry into small, bite-size portions
- Watch your cat to ensure it does not have a reaction
- Keep portions to about half a strawberry and no more than once a day.
Assuming your cat has no harmful reaction to it, keeping this in mind will ensure that the strawberry is a safe and enjoyable treat.
You can also give your cat a frozen strawberry or a strawberry puree. A frozen strawberry may make for an interesting toy for adult cats and the puree may entice a picky or senior cat to eat more or at least get more water.
What Are the Benefits of Strawberries?
Although strawberries are put in the category of ‘treat’, they still have a few mild benefits for cats. These include:
- Vitamin C
While your cat can’t eat enough to get much of a boost in these things, a little is better than none and in the case of things like fiber and vitamin C, a diverse source can mean it’s more likely your cat will get its needs met. The fact that strawberries have water in them makes them healthy too since cats are notorious for not drinking enough water.
Strawberries may not be the first thing you think about giving your cat, but if your cat snuck a bite of one, rest assured that it will not harm. Strawberries are nontoxic, offer a trace of some good vitamins and minerals, and may provide an extra source of needed water. If your cat really enjoys them, then a daily half strawberry won’t hurt anything and maybe a suitable reward for good behavior. And if your cat doesn’t like them, then he isn’t missing anything by it.
Does your cat like strawberries? Let us know!