Can cats eat strawberries and other fruits—the truth vs. red herrings

Too much curiosity can really kill the cat, especially when experimenting with forbidden foods. What’s harmless for humans may be lethal for felines, but the grey area of cat nutrition is vast, leaving many pet parents confused and scared. 

Can cats eat strawberries?” is a question that often pops up in parenting forums, showing how this enticing little fruit is a scary blind spot for many. The truth is, strawberries (and many other squishy fruits) can be dangerous if you’re not careful. Nibbling on a wee piece of strawberry may not harm your precious feline right away, but you absolutely cannot let them run free in strawberry fields forever.

If you want to learn about juicy snacking options for your furball, you’re in the right place. In this informative article, we will clarify the following dilemmas:

  • Do fruits and veggies have a place in cat diets?
  • Where do strawberries stand when it comes to cat nutrition?
  • Can strawberries and similar fruits be a go-to snack for them?
  • What is an ideal, well-balanced diet suitable for your cat?

Fruits and cats—yay or nay?

Image source: Amine

Let’s start from scratch—can cats eat fruits and vegetables?

Cats are called obligate carnivores for a reason. They don’t need fruits and vegetables to survive—they need meat. While meat should always be your cat’s primary source of protein, energy, and nutrition, fruit or vegetables can be one of these three:

  1. A minor supplement—adding nutritional value to the diet
  2. An undesirable food—triggering nutritional or hormonal imbalances
  3. An incompatible food—straight-up toxic for cats

Let’s face it—cats are unwavering explorers who get fascinated by the most random things around the house—edible or not. This is why most cat mommies and daddies can become anxiety-prone wrecks who cannot rest until they know which food item should be off-limits to their furry little adventurers. If this sounds familiar, we feel your pain and will help you figure out what veggies are permissible and which ones are definite no-nos.

Addressing the elephant in the room—can cats eat a strawberry or not?

Everyone likes the taste of strawberries on a summer evenin’, even cats. Is your furry cutie bewitched by strawberries? If that’s the case, rest easy because strawberries fall within the category of safe food for cats! As long as Mr. Whiskers consumes it in moderation, he’s good.

We've compiled a Q&A sheet to help you decide if, how, and when to treat your kitty with strawberries:

Question

Answer

Why do cats like eating strawberries?

  • Cats have a strong sense of smell, and it seems that they are attracted to the sweet, pleasant aroma emanating from strawberries rather than the taste
  • The fleshy texture of strawberries makes it an ideal pastime snack for felines
  • Many cat parents have also noticed that their playful little ones like the handy, ball-like structure of this gorgeous fruit

What are the nutrients hidden in strawberries?

Strawberries offer various nutrients that can boost a cat’s nervous system and metabolic health. Although strawberries are not required for a cat's wellbeing, here are some major nutrients they provide:

  • Folic acid—helps the production of red blood cells
  • Fibre—can help with diarrhea, constipation, and diabetes
  • Vitamins C, B1, B6, and K—required for a variety of bodily functions
  • Copper—required for the helpful collagen and bone growth and healthy fur
  • Biotin—used to help skin and coat health
  • Omega-3 fatty acids—help boost the immune system

How often can cats eat strawberries, and in what amount?

  • Ideally, cats shouldn’t eat strawberries or similar fruits daily as they would over-stress cats' digestive system
  • Most cats can snack on strawberries once every few days without encountering any problems
  • You should offer only half or less of a regular-sized strawberry to your cat

Don’t ignore the red flags—can the citric and sugar content in strawberries harm cats?

Strawberries are a powerful source of antioxidants that slow down ageing in cats, but excessive consumption can lead to:

  1. Gastrointestinal distress—If you’re feeding too many strawberries to your cat, you’re practically exposing them to a high amount of citrus-y content. Too much vitamin C will imbalance the pH levels in the digestive tract and cause acidity and related complications
  2. Unnecessary weight gain—Do you have a chubby tabby who’s hooked on strawberries? Strawberries are essentially sugary junk food in the world of cats, and feeding cats too much sugar leads to obesity. While strawberries can work for underweight cats, they might increase the chances of diabetes and dental decay for others

The right way of feeding strawberries to cats—a step-by-step guide

Vets warn against letting your feline consume the leaves and stem bits because they carry the risk of gastrointestinal obstruction. If you are confused about how to feed a strawberry to your cat, follow these steps:

  1. Chop off the leaf and the stem of the strawberry
  2. Wash the fruit in cold water for at least two minutes (this removes possible dirt and contaminants without compromising nutritional value)
  3. Cut out half the strawberry—depending on the size of your cat, you can give them the entire half at once or further chop it down into teeny-weeny, bite-sized pieces

Can I feed strawberries in processed forms to my cat?

