It’s true that the domestic cat is an obligate carnivore who needs certain nutrients from meat. But that doesn’t stop them from wanting to try plant-based human food. Today I’ll answer the question, “Can cats eat apples and/or applesauce?”
Apple skin and flesh are not toxic to cats. They do, however, contain a significant amount of dietary fiber that might cause digestive upset for some cats.
Cats can eat raw apples but cooked, peeled apples are easier to digest.
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Are Apples Good for Cats?
Constipated cats can benefit from the natural fiber and moisture in apples. Apples contain a good amount of a soluble fiber called pectin. Pectin helps improve a cat’s stool quality by bulking and adding moisture.
Are Apples Toxic to Cats?
The fiber in apples may cause a rumbly tummy or even diarrhea for sensitive cats.
Diabetic cats could theoretically experience a blood glucose spike after eating apples due to the natural sugar present in the fruit. I would be more concerned about a diabetic cat being fed juice from apples or sweetened applesauce than if they are eating plain apple fruit.
Apple flesh and skin are not toxic to cats, except as mentioned above, but some apple products are processed with other ingredients, such as onions and garlic, that could be harmful.
Are Apple Seeds Poisonous to Cats?
Each apple seed naturally contains a trace amount of cyanide in the form of amygdalin. Apple seeds can be toxic to cats but only when consumed in large quantities (an amount that would come from multiple apples).
While a cat would normally not ingest enough seeds to be fatal, cyanide from apple seeds could be harmful even in sublethal doses. Symptoms of cyanide toxicity in cats could include trouble breathing/rapid breathing, weakness, lethargy, bluish tongue and gums, seizure, coma and cardiac arrest.
I recommend you remove the seeds from the apple core before sharing it with your cat, just to be safe!
Can Cats Eat Applesauce?
Applesauce is an ideal form of this fruit to share with your cat. Unsweetened applesauce will be easier for a cat to digest since it’s made from cooked apple and there are no fibrous peels in it.
A little cinnamon applesauce is OK. But be sure to check the ingredients list for foods that can harm a cat (onion, garlic, propylene glycol).
Avoid feeding your cat sweetened apple sauce as the sugar is not good for digestive health and carries extra calories. Most cats apparently don’t have much of a sweet tooth anyway!
What About Dried Apples for Cats?
Many dried apples are preserved with sulfur dioxide. There are reports of this ingredient causing thiamine deficiency when it was included in cat food.(1) If you see sulfur dioxide on the label of dehydrated apples, just to be safe, don’t share them with your cat.
Dried apples with no other ingredients are safe for cats to eat. However, since they’ve had almost all of their natural moisture removed, dehydrated apples are tough for a cat’s stomach to break down. Limit your cat to eating a small slice of dried apple no more than once or twice a week.
Can Cats Have Apple Juice?
It’s OK for cats to have apple juice in small quantities–1-2 tablespoons or so every couple of days.
Juice from apples is high in sugar and may cause digestive upset in the form of vomiting, decreased appetite or diarrhea in some cats.
Diabetic cats should not have apple juice because it may cause problems with blood sugar regulation.
How Much Apple Can a Cat Have?
An average 10-pound cat should be able to handle about 1-3 teaspoons of apple, preferably without the peel and in a cooked form so it’s easier to digest. Unsweetened, plain applesauce with no other ingredients besides apple is an ideal choice.
Each cat’s digestive tract is different, so you’ll have to experiment to see how eating apple affects your cat. Start with a small piece of apple flesh only, preferably finely diced.
You can also try feeding your kitty one teaspoon of apple puree or plain, unsweetened applesauce and wait a couple of days to see if any digestive problems arise.
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- Steel, R. J. S. (1997). Thiamine deficiency in a cat associated with the preservation of’pet meat with sulphur dioxide. Australian veterinary journal, 75(10), 719-721.