Can Cats Eat Cranberries: What You Need to Know

Last Updated on November 22, 2021 by Julia Wilson

Can cats eat cranberries?

Cats can eat cranberries, these delightful berries native to North America are related to blueberries, bilberries, and lingonberries. Cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon) contain antioxidants, folate, vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese and fibre.

Health benefits of cranberries

The humble cranberry has been shown to reduce the incidence of urinary tract infections in humans as well as other species. Cranberries contain A-type proanthocyanidins (PACs) which may interfere with the ability of Escherichia coli (E. coli) to adhere to the bladder wall.

Polyphenols in cranberries have been found to help prevent harmful bacteria in the mouth from sticking to the gums and teeth, reducing the incidence of gum disease.

As always, it is important to remember that cats are obligate carnivores and must consume a species-appropriate diet. Treats should make up no more than 10% of a cat’s food intake.

Feeding options

Always speak to your cat’s primary veterinarian before you add any ‘human’ foods to a cat’s diet. Even food labelled as healthy and non-toxic can have an impact on some cats with underlying health issues.

Due to the sharp/sour taste, cats are unlikely to want to consume cranberries raw, but cats will be cats and some may show an interest in eating raw cranberries. Cranberry sauce is less than ideal due to its high sugar content, but the occasional taste should not be an issue, just don’t make it a regular treat.

  • Juice: Add a tablespoon of fresh cranberry juice to the cat’s water
  • Dried: Dried cranberries have less of a tart taste than fresh
  • Supplements: Add crushed cranberry tablets or capsules to your cat’s food
  • Added to food: Fresh or dried cranberries can be a healthy addition to a homemade diet

Can all cats eat cranberries?

Not all cats can eat cranberries, this includes:

  • Unweaned kittens
  • Cats with a known allergy to cranberries
  • Cats on a food trial