Raspberries are a delicious and nutritious food that we can enjoy anytime. While you indulge in this simple treat, you might wonder if your feline friend can share this snack with you. The short answer is yes. Cats can eat raspberries…
However, it isn’t as easy or as straightforward as a simple yes. There are some things you should take into consideration for your cat’s best interest.
Are Raspberries Healthy for Cats?
Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they are true carnivores, requiring meat to live. Their digestive tracts are specifically made for digesting meat. They don’t absorb nutrients from carbohydrates, vegetables, fruits, and other foods like other mammals. This doesn’t mean a cat can’t digest other types of nutrients; they are simply naturally programmed for a specific diet.
That being said, the majority of a cat’s diet should be a high-quality protein. Cats can enjoy other foods in moderation. The best way to think about it is that any other foods should be considered a snack.
Non-high-quality protein foods should be considered a special treat for your cat.
This includes raspberries. If your cat is curious about your raspberries, don’t worry, they can have a little nibble. Make sure to keep it in small amounts, such as one or two on occasion.
Most cats won’t give raspberries a second thought as they aren’t necessarily the first thing their taste buds crave. As most cat owners know, cats are curious about everything, and some have quirky habits or get into things more than others.
Since cats are obligate carnivores, they don’t require any specific nutrients from fruits, including raspberries. Feeding them raspberries won’t give your cat any additional health benefits.
Are Raspberries Safe for Cats?
Cats can safely snack on raspberries in small amounts. Think one or two berries at a time and given infrequently. If your cat likes these sweet and tart treats, it is important that you don’t leave a large amount out in an area where your kitty can eat too many. Keep them stored in the refrigerator or a locked container out of reach.
Raspberries, as well as some other fruits, contain a natural sweetener called xylitol. This study suggests that raspberries have the highest amount of xylitol compared to other fruits. There are approximately 400 micrograms of xylitol per raspberry.
Why Is This a Problem for Your Pet?
Xylitol is known to be a major toxin in pets, especially in dogs. It is a dose-dependent toxin, so the more xylitol consumed per pound of body weight, the more toxic it is in the body, and the more severe problems it can cause.
The main issues with xylitol in dogs are low blood sugar, liver failure, and even death at high doses. We already know that cat’s process foods differently than other animals, and xylitol is no different.
While more research needs to be done on a broader sample of cats, this 2018 study shows that xylitol poses minimal to no negative side effects in cats.
So, you can rest easy knowing that feeding your cat a raspberry or two shouldn’t cause any toxic issues. However, you don’t want to purposely feed your cat food or candy that contains high amounts of xylitol due to the unknown effects.
Since raspberries are small berries, you will want to make sure to offer it in bite-size amounts, so your cat won’t choke on it. Most cats will be more cautious about eating a new treat and will only eat small bites at a time, but if your cat loves berries, she may try to eat the berry quickly or all at once, which could pose a choking hazard.
When offering any new food or treat, make sure to closely monitor your cat when they first try a raspberry. Some cats are sensitive to certain foods, especially those with other health issues or digestive abnormalities. Watch their behavior after eating the berry. Watch for vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, gas, lethargy, inappetence (lack of appetite), or any other signs of illness. If you are concerned about your cat after eating raspberries, contact your veterinarian right away.
How Many Raspberries Can a Cat Eat?
Cats can safely eat 1-2 raspberries at a time.
How to Feed Raspberries to Your Cat
It is best to feed fresh raspberries to your cat without additional preservatives, added sugars, or other ingredients. If your cat likes frozen treats, then frozen raspberries, raspberries frozen in plain yogurt, chicken broth, or ice, are OK to offer your cat.
Make sure to slowly introduce raspberries (or any new food or treat) into your cat’s treat rotation. Offer them only on occasion and only small amounts.
What Other Fruits Can Cats Eat?
If you’re looking to add some variety to your cat’s diet and treats, then fruit might be a good option if your kitty. Make sure to consult your veterinarian if there is any question about whether a particular fruit is safe for your cat to eat. Always do your research to determine if a particular fruit is safe before offering it to your cat. Some fruits you think are safe may actually be dangerous for your cat to consume.
While humans find fruits to be nutritious and delicious, as we already mentioned, cats are designed to only eat meat. They don’t require any particular nutrients from fruits. Adding antioxidants and vitamins found in fruits is safe and beneficial in small amounts, even if not required in their diet.
Some Fruits That Are Safe for Cats Include:
- Apples (without the seeds since the seeds are toxic)
- Watermelon (seedless)
What Fruits Should Cats Avoid?
Just as there are fruits safe for cats, there are several fruits that you should avoid access to as they are toxic to cats.
- Cherries – the pits contain cyanide.
- Citrus – citric acid can cause digestive upset.
- Grapes and raisins – can cause kidney failure.
Dr. Amanda Jondle is a veterinarian who practices small animal medicine and surgery. Growing up on a small farm, she knew from a very young age that she wanted to work with animals and started spending time at a local vet clinic at 11 years old. In addition to working full time at an animal hospital, she now enjoys helping pets and educating clients through writing and editing articles to inform pet owners on how to best care for their pets. She and her husband currently have 4 rescue dogs and 3 cats of their own and are often fostering pets with health issues until they find their forever homes.