Nutrition

Can Cats Eat Strawberries? Are They Safe?

Strawberries are dietary source of vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber. They are heart-healthy, good for the skin, and may even reduce the risk of certain cancers. But do these health benefits extend to cats? Are strawberries even safe for cats? Read on to learn everything you need to know about feeding strawberries to your feline companion.

Tara Maurer holding cat smiling

Last Updated: August 22, 2023 | 4 min read

Woman feeding cat a strawberry with a bowl of berries

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If your cat is the type to eat first and ask questions later, always having one eye on your food is crucial. Sneaky kitties will swipe a bite if they’re curious enough, no matter what’s on our plates.

Knowing what human foods are safe for felines is equally significant in cat ownership. Biologically, cats are very different from humans. They process chemicals differently, which means even the most unassuming human food may cause your cat to become ill.

Cats also have different needs nutritionally. As carnivores, cats get their nutritional needs met by eating animal-based products. Cats function best when their diet primarily consists of meat, which is why your kitty loves their canned food. Still, the occasional plant-based food won’t destroy your cat’s diet. Research even suggests that antioxidants from plants can positively affect a feline’s overall health.

This leads us to the question: What human foods can cats eat?

Can Cats Eat Strawberries?

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), strawberries are non-toxic to cats. So, if your cat eats a small piece of strawberry off your plate, they shouldn’t experience any adverse effects.

Are Strawberries Good For Cats?

As strawberries are non-toxic to felines, technically, cats can eat strawberries. But that doesn’t mean that they’re suitable for cats. (Ice cream is non-toxic to humans, but eating it daily won’t do me any favors.) Cats are obligate carnivores, so they don’t receive much nutritional value from strawberries. Even though strawberries are packed with vitamins, they aren’t in a form that’s readily available to felines.

Cats don’t process carbohydrates well, and fruits like strawberries contain more carbs than what would be considered normal in a cat’s regular diet. Giving a cat any carb-heavy food comes with risks. It could be more than their digestive system can handle. Because this carb-heavy fruit can’t be digested, cats cannot get any real nutritional benefit.

Are Strawberries Bad For Cats?

Cats’ bodies can process the fiber in strawberries, which supports digestion. Still, because they can only eat so much, they’re unlikely to eat enough strawberries to benefit from the nutrients found in strawberries (vitamin C, folate, potassium, and manganese).

That being said, strawberries aren’t necessarily bad for cats. You can try giving your cat a small piece of strawberry to see how they respond. If your cat is willing to eat strawberries, you can continue using them as an occasional treat.

When Should You Avoid Feeding Your Cat Strawberries?

While strawberries are generally considered safe for felines, there are some situations where a cat should not consume strawberries at all:

  • Allergies: Some felines may be allergic to strawberries. Monitor for signs of allergic reaction when feeding your cat a new food. If your furry friend responds negatively to strawberries, avoid feeding them to your cat in the future.
  • Diabetes: Overweight cats or those with diabetes should avoid eating strawberries. Strawberries have a high sugar content and could cause your cat’s blood pressure to spike, creating a potential emergency.

If your cat has been on a special diet, you should also avoid feeding them strawberries. As with diabetic cats, too much sugar is inflammatory and could harm your cat’s health.

Signs Of An Allergic Reaction In Cats

If your cat is trying strawberries for the first time, they must be watched for signs of allergic reaction. Food allergies can be life-threatening if left untreated. Symptoms of allergic reactions in felines include:

  • Itching
  • Diarrhea
  • Sneezing or wheezing
  • Vomiting

A reaction to food may take a few hours to appear, so monitor your cat for signs of distress. If your cat is wheezing or having trouble breathing, get to the nearest emergency vet clinic as soon as possible (consider pet insurance before accidents occur to help cover trips to the vet). While it’s unlikely that your cat consumed enough strawberries to cause illness, severe allergic reactions can be fatal.

Our Personal Experience With Cats Eating Strawberries

Cat sniffing a bowl of strawberries

I do not feed my cats strawberries on a regular basis, but they are something we usually have in our house. We often use frozen strawberries, and my cats have eaten these when they drop on the floor. They are never offered on purpose. One of my cats has eaten them more than the other, and he seems to enjoy the texture. I know that cats do not taste sweet, but he enjoys the cool temp of the frozen berry and the different texture of his food.  This cat will also eat dried strawberries, but not as often. 

I have never noticed a bad reaction but have never allowed more than a small piece occasionally. My cat has also never eaten more than 1/8 of a berry at a time. It Is not something he wants or seeks out, but he will try to get at these if they drop on the floor. He has no interest in fresh berries, so I think the texture of the frozen berry is the true appeal. 

The first time he ate one, I watched him closely. He did lick his mouth and paws for a while to get the sticky juice out but did not seem out of sorts or to have any discomfort.

Danielle DeGroot, LYC writer, and longtime cat owner

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Feed My Cat Strawberries?

If your kitty is showing an interest in your fresh fruit, follow these steps to give your cat a taste of strawberries:

  • Clean the strawberries thoroughly and remove the stems. As strawberries hold the number one spot in the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) 2023 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, the best choice is buying organic strawberries.
  • Cut the strawberries into small pieces to prevent your cat from choking.
  • Feed in moderation. Treats and snacks should never exceed 10 percent of your cat’s diet.

What Fruits Are Toxic To Cats?

Many fruits are toxic to cats and should be avoided:

  • Citrus: While citrus fruits aren’t technically poisonous, they can cause gastrointestinal issues thanks to their high concentration of citric acid. Typically, cats dislike the smell of citrus, so they probably won’t be interested in eating them anyway.
  • Cherries: Cherries contain small amounts of cyanide in their stem, pit, leaves, seeds, and flowers. Cyanide poisons cats by inhibiting the transportation of oxygen to cells. Cherry pits are also a choking hazard.
  • Grapes: Grapes and raisins are toxic to cats. They can cause digestive problems—like vomiting and diarrhea—and more severe health problems like kidney failure.
  • Peaches: The flesh of peaches is safe, but the pit, leaves, and stems contain cyanide.

What Other Fruits Can My Cat Eat?

Generally, berries are a good fruit option for cats (blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries). Pomegranates, cranberries, and kiwi are also safe options. Always feed your cat fruit in moderation to avoid digestive upset.

Final Thoughts

Can cats eat strawberries? Sure. While strawberries offer little nutritional benefit to cats, they’re unlikely to harm them. If you feed your cat strawberries, remember that moderation is vital. Too many strawberries too quickly lead to GI distress and a big mess for you to clean up.

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