Nutrition

Can Cats Eat Blackberries?

Can cats eat blackberries? While blackberries are packed with nutrients and phytochemicals for human health, is it wise to feed this fruit to your feline? We have all the answers you need about feeding your cat blackberries.

Tara Maurer holding cat smiling

Last Updated: August 22, 2023 | 4 min read

cat sniffing spilled blackberries on a counter

This article should not substitute contact with a veterinarian. Contact your local vet immediately if your cat is reacting poorly after consumption.

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Science tells us that because cats are obligate carnivores, their health relies on getting quality meat as the primary energy source for their diet. Cats have adapted to absorb nutrients more effectively from animal meat and animal fat and are the only mammal to lack the taste receptors for sweetness. Interestingly, cats can taste something humans cannot, adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which researchers believe is a signal for meat

If cats thrive on a meat-based diet, why are so many cat-food brands popping up with plant-based ingredients? Research suggests that antioxidants from plant-based sources can positively affect our cat’s overall health. Recent studies support the idea that cats can utilize antioxidants from plants, including vitamin E and phytochemicals curcumin, quercetin, and resveratrol.

Berries are one of the healthiest foods humans can eat, but does this also apply to cats? Can cats eat blackberries? Do they provide any nutritional benefits? We have the answers to these questions and more.

Can Cats Eat Blackberries?

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal’s (ASPCA) list of toxic plants for cats shows no sign of blackberries. Blackberries are lower in calories and sugar than other fruits, making them a-okay in our books. Like all berries, blackberries contain fiber that can help support your cat’s digestive system; however, all cats all different. Some felines have sensitive stomachs, so introducing new foods can lead to minor gastrointestinal issues. It’s always best to feed your cat a single blackberry to start and monitor them for any signs of digestive problems, like diarrhea and vomiting.

Are Blackberries Safe For Cats?

Yes, blackberries are safe for cats but be careful not to overfeed them. According to VCA Animal Hospitals, treats should never exceed 10 percent of a cat’s caloric intake. If you’ve already fed your feline tons of goodies, it’s best to skip berries for the day.

Overfeeding your cat regularly can lead to many health issues, including weight gain, diabetes, kidney disease, and joint pain. Feeding your cat too many blackberries can also cause them to feel too full to eat their regular food, which is the primary source of the nutrients they need for peak health. Stick to one to three blackberries as a treat for your feline. Cut the blackberry into bite-sized pieces before feeding it to your cat to prevent choking.

You may have heard that blackberries contain trace amounts of xylitol and know this compound is dangerous to some pets. While ingesting significant quantities of xylitol can be dangerous for dogs, the ASCPA says xylitol does not cause health problems in cats.

Are Blackberries Good For Cats?

Blackberries contain various vitamins, including A, B, C, E, and K. These vitamins are responsible for various functions in the body, including:

  • Energy production and metabolism
  • Boosting immunity
  • Support for bones, coat, eyes, muscles, and teeth

Vitamins C and E act as powerful antioxidants that support immunity and healthy skin. Other antioxidants in blueberries include anthocyanins and flavonoids, which may help reduce the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other health problems. The tannins in blackberries function as anti-inflammatory compounds and may support wound healing.

The fiber in blackberries promotes healthy digestion and prevents constipation. Blackberries are also up to 88 percent water, so they can be an extra way to ensure your cat is hydrated. Of course, blackberries aren’t a substitute for fresh, clean water, so always give your cat access to drinking water.

When Are Blackberries Bad For Cats?

Although blackberries are safe for cats to ingest, some cats should avoid blackberries. For example, if your cat is diabetic, your vet may advise you to avoid feeding your feline any food outside their regular cat food. Due to their high fiber content, blackberries can cause GI issues in some cats.

If your cat is prone to kidney stones, you may want to avoid feeding them blackberries. While blackberries and blueberries contain fewer oxalates than other berries, oxalates in food can increase the risk of kidney stones. Still, it’s unlikely to cause an issue if fed in moderation, so blackberries should be fine for your feline.

As with all foods, your cat may be sensitive to blackberries. While allergies to fruits and vegetables are less common than animal proteins like fish or chicken, cats can be allergic to any food. Signs of food allergies in cats include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Discharge from eyes and/or nose
  • Dull, brittle fur or fur loss
  • Scratching or biting skin
  • Skin or ear infections
  • Skin rashes or sores
  • Swelling on the lips, eyes, or ear flaps
  • Sneezing or wheezing
  • Vomiting

If your cat shows food allergy symptoms, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.

Do Cats Like Blackberries?

Like humans, cats’ food preferences vary. Some cats enjoy the taste of blackberries, while others will turn their nose up at this fruit. If your cat refuses to eat blackberries, but you want them to have antioxidant benefits, try other types of berries. For example, blueberries are another antioxidant-packed fruit that is safe for cats to eat.

What Should I Do If My Cat Ate Too Many Blackberries?

Too many blackberries can cause digestive issues like bloating, diarrhea, and vomiting. If your cat ate too many blackberries, monitor them for signs of distress. Contact your vet if your cat experiences repeated bouts of vomiting or diarrhea. Dehydration in cats is a serious issue and may result from GI digress.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Blackberries Toxic To Cats?

No, blackberries aren’t toxic to cats and can be eaten in moderation. If you are worried about feeding blackberries to your cat, consult your veterinarian.

Can Cats Eat Blackberry Jam?

Cats shouldn’t eat blackberry jam because it typically contains added sugars that can lead to weight gain and other health problems. Stick to the whole fruit if you wish to feed your kitty this sweet treat.

Can Cats Eat Other Types Of Berries?

If you love the idea of giving your cat an antioxidant boost from berries, consider sharing any of these fruits with your cat: blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, and strawberries. Cranberries can be especially beneficial to cats prone to urinary tract infections. Always cut or break berries into pieces before feeding them to your cat. Berries can easily lodge themself in a cat’s esophagus, causing your cat to choke.

What Berries And Fruits Are Poisonous To Cats?

Common poisonous berries to cats include citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, etc.), cherries, grapes, and tomatoes. Familiarize yourself with human foods that are safe for cats.

Final Thoughts

While the best snack for felines is a quality-made, cat-specific treat, there’s nothing wrong with feeding your cat blackberries in moderation. Your cat should get all their essential nutrients from their regular cat food, so choosing a quality brand is critical for ensuring your cat’s health.

Are you wondering if you’re feeding your cat the right food? We review several quality cat foods, including Orijen, The Honest Kitchen, and Royal Canin. Look and see which brand is right for you and your pet. If in doubt, contact your veterinarian. Your vet will look at your cat’s health, age, activity level, and more to determine the best food for your feline.

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