Cats are carnivores and need the vast majority of their diet to come from animal protein. Commonly in the form of meat and fish. A little fruit and vegetables can help supplement your nutrition, true, but it can also cause gastrointestinal upset. Some fruits and vegetables can be toxic to cats. Do you want to know which ones? We tell you more below.
Are fruits and vegetables bad for cats?
As stated in the introduction, cats are obligate carnivores. Their organism is such that they require nutrients that are only found naturally in foods derived from animals, specifically in meat and fish. Their diet requires them to eat a majority of animal protein, a moderate amount of fat, and a low amount of carbohydrates. They also require certain nutrients and organic compounds that they cannot synthesize naturally, such as taurine which is derived from animals.
Fruits and vegetables are low in protein and generally low in fat, but can be high in carbohydrates in the form of sugars. Avocado is a rare exception of a fruit that is also high in fat. Due to high concentrations of the nutrients they don’t require and low concentrations of the nutrients they do need, eating too many fruits and vegetables will be bad for them. At best they will provide empty calories, at worst they will make them nutritionally deficient.
However, a few small servings of fruits and vegetables in cats may provide some benefit. There are vitamins and minerals found in certain fruits and vegetables that cats cannot naturally synthesize. The fiber in some fruits and vegetables can also help cats, especially if they have digestive problems. However, we will always have to be careful. Although the high fiber content can be a positive, it can be canceled out by a similarly high sugar content.
You may notice that your cat shows interest in eating fruits and vegetables found in the home. Although cats may not relish sweetness to the same extent as other animals, they can still enjoy the freshness of these foods. For this reason, small portions of fruit and/or vegetables can be a good way to provide our cat with a sporadic treat.
The toxicity of fruits and vegetables in cats
There are some fruits and vegetables that cats should avoid completely. This is due to toxic compounds that can be found in their skin, meat, or even their seeds or bones.
Symptoms of poisoning in cats include:
- Increased water consumption.
- loss of appetite
- Lack of coordination.
- Abdominal pain.
- Pupil dilation.
- Incrise of cardiac frecuency.
- Breathing difficulties.
- Yellowish mucous membranes.
The severity of the symptoms will depend on the toxicity and the amount of food consumed. If we see any of the above symptoms and we fear that he may have been intoxicated, we should take him to the vet immediately.
Fruits that cats cannot eat
In small quantities, many fruits can be consumed by cats without problem. There are some that could cause harm, especially if eaten in large quantities. Fruits considered toxic to cats include:
Its high fat content makes it a forbidden fruit for cats. The result of its ingestion can be a disease called pancreatitis, that is, an inflammation of the pancreas. Another problem is due to a fungal toxin known as persin. This is found in low amounts in the pulp, but is highly concentrated in the skin and pit. Its consumption is associated with severe gastrointestinal disorders, but fortunately it rarely occurs in cats.
Grapes, raisins and currants
Grapes and currants are harmful to cats, as are their dried forms, such as raisins or sultanas. They are highly toxic to cats and their consumption can lead to acute kidney failure and even death. This can happen with just consuming a relatively small amount. For this reason, not only should we never give this fruit to cats, but we must also make sure that they do not have access to it at home.
Oranges, lemons, tangerines and grapefruit
Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, tangerines or grapefruit are considered harmful fruits for cats. This is due to its acidity, which is what can cause gastric irritation. Fortunately, they are not fruits that especially attract these animals.
Apples, peaches, plums, pears and cherries
The flesh of an apple is not toxic to cats, but we include it on the list because its seeds contain substances capable of generating cyanide. Specifically, cyanide inhibits an enzyme that is necessary for the transport of oxygen between cells. Therefore, if we offer it to cats, we must make sure that there are no seeds or even apple leaves present.
Vegetables that cats cannot eat
Many of the vegetables we eat as part of a balanced diet are also perfectly suitable for cats. There are some that are toxic for various reasons and are best avoided. In particular, you should be careful about the following:
Onions and garlic
Both onion and garlic contain a substance called triosulfate. This is related to the appearance of hemolytic anemia, a problem due to the breakdown of red blood cells that can lead to the death of a cat. For this to happen to our cat, he would have to consume large amounts or small doses but over a long period of time. Also, onion and garlic can cause diarrhea and vomiting. Leeks and chives also contain triosulfate and are therefore included in the list of prohibited vegetables for cats.
The potato is a tuber that contains solanine, which is toxic to cats, as well as dogs and humans. The good news is that it can be removed by cooking. For this reason, cats can eat cooked potatoes, but in small quantities.
They are from the family of plants known as nightshades. Tomatoes also contain solanine when they are not fully ripe and can be harmful to cats. You also have to be careful with the plant itself, because if the cat has access, it could chew it and ingest its leaves or stems, which also contain solanine.
If you think your cat has consumed any of these prohibited fruits and vegetables, do not hesitate to call us and go to our hospital. We remind you that we have a 24-hour emergency service so that your pet never lacks the veterinary attention it deserves.