Looking for a fun addition to your cat’s lick mat? Or maybe you’re all out of treats but want to reward your best buddy. Before opening up the jar, ask yourself: Can cats eat applesauce? Like with many human foods that can be shared with cats, the answer isn’t a clear-cut yes or no. Discover the basics of applesauce, the benefits of feeding applesauce to your cat, and any reasons to avoid feeding your cat applesauce.
What Is Applesauce?
Applesauce is as straightforward as it sounds. This sweet treat is—at its core— pureed apples. To make applesauce, apples are peeled, cored, cut, and cooked before being mashed or blended in a food processor. Some people mix other ingredients during cooking to provide a more complex flavor. Additional ingredients for sweeter or slightly spicy applesauce include sugar, cinnamon, vinegar, lemon juice, apple juice, or apple cider.
Can Cats Eat Applesauce?
Applesauce may seem like a harmless treat for your cat, but like any human food, it’s essential to look at the ingredients before giving it to your cat. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) classifies apples as toxic to cats; however, it specifically mentions the stem, leaves, and seeds of apples as the harmful part of the plant. While apples’ stems, leaves, and seeds contain toxic cyanide, the apple’s flesh is considered safe for cats.
Cats can eat applesauce, but it provides little nutritional benefit to our feline friends. Cats are obligate carnivores whose bodies are adapted to absorbing nutrients most efficiently from animals. Some argue that applesauce provides cats with extra fiber, and while that may be true, not all applesauce is safe for cats to ingest.
Is Applesauce Safe For Cats?
Like any manufactured food product, some brands of applesauce use many ingredients, and others use only necessary ingredients. Many varieties of applesauce contain additional flavors, sugars, and other preservatives not recommended for felines. It’s essential to read labels and choose applesauce without harmful ingredients like added sugar or cinnamon. Applesauce may also contain chemicals and preservatives that could affect your cat’s health.
On the other hand, if you make homemade applesauce from organic apples and skip the added ingredients, giving your cat a lick or two won’t do any harm. Pureed foods are more manageable for cats to digest and will likely not cause digestive issues if fed in moderation.
Is Applesauce Good For Cats?
Apples are great for humans, but do cats get the same benefits? Felines digest sugar very differently from humans, and regularly eating sugary foods could raise a cat’s blood sugar levels and create long-term health problems.
On the other hand, apples contain powerful antioxidants from phytochemicals, including quercetin, catechin, epicatechin, phloridzin, and chlorogenic acid. Research links apple consumption to a reduced risk of some cancers, cardiovascular disease, asthma, and diabetes. According to a 2004 article published in Nutrition Journal, laboratory studies have shown apples to inhibit cancer cell proliferation, decrease lipid oxidation, and lower cholesterol.
But who’s to say cats are utilizing these phytochemicals? Let’s take a look at the antioxidant quercetin. A 2020 study concluded that quercetin supplementation effectively improves lipid metabolism in obese animals. The study used ten healthy cats and four obese cats. While small, the study found that quercetin decreased inflammatory markers in all cats tested. The researchers concluded that quercetin may alleviate obesity disease by relieving inflammation and improving lipid metabolism in obese cats’ livers.
So we know that cats can benefit from the antioxidants found in apples, but what about applesauce? Unfortunately for your furry friend, most health benefits are found in the peel! Apple flesh contains lower concentrations of some phytochemicals (catechin, procyanidin, epicatechin, and phloridzin), but the concentrations are much lower than in the apple’s peel. In the case of the antioxidant quercetin, it’s found exclusively in the peel of an apple. Because applesauce contains only peeled apples, your feline isn’t reaping the full benefits from this antioxidant-packed fruit.
How Do I Feed My Cat Applesauce?
Always consult your vet when introducing a new food regularly into your cat’s diet. Remember to treat applesauce as a treat and feed in moderation. When purchasing applesauce, check the ingredient list. The fewer ingredients, the better. Look for the USDA Organic certification and the NON-GMO Project verification. Here are some recommendations for cat-safe applesauce:
- Ingredients: Organic apples, ascorbic acid (vitamin C)
- Certified USDA Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified
- No added sugar
- 1 g of dietary fiber
- No sodium
For those who like single-serving containers, consider Santa Cruz. This applesauce is Certified USDA Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified, meaning that the applesauce has 95 percent or more organic content and is not genetically modified. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines USDA organic produce as grown without synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering.
Santa Cruz applesauce is also a source of vitamin C (ascorbic acid). Vitamin C delivers many health benefits, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immune, and antihistamine support. While vitamin C can be a fantastic tool to support your cat’s health, keep in mind that too much vitamin C too quickly can cause diarrhea. Start by feeding your cat a teaspoon or two of applesauce and watch for any adverse reactions. One final caveat: If your cat is predisposed to urinary calcium oxalate crystals and stones, vitamin C could worsen the problem.
369 Whole Foods Market
- Ingredients: Organic apples
- Certified USDA Organic
- No added sugar
- 3 g of dietary fiber per serving
- 25 mg sodium per serving
The 365 brand by Whole Foods Market makes applesauce from only organic apples. Like Santa Cruz, this Whole Food’s 365 is Certified USDA Organic. This product also gets points for being in glass, making it easy to recycle after use. The fact that this product uses only apples means it’s less likely to cause digestive issues for your feline friend. This product does contain some sodium. While salt isn’t inherently bad, it’s worth mentioning if your cat is on a low-sodium diet.
- Ingredients: Organic apples
- Certified Kosher
- No added sugar
- 2 g dietary fiber per serving
- 10 mg sodium per serving
Eden uses various apple varieties to give its applesauce a “sweet-tart balance.” While organic and non-GMO, this product does not have USDA or Non-GMO Project verifications. This is a conscious choice by the brand. Eden says that its products meet and exceed the standards of these verifications, and the company chooses not to use the USDA Organic or Non-GMO Project seals. This brand uses glass bottling, which is good for you and the earth.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Cats Have Cinnamon Applesauce?
No, cats cannot have cinnamon applesauce. While the ASPCA classifies cinnamon as non-toxic to cats, the Pet Poison Helpline says cinnamon spice or essential oil can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, low blood sugar, changes in heart rate, and liver disease.
Can Cats Have Unsweetened Applesauce?
Yes, cats can eat unsweetened applesauce. Ensure the applesauce doesn’t contain any tricky names for sugar, like high-fructose corn syrup or corn syrup. We recommend purchasing organic applesauce to ensure your applesauce is free from insecticides, fungicides, and other harmful chemicals.
What Fruits Can Cats Not Have?
Keep your cat away from citrus fruits, cherries, grapes, and tomatoes.
What Fruits Are Safe For Cats?
Cats can safely eat blueberries, cranberries, bell peppers, kiwi, and even dragon fruit. We wrote about fruits that are safe for cats to eat, and you can also read about other human foods that are safe for cats.
Like with our food, quality plays a massive role in determining if a product is good for us. Yes, your cat can eat applesauce, but make sure it is either homemade or from a brand that uses only essential ingredients. Applesauce is a source of fiber and can support your cat’s regularity. Remember to always feed your cat human foods in moderation.