By Adam Lee-Smith
Published: 11/12/2022, edited: 11/12/2022
Reviewed by a licensed veterinary professional: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS
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Whether baked in muffins or mixed in with cereal, blueberries are a nutritious part of many people's diets. This superfood provides many health benefits, like reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease. They're also loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber. But are blueberries safe for cats to eat?
The answer is yes. Blueberries are safe for cats to eat and may even provide some health benefits. While blueberries are one of the most common fruits used in commercial cat foods, they should not form a significant part of a cat's diet.
Read on to find out more about how to feed your cat blueberries.
Do cats like blueberries?
Your cat is likely to be indifferent to the taste of blueberries. Cats lack sweet taste receptors and are one of the few animals that cannot taste sweetness.
Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning meat must be a major part of their diet to survive. As a result, cats have evolved not to need sweet taste receptors. So, they're unlikely to react strongly to the taste of blueberries.
Cats also have a more limited palette in general than humans. Cats have only a few hundred taste buds, while humans have around 9,000. Cats can taste if food is sour, but there's little evidence to suggest cats like or dislike sour foods.
Cats are more likely to be drawn to the texture of blueberries rather than the taste. Blueberries contain lots of moisture, and as cats like wet foods, they may enjoy munching on a blueberry.
Health benefits of blueberries for cats
Blueberries are a common ingredient in cat food as they provide several potential health benefits for cats. Here's a look at 3 health benefits of blueberries for cats.
Blueberries are high in antioxidants
Blueberries are high in antioxidants, which fight and reduce the number of free radicals in a cat's body. Free radicals can slowly damage other cells. Antioxidants may also help fight cancer and slow the aging process.
Blueberries help with inflammation
Blueberries are low in calories
If your cat likes blueberries, they're an excellent snack for treating obesity. Blueberries are low in calories but high in fiber, meaning they'll help keep your cat full without worrying about them putting on weight.
Nutritional information for blueberries
Blueberries are high in vitamins and minerals, which can help cats stay healthy. Here's a breakdown of the nutritional value of 50 raw blueberries (68 grams):
- Energy: 38.8 calories
- Protein: 0.5 grams
- Total fat: 0.22 grams
- Carbohydrates: 9.8 grams
- Fiber: 1.6 grams
- Sugar: 6.7 grams
- Calcium: 4 milligrams
- Iron: 0.19 milligrams
- Magnesium: 4 milligrams
- Phosphorus: 8.1 milligrams
- Potassium: 52.4 milligrams
- Sodium: 0.68 milligrams
Source: FoodData Central
How many blueberries can I give my cat?
Treats like blueberries shouldn't make up more than ten percent of your cat's daily diet. Blueberries are not a part of a cat's natural diet, and high-quality cat food provides all the nutrients your feline needs daily.
While some cat foods contain blueberries, they're a minor ingredient. Generally, you shouldn't feed your cat more than a couple of blueberries every day.
Blueberries are high in sugar, so they may raise your cat's blood sugar and damage their teeth. Too much sugar in a cat's diet can lead to digestive issues and severe diseases like diabetes.
What's the best way to feed my cat blueberries?
Consider talking to your veterinarian before feeding your cat blueberries, as they'll be able to tell you if it's okay to add to your cat's diet. Start by buying organic blueberries, as they won't be sprayed with many pesticides or fertilizers. Thoroughly wash the blueberries to remove any dirt.
Try cutting up a blueberry if your cat doesn't seem interested in the whole fruit. If your cat isn't interested in eating blueberries, you can try mixing them with their food. There are also several brands of cat food and even cat treats that contain blueberries.
Can I feed my cat blueberry muffins?
You should avoid feeding your cat blueberry muffins. Even a small amount of blueberry muffin could be dangerous for cats, as they can contain ingredients like xylitol and chocolate.
Plus, ingredients like oil and butter could upset your cat's stomach and cause them to gain weight. Ensure you check the ingredients carefully if you do want to give your cat a little piece of muffin occasionally.
Can cats eat blueberry extract?
Blueberry extract is safe for cats to eat in small quantities. Pet parents that pay attention to the contents of their cat's food might even find blueberry extract listed in the ingredients.
As blueberry extract differs in strength, it's difficult to say how much blueberry extract is safe for cats. Consult your vet before giving your cat blueberry extract.
Overall, blueberries are safe to feed cats as a treat. They may even provide some health benefits thanks to their anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants.
It's worth bearing in mind that blueberries are not a part of a cat's natural diet and should not make up more than ten percent of their diet. Limit your cat to just a couple of blueberries a day, as too much sugar can negatively affect your cat's health.A high-quality diet is essential for keeping your cat happy and healthy. Digestive problems and food allergies can be expensive to treat. Compare pet health insurance plans to save more than $270 a year on vet care.