At a glance
Cats can eat the fruit of the apple, but avoid the seeds which contain amygdalin which breaks down into hydrogen cyanide when crushed.
Apples are rich in antioxidants, vitamin B complex, vitamin C, fibre and polyphenolic compounds.
Cats are obligate carnivores, they need meat for several essential nutrients, fruit, vegetables and other treats should only make up a small part of a cat’s diet.
Apples often get a bad rap among pet owners and experts because the stem, leaves and seeds are potentially toxic. The toxic compound is a cyanogenic glycoside called amygdalin, which is harmless when intact, but when crushed or chewed, it breaks down into hydrogen cyanide. Cyanide prevents the cells of the body from using oxygen, which causes them to die. For this reason, apples are listed as toxic to cats by the ASPCA.
Other stone fruits include apricot, cherries, peaches and plums.
Can cats eat apples?
The dose makes the poison is a saying which applies to cats and apples. The flesh of the apple is safe for cats to eat, and even if the cat consumes a seed or two, toxicity is unlikely. The cat would have to ingest a lot of seeds, stems and leaves for poisoning to occur.
Cats are obligate carnivores which means they MUST consume meat in their diet to obtain essential nutrients. A small amount of safe fruit and vegetables won’t harm the cat, but it should only be an occasional food and not make up a substantial part of the cat’s diet. Large amounts of apple may cause a stomach upset.
How to give a cat apple
It is always best to err on the side of caution to reduce the risk of toxicity. Thoroughly wash the apple and finely dice the flesh to avoid choking. Discard the core.
Pureed apple with no additional ingredients is also fine for cats to eat, peel and steam the apple until soft, and then puree. Serve when cool.
Are there any health benefits to giving apple to cats?
There may be, apples are a rich source of antioxidants as well as vitamin B complex, vitamin C, fibre and polyphenolic compounds which protect the body from free radicals.
Can all cats have apple?
Not all cats can have apples, this includes:
- Cats on a prescription diet to manage an underlying health problem
- Cats on a hypoallergenic diet
- Any cat with known toxicity to apples