Do you want to share your strawberry yoghurt or ice cream with your feline companion? While strawberries may not be bad per se, you need to exercise extra caution while feeding processed or derivative forms of the fruit to cats.

Read the labels and watch out for the following red-alert ingredients before feeding any processed strawberry product to your kitty:

  1. Dairy—Many cats are intolerant to dairy products like cheese and ice cream, so giving a strawberry milkshake to a lactose-intolerant cat may not be a good idea
  2. Xylitol—Xylitol is an artificial sweetener found in many human food items (like candied strawberries), leading to sudden liver failure in many animals, including cats
  3. Nuts—Some nuts are toxic for cats, although the core trigger toxin in nuts is yet to be discovered. If a strawberry product is mixed with nuts of any kind, be on the safe side, and don’t let your cat have it
  4. Yeast—Be careful while feeding your furry companion any product containing yeast as an additive. Yeast poisoning mirrors the symptoms of alcohol poisoning—it can cause extreme bloating in cats and even be fatal in some cases

Feeding your precious kitty a strawberry for the first time? Keep an eye out for allergic reactions

You need to be extra cautious when feeding strawberries to your cat for the first time because you’re on testing grounds without knowing if your cat will have an allergic reaction to the food. You can try giving a small amount of strawberries to them and monitoring their reaction for a few hours after feeding them.

Contact your vet immediately should you notice any of the following allergic reactions:

  1. Uncontrolled itching
  2. Sneezing and wheezing
  3. Skin blisters
  4. Swollen eyes
  5. Puking
  6. Unnatural stool

Strawberries are a nutritious superfood—shouldn’t they be a part of my cat’s balanced diet?

Many cat parents get fixated on the antioxidant aspect of strawberries and include them in their cat’s regular meal plans without realizing that they are only harming their beloved. For hardcore carnivores like cats, the primary antioxidant source should be meat.

With that in mind, we have found some of the top cat food that:

  • Fights the damage caused by free radicals
  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Supports healthy ageing

Check them out in the table below:

Source

Antioxidant

Krill and shrimp

Krill and shrimp are miraculous sources of astaxanthin, a carotenoid that prevents:

Salmon and mackerel

These fishes contain heavy doses of vitamin E and amino acids, like taurine, that boosts:

  • Strong vision
  • Seamless digestion
  • Optimum heart function
  • Pregnancy support and fetal development
  • Resilience in the immune system

Poultry

Grass-fed poultry meat contains glutathione, that boost liver function and cell health in cats

Eggs

Eggs have peptides and selenium that protects cats from viral and bacterial infections

As compared to strawberries, cats’ biology is made to absorb antioxidants better from meat.

Cat terminology—a balanced diet is when you balance on your hind paws to check’em out!

Image (c) Untamed

The safety net—what fruits and veggies can cats eat without fear?

Some fruits and vegetables are super safe for cats to eat in small quantities and can actually be beneficial to their health. We have set out a helpful table to explore some kitty-friendly goodies:

Fruit or vegetable

Nutrition factors for cats

Banana

Banana contains the following nutrients that cats need:

  • Potassium
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin C

Kiwi

Cats can happily gorge on kiwi because it contains:

Watermelon

Melons are a great source of hydration for cats, who are naturally predisposed to drink less water. It also contains:

  • Vitamins A, B1, B6, and C
  • Magnesium
  • Biotin
  • Antioxidants

Caution: Avoid feeding watermelon seeds to your cat as they pose a choking hazard

Pumpkin

  • Pumpkin is one of the best sources of dietary fibre for cats
  • Feeding cooked pumpkin can:

Beetroot

Beetroot’s anti-inflammatory properties and polyphenols help cats:

  • Maintain cardiovascular health
  • Preserve brain function and avoid dementia
  • Keep cancer at bay

Remember that beetroot carries heavy pigments—so don’t panic if you stumble upon a colourful litter box!

Broccoli

Broccoli is 100% safe for cats and is also packed with the following power nutrients:

  • Vitamins A, B, C, E, and K
  • Selenium
  • Iron
  • Magnesium

What fruit or vegetable group can cats NOT eat in excess?

Particular fruits and vegetables are considered undesirable as they disrupt the overall well-being of felines, although they are not toxic in small amounts. If your moggie is a food hunter camping around the kitchen, make sure to keep the following out of their reach:

Food group

Details

Citrus fruits

Cats’ digestive organs cannot handle tangy fruits. You need to lay off those limes and oranges to ensure your cat doesn’t suffer from the consequences of citrus poisoning, such as:

  • Vomiting
  • Loose stools
  • Excessive drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Skin allergies

Sugary fruits and carb-rich veggies

Cats are sweet-blind, i.e., they don’t have any sweet detecting taste buds—but that doesn’t mean sugary fruits can’t harm them. Fruits and vegetables loaded with sugar and carbs can cause obesity-induced diseases in cats, like congestive heart failure, and significantly decrease their lifespan

Grapes and raisins

Grapes and their derivatives cause acute renal injury and kidney failure in cats if consumed in large quantities

Caffeine 

Any food—like a chocolate bar or a coffee ice cream—containing caffeine can cause hyperactivity, seizures, and neurological problems in cats

You bring me these orange balls and ask me not to play with’em—the insolence!

Image source: Mathilde Langevin

Incompatible vegetable and fruit varieties that cats can NEVER eat

Technically, all fruits and vegetables are incompatible with feline natural protein-rich dietary needs. Cats often regurgitate after chowing down grassy or vegetable matter because they don’t have the enzymes necessary to digest them. Still, most plants are not particularly harmful—except the following dreaded cat-killers:

  1. Black nightshade leaves and berries—induce hallucinations, slow down the heart rate, and attack the central nervous system of cats before taking their life
  2. Rhubarb leaves and stalk—chronically toxic for cats
  3. Allium family vegetables—these include onions, garlic, leeks, and chives that damage cats’ red blood cells
  4. Green tomatoes and potatoes—cause neurological damage in cats
  5. Wild mushrooms—the chances of wild mushrooms being non-toxic for cats are up in the air, so it’s safer to keep them away

How to create an appropriate diet for my cat—pro hacks!

Many doting cat parents make the mistake of giving in to the whims of their feline friends and letting them snack on unhealthy munchies. The bitter truth is, you need to be strict with your cat if you want to see them in their best health. 

Both binge-eating and extreme weight loss are warning signs of nutrition imbalance in your cat’s diet, which can be easily avoided with a carefully designed meal plan.

To create the perfect diet for your kitty, you should take account of their:

  1. Food preferences—Cats can be notoriously fussy about food, so you need to hunt down the right dry, wet, or jelly-based cat food that His or Her Majesty deems appropriate
  2. Medical conditions—If your cat suffers from any health issues, you should consult a nutritionist to create specific meal plans supporting frail or recuperating felines

From watching their cat’s every move to serving them as a loyal subject—cat parents (or, should we say serfs?) already have a lot on their plate. If you’re struggling to come up with a suitable menu for your furry superstar, let Untamed help. We create customized meal plans based on your cat’s individual needs—all you have to do is take the Untamed quiz

We will review your answers, come up with an adequate solution to meet your feline’s current demands, and allow you to adjust the suggested plan according to your cat’s needs and preferences.

The world seems like a better place when cat food has the real fish and meat your tiny predator needs!

Image (c) Untamed

Move over strawberries—Untamed’s lip-smacking recipes will truly enchant your cat!

Untamed team members have hands-on experience with helping sickly felines turn around their health with a well-balanced diet that’s high in protein. Our goal is to offer delicious and healthy food that brings out the best in every cat. You can visit our Recipes page to explore our diverse offer because we take pride in:

  • Using human-grade whole meats—Unlike retail brands that use cat food as a dumping ground for slaughterhouse trash and iffy meat derivatives, we choose only the premium quality meat suitable for human consumption. Our tuna, shrimp, and salmon specials are packed with antioxidants and are cat-stamped (pawed) in terms of wicked-delicious palatability 
  • Preserving nutrients while cookingRaw or ill-cooked food can be contaminated and fatal for cats. You’ll never face this issue with Untamed because we steam-cook our Taurine-rich cat food to prevent nutrient depletion and make it safe and hypoallergenic
  • Setting balanced serving sizes—Many cat parents have a hard time determining adequate portion sizes when cooking food at home. At Untamed, we use vet-approved methods to decide what the ideal amount for your feline is—so you’re all covered!

Try our meal plans today—you won’t regret it as you witness your cat transform!

There’s a rare pleasure in watching your feline friend blossom and go about like the happiest soul in this mad, mad world. You should notice positive changes within a week of switching to Untamed.

Check out the table below for details on what to expect:

Week

Yayy meter

Week 1

  • Satisfactory litter box assessment
  • Spike in cat’s energy levels

Week 25

  • Sparkling, robust coat
  • Zero hairballs
  • Infallible immune system

Week 54 and upwards

  • Consistent weight and energy levels
  • Low chance of degenerative diseases
  • Cat’s meows get happier and happier

To introduce your cat to a lifetime of bliss, get them a personalized meat set today. This is what you need to do:

  1. Complete our TRY NOW quiz 
  2. Enter your email to get a customized meal plan
  3. Login to your Untamed account and make your order

Once you place your order, we will deliver your meal packages in no time. For permanent subscribers, we replenish your stock around the same date each month. Remember the pandemic times when the UK faced an acute pet food shortage? This will never be a problem with Untamed—we’ll be honored to be a part of your cat’s entourage for life!

Mouth-watering food that’s also visually appealing—Untamed knows what your pretty boy will like!

Image (c) Untamed