Pet Consider

Can Cats Eat Applesauce?

Can I Give My Cat Applesauce?

It’s often quite difficult to convince young children to eat fruit every day, but the one fruit-based product most parents have no trouble getting their kids to eat is applesauce. Whether it’s flavored with cinnamon, mixed in with other fruit purees, or served in an animal-shaped squeeze pack, most kids eagerly suck down this sweet side dish. We know that applesauce is not as healthy as a raw apple, but, given that most kids will live on ice cream and crackers if you let them, we will take what we can get.

But the snacks that we pack in our kids’ lunches are often the same snacks we turn to when we want to treat our furry friends. So, is applesauce one of the safe sides to drop into our pets’ food dishes? Can cats have applesauce?

The answer: technically, yes, cats can eat applesauce. Unlike grapes, raisins, and some citrus fruits, apples are one of the fruits that do not appear to pose any toxicity risk to felines. Some types of applesauce may even be more cat-friendly than raw apples. Because cats sometimes struggle to digest high-fiber plant foods, the processing involved in creating applesauce may actually make it easier to digest. Applesauce is, after all, little more than mechanically pre-chewed apples.

Health Benefits?

applesauceThough technically safe for cats, applesauce is not recommended for regular feline consumption. Cats who love fruit can have it as an occasional treat, but we as pet parents need to understand that applesauce isn’t a health food for cats!

One of the biggest reasons parents try so hard to convince their kids to eat fruit products like applesauