Are strawberries bad for cats?

Cats are very curious creatures and are often interested about what we, their owners are eating. So, when warm weather comes, and we start having strawberries as refreshments, we should be well-aware if it is safe for them to consume or it carries some dangerous or even life-threatening effects.

First of all, while strawberry has a lot of health benefits for people, cats don’t really get any nutritional advantage out of it. However, it does not mean that they can’t eat it. According to ASPCA (the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), this fruit is not toxic to cats. They can absolutely eat strawberries safely without having any health problems if the fruit is fresh, washed and cut into small pieces.

However, while strawberries cause no harm to cats in small amounts, they hide some risks that all cat owners should be aware of.

While a little amount every now and then is completely safe, too much of it can cause different health issues. In fact, strawberries contain loads of sugar which cats’ digestive system cannot digest. And, if it is not digested properly, it can cause constipation. In addition, too much strawberries can also cause upset stomach, and over time it can lead to feline obesity or even diabetes.

On the other hand, there are risks that can occur if we don’t pay enough attention. For instance, a cat that is eating strawberries directly from the plant can experience eye problems, skin irritation, itching, and sneezing, because of the fruit’s leaves and stems.

Also, unwashed fruits have the possibility of being sprayed with different chemicals that are toxic to cats. Therefore, they can cause stomach problems like vomiting or diarrhea, or even poisoning.

If it is the first time for your cat to eat strawberries, keep in mind that as with any new food introduced to a cat’s diet, strawberries can also cause allergic reactions resulting in gastrointestinal problems like upset stomach, vomiting or diarrhea.

On top of all this, please do not make the mistake and confuse fresh strawberries with strawberry-flavored things like yogurts, creams, chocolates, syrups, or even canned strawberries. All these foods have a high content of processed sugar which is absolutely not healthy for cats.

Because of all these risks, responsible cat owners should consider some precautions before letting their cats close to strawberries.

  • To avoid obesity and diabetes, strictly limit the strawberry intake: the recommended amount shouldn’t be more than half or maximum one piece of strawberry at a time.
  • To avoid skin irritation and eye problem, do remove the leaves and stems.
  • To avoid potential stomach problems, please either wash the strawberries or keep your cat away from it.
  • To avoid any potential choking hazard, cut the strawberries into tinier pieces.
  • If you are going to feed your cat strawberries for the first time, monitor your cat’s reaction attentively and watch out for signs of allergy.
  • Forget about strawberry-flavored foods and limit the amount your cat can have at a time.

All in all, when used as a treat, strawberry can be a refreshing little snack to your cat. However, too much of it can upset her sensitive stomach and can cause different problems. So, just be careful not to overdo it and keep the precautions in mind. As long as your cat eats freshly cut, washed strawberries occasionally in moderation, there should be no problem.

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