Can My Cat Eat Blueberries?
A cat superfood? 🫐
You might try to eat blueberries as much as possible because they’re considered to be a superfood for people. But are they just as healthy for your cat, too?
Blueberries are safe for cats to eat, and they do have some benefits, but that doesn’t mean you should start giving your cat blueberries all the time.
The Dodo spoke to some vets to find out what pet parents need to know about cats and blueberries.
Benefits of blueberries for cats
Blueberries are good for cats, but they’re not considered a superfood for them like they are for people.
“Blueberries, although a ‘superfood’ for humans due to their amazing benefits, such as antioxidants and [being] rich in nutrients, do not act exactly the same way for cats,” Dr. Alex Crow, a veterinarian with Happiest Dog, told The Dodo.
While they’re not a superfood, blueberries still have a lot of health benefits for cats.
“Blueberries have antioxidants and help reduce the number of free radicals in your cat’s body,” Dr. Michelle Burch, a veterinarian with Paramount Pet Health, told The Dodo. “Additionally, blueberries are a high-fiber and low-calorie food. This combination can help your cat feel full easier and decrease the risk of obesity.”
So giving your cat a blueberry every once in a while can be a healthy snack.
Dangers of blueberries for cats
While a few blueberries can be good for your cat, there are some risks you should know about before giving him some.
Since your cat probably doesn’t eat blueberries on the regular, he could still get an upset stomach from eating them.
“The most common side effect in a cat who ingests blueberries is gastrointestinal upset because the berries do not agree with their stomach,” Dr. Burch said. “Symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite and flatulence.”
Blueberries have a lot of sugar, which can make your cat sick and can even lead to weight and teeth problems and diabetes.
“Although you can see it added to many pet foods to add fiber and some nutrients, blueberries are naturally high in sugar, which can affect the blood sugars of your cat and cause health-related issues,” Dr. Crow said.
You should avoid giving your cat canned blueberries, which usually contain a lot of sugar, too, Dr. Sarah Wooten, a veterinary journalist and veterinarian with Pumpkin Pet Insurance, told The Dodo.
Desserts that contain blueberries, like pie, are also way too high in sugar. Plus, if you accidentally feed your cat a sugar-free blueberry product, it could include xylitol, which is toxic to cats.
Can cats eat blueberry muffins or bagels?
You can sneak your cat a piece of blueberry muffin or bagel every now and then, but you shouldn’t make a habit of it.
“While your cat might try to snatch your muffin or bagel, the sugar in both is not good for cats,” Dr. Wooten said. “A tiny taste won't hurt your cat, but as a rule, muffins and bagels do not make good snacks for cats, whose metabolism relies mostly on protein.”
According to Dr. Burch, pastries also have other ingredients, like salt and flour, that can upset your cat’s stomach or cause him to gain weight.
Can cats eat blueberry yogurt?
According to Dr. Burch, “Cats can eat blueberry yogurt and gain the benefits of blueberries and the probiotics found in yogurt.”
But while people tend to think of cats drinking milk, some cats can actually be lactose intolerant. So giving your cat too much yogurt could make him sick.
And it’s super important to make sure the yogurt doesn’t contain xylitol, since it’s poisonous to cats, Dr. Wooten said.
Can cats eat frozen blueberries?
You can give your cat a few frozen blueberries to cool off when it’s hot out. “Cats can eat frozen blueberries and enjoy the berries on a hot summer day,” Dr. Burch said.
Can cats eat other berries?
According to Dr. Burch, blackberries, cranberries and raspberries are all safe for cats to eat, and they can have similar health benefits as blueberries. Be sure to keep your cat away from grapes, though, which are toxic.
How many blueberries can a cat have?
According to Dr. Crow, you can give your cat a blueberry every now and then, but you shouldn’t do it all the time.
And you should follow the 10 percent rule with any treats you give your cat, which includes blueberries. That means that only 10 percent of your cat’s diet should come from treats.
“Treats, in general, should make up no more than 10 percent of your cat's daily calorie requirement,” Dr. Wooten said. “That would amount to a couple of berries per day.”
How to feed your cat blueberries safely
You can give your cat washed fresh or frozen blueberries as a healthy snack.
“Try cutting up fresh berries (after they are washed) so your cat can smell and taste the meat of the berry,” Dr. Wooten said.
Blueberries are even added to some cat foods to make them healthier, so you can give your cat some blueberry flavor in his food every day.
And you can try cat treats that include blueberries like these from Chewy for $34.64.
So the bottom line is that cats can safely eat blueberries, and they’re even healthy for them. Just remember that too much of a good thing can be bad, and blueberries are no exception!
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