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Can My Cat Eat This?

Can Cats Eat Apples?

Yes, but the fruit might not hold much a-peel

by Jodi Helmer
31 October 2023
A gray Sphynx cat sniffing an apple slice held out by her owner while standing on a table next to a glass of wine
Vradiy Art / Stocksy

It’s hard to argue with the health benefits of apples. The autumn fruit is a great source of fibre and vitamin C and has been linked to a reduced risk of stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes. Does that mean an apple a day will keep the vet away? Well, not quite. But apples are safe for cats to eat, so go ahead and offer your cat a small piece of your Granny Smith.  

How should I feed apple to my cat?

While fresh apples cut into small pieces are safe, apple seeds are off limits. The seeds contain small amounts of cyanide, which are toxic. Your cat would need to consume a lot of seeds to feel the effects, but it’s always better to use caution. “Given apples can be harder to chew, always cut them into bite-size pieces before feeding to your cat,” cautions Dr Tina Wismer, senior director of the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. The apple core is off limits, too, as Dr Wismer notes that it’s a potential choking hazard.

Are there downsides to feeding a cat apples?

Dogs may be drawn to the sweetness of apples, but cats lack the receptors to detect sweet flavour, so apples may not be that appealing. If your cat is interested, it’s OK to offer a few bites – unless your cat has health issues. Apples are high in natural sugar, which makes them off-limits for cats with diabetes.

Never feed your cat apple pie, apple sauce, apple juice or other processed foods made with apples. The fruit itself might be safe but added ingredients like eggs, sugar and dairy products could be unsafe for cats. These processed foods also add a lot of unnecessary calories to your cat’s diet, putting them at risk for health issues like pancreatitis, diabetes and arthritis.

Any time you introduce new foods, including apples, watch for symptoms like vomiting and diarrhoea, which are signs that the fruit is causing stomach upset. If your cat has no reaction to apples, it’s OK to occasionally slip them a few slices.

Jodi Helmer

Jodi Helmer is a North Carolina-based freelance writer who shares her home with an embarrassing number of rescue dogs and relies on four feral cats to patrol the barn. When she isn’t refilling food and water dishes, Jodi writes about animals for Scientific American, Sierra, WebMD, AKC Family Dog, Living the Country Life, and Out Here.