As far as I’m concerned, peaches are the most delicious fruit in the drupe family, which includes such diverse taste treats as mangoes, olives, coffee beans, and apricots. Naturally, when I have a fondness for a particular foodstuff, I am curious whether my cat, Klesko, would enjoy it also. Klesko is 16 years old, and set in her ways; she doesn’t even like to be touched unless it’s on her terms. All the same, I wondered, as I’m sure many do, whether peaches are even safe for cats to eat.
Can cats eat peaches?
There are several answers to the question of whether cats can safely consume peaches. Peaches, after all, have a number of components, each of which a cat may have a different reaction to. The juicy, fibrous meat — with the skin peeled away and the stone or pit removed — is generally safe for cats to eat in limited quantities.
Like any new food, a taste test is the best way to go, since your cat may experience an allergic reaction to peaches, either to the natural sugar content or to proteins present in peaches. Too much peach meat all at once, or simple exposure to a new an unfamiliar food, can also wreak havoc on a cat’s digestive system. Introduction to a new cat food, much less a food not typically eaten by cats, can cause an upset stomach. This most commonly expresses itself on your carpet or floor as diarrhea or vomit.
Skinned peaches, if you please
Unless you live in a peach grove, or know the exact source of your peaches, you should always remove the peach skin before feeding it to your cats. Grocery-store or market-bought peaches may retain traces of pesticides and other chemicals that can be extremely hazardous to cats when ingested.
Washing your fruit before eating is a good policy in the main, but when it comes to cat health, peeling peaches before eating is highly recommended. When it comes to canned or otherwise preserved peaches, these should be avoided at all costs. Peaches that are sold in these containers tend to contain artificial sweeteners and preservatives, which cats’ digestive systems cannot easily process.
Peach pits should likewise be kept well out of the reach of cats and kittens. Aside from the choking hazard that peach pits present to intrepid cats, the seeds of peaches contain a chemical known as amygdalin. Amygdalin is a sugar-cyanide compound; the cyanide content can be released into a cat’s system with the help of a digestive enzyme. Cats and especially kittens risk being poisoned when they consume enough of it.
Fragments of peach pits — whether you call them stones, seeds, or cores — when eaten by a cat can cause irritation of the digestive tract, obstructions in the intestine, and enteritis. If you regularly eat peaches at home, make sure you properly and securely dispose of peach pits, especially when they are cracked or the center is exposed.
A season for peaches
If you’re a regular consumer of peaches, it’s advisable to keep them out of the reach of your cats, particularly if they are curious, nosey, or dextrous. If you have a peach tree in the yard, make sure you pick up any stray or fallen peaches that your cat may encounter.
Other parts of the peach tree itself, including peach stems and leaves, bear the same cyanide content as peach pits. In cats and kittens, even the small amount of cyanide present can inhibit the oxygenation of blood. Is it a risk worth taking?
Below is an infographic we made that you can print or share with your fellow cat-owners:
Does your cat hanker for the succulent flesh of peaches? Share your thoughts in the comments!
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