Cats are obligate carnivores, which means their digestive systems are designed to process a meat-based diet. That said, a small number of fruits and vegetables can add interest to your cat’s diet and provide additional fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
While some fruits and vegetables are safe for cats, others should never be offered. If you’re interested in adding fruits and vegetables to your cat’s diet, check out our list of 27 safe options!
The 11 Fruits Can Cats Eat
Bananas contain plenty of potassium, which helps support your cat’s kidneys and heart. While fine in moderation, bananas contain a large amount of carbohydrates and are high in sugar.
These little berries are considered a superfood and contain a blend of antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins. Blueberries have been found to help your cat see better at night, and regular consumption may reduce the chance of them suffering from urinary tract infections. Some commercial cat food recipes now contain blueberries, so these are a great choice.
Cantaloupe contains a good blend of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, B, and C. The high water content of watermelon makes it a good choice for keeping your cat cool on hot days. Make sure you remove the rind and seeds of any melon before feeding it to your cat.
Apples are low fat and contain beneficial fiber. They can make good snacks for cats on a calorie-controlled diet. Apples are high in vitamins A and C, both of which can help your cat’s bone and tissues stay as healthy as possible. Always remove the core of the apple, including the seeds, as these contain trace amounts of cyanide.
The bright orange color of a ripe apricot means that these fruits are packed full of beta-carotene, which can help your cat’s body fight off cancer-causing free radicals. Only feed fresh apricots, not dried. Make sure your cat doesn’t have access to the pit of the apricot or the leaves and stem of the tree, as these are all mildly poisonous.
Cranberries are well known for their ability to help prevent urinary tract infections. They also contain plenty of vitamin C, manganese, and fiber. Some cats enjoy the taste, although others find them a little too tart. Cranberries are often seen in premium commercial cat food blends, so you know these berries are good!
Mangoes contain plenty of vitamins and some cats love the flavor. Be sure to remove the pit and skin, as these can cause digestive upsets.
Pears contain plenty of fiber and vitamins A and C. The relatively bland flavor may appeal to some cats more than strongly flavored fruits. Pear seeds contain a small amount of cyanide, so make sure to remove these, as well as the skin and the core, before feeding it to your cat.
Strawberries are packed full of vitamins and minerals. They also contain quite a bit of sugar, so you may decide to only feed them as the occasional treat. Overweight cats or those on a calorie-controlled diet should avoid eating too many strawberries.
Raspberries contain vitamin C and fiber and are low in sugar. They have mild anti-inflammatory effects, which can be useful for older pets with stiff joints. Raspberries do contain xylitol, the same sweetening substance used in some brands of chewing gum and peanut butter. In large quantities, this can be fatal to cats, so only feed the raspberries in very small quantities.
Pineapples are packed full of minerals and vitamins that can give your cat’s immune system a boost. They are quite high in sugar, though, so they should only be fed in very small pieces as an occasional treat. The tough skin and inner core should be removed before feeding.
The 16 Vegetables Can Cats Eat
Asparagus contains plenty of potassium, fiber, and vitamins. It’s best to cook it before feeding it to your cat, to make it easier for them to digest.
Carrots are a popular choice as a vegetable to feed cats. You’ll often see carrots in commercial wet cat food. They’re high in fiber and low in calories. You can feed them raw or cooked as long as they’re cut into small chunks. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which helps keep your cat’s skin and vision in great condition.
14. Green beans
Fresh green beans contain healthy levels of iron and protein. You can also feed canned beans, but make sure they’re sodium-free.
Broccoli contains vitamin A and fiber. Some cats may enjoy eating the florets, and you can either steam these or feed them raw. Excessive broccoli may lead to digestive upsets, so only feed in moderation.
Peas are a popular addition to many commercial fat foods, either as whole peas or pea protein. They contain high levels of potassium, protein, fiber, and vitamins. Peas can be fed as a healthy snack or mixed in with your cat’s dinner.
Pumpkin is full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It can help cats recover from constipation or diarrhea. If feeding canned pumpkin, avoid any brands with added spices or sugar. Fresh pumpkin can be cooked and pureed or fed in small cooked chunks.
Spinach is packed with beneficial minerals and vitamins. It’s a great addition to many cats’ diets but should be avoided if your cat has kidney problems.
19. Bell peppers
Bell peppers of any color are rich in antioxidants, beta-carotene, and fiber. You can either lightly cook them to make them a little softer or simply hand them out raw, cut into small pieces.
20. Brussels sprouts
Brussels sprouts are high in vitamins, but the strong flavor can be off-putting to some cats. If you shred and lightly cook them, your cat may be interested in trying a small piece.
Cabbage can help maintain a healthy digestive system and improve your cat’s skin and coat. A small amount of cabbage can be shredded, cooked, and added to your cat’s food.
Cauliflower contains vitamins and is rich in antioxidants. It can help reduce inflammation that can cause joint pain, so it may be useful for older cats. The fiber in cauliflower can be useful for maintaining digestive health, but be careful not to give out too much, as that may cause the opposite effect, with constipation and diarrhea.
Celery contains a large amount of water and is high in vitamins and antioxidants. It can also help freshen breath. The flavor may be too bland for some cats.
Lettuce can add water to your cat’s diet, and darker green or red leaves are the most palatable and nutritious. Lettuce can be finely shredded and added to your cat’s food.
Cucumbers are low in carbohydrates and fats and high in vitamins and minerals. They make good summer snacks that can also help lower blood pressure and freshen breath.
26. Sweet potato
Sweet potato is similar to pumpkin in that it contains plenty of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It can be used as a supplement for cats suffering from digestive issues. You can feed it cooked and cut into small pieces or pureed and added to your cat’s meals.
Zucchini is rich in potassium, magnesium, and vitamin C. Grated zucchini can be added to your cat’s food raw, or you can cook it and add it to their food in small chunks.
How to Add Fruits and Vegetables to Your Cat’s Diet
Before you add any fruits or vegetables to your cat’s diet, seek the advice of your vet. Certain vegetables should be avoided for cats with particular health conditions; for example, spinach is not recommended for cats with kidney problems.
After you have the all-clear from your vet, start with a small amount of one fruit or vegetable at a time. If your cat has an allergic reaction or gastrointestinal upset, you want to know which fruit or vegetable caused it, so you don’t feed it to them again!
Start feeding a small piece, and wait 24–48 hours to see if your cat has an adverse reaction. If your cat develops diarrhea or constipation or seems to have irritated, itchy skin, don’t feed that particular food again. If the reaction seems severe or you’re otherwise worried, speak to your vet for advice.
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Why Should I Add Fruits and Vegetables to My Cat’s Diet?
Adding fresh fruit and veggies to your cat’s diet is totally optional! Some owners choose to feed their cats them as a low-calorie treat or if they’ve discovered that their cat is particularly fond of sweet potato or peas.
Fruits and vegetables should only ever be fed in moderation and never to supplement your cat’s diet. Fruits are usually higher in sugar, so they should be fed less often than vegetables and avoided altogether if your cat is overweight.
Which Fruits and Vegetables Shouldn’t I Feed Cats?
Cherries, grapes, onions, and garlic are dangerous for cats and should be avoided. If you think that your cat has eaten food that they shouldn’t have, check on the Pet Poison Helpline’s list and call your vet for advice.
Featured Image Credit: Patrik Kraus, Shutterstock