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The best snacks are the ones that satisfy your sugar craving and are actually good for you. Just like you power through a kale salad, your cat might begrudgingly eat their wet and dry food, but they probably suspect there’s something in it that’s healthy for them.
Not with blueberries. Your kitty probably gobbles those sweet little bursts of flavor up before they realize how many vitamins they are ingesting.
For such small berries, blueberries pack a big nutritional punch. Blueberries are full of antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin K, fiber, and phytoflavinoids that have helped earn them their reputation as a superfood. Luckily for our kitties, they’re safe to share.
“There is nothing harmful about blueberries for cats,” says Dr. Maryanne Murphy, clinical assistant professor of nutrition at the University of Tennessee. In fact, there are even some commercial cat foods and treats that list blueberries as ingredients.
Is It Safe to Feed My Cats Blueberries?
Blueberries are small enough to be offered to cats without cutting or processing — with two caveats:
1. Oversized blueberries should be cut into smaller pieces.
2. All blueberries should be cut or pureed before being offered to kittens; the berries could pose a choking hazard due to their small airways.
Similar to other fruits, blueberries are high in natural sugars; the same sweet flavor that makes blueberries popular with people (and dogs) might not be that interesting to cats. Cats lack the taste receptors to recognize sweet flavors, which means blueberries might not appeal to the feline flavor palate.
When Are Blueberries Bad for Cats?
It’s okay to feed your cat small quantities of blueberries, but Dr. Murphy cautions that the fruits should be a treat, not a replacement for a complete and balanced diet — and treats, including blueberries, should never make up more than 10 percent of your cat’s diet.
Avoid processed foods, such as blueberry pie, blueberry scones, blueberry pancakes, and blueberry jelly that could contain extra ingredients that are toxic to cats. Anytime you introduce a new food into your cat’s diet, watch for vomiting, diarrhea, and other signs that the food may be causing stomach upset.
How Should I Feed My Cat Blueberries?
In addition to offering your cat a few fresh blueberries, you can use the superfood to make DIY cat treats.
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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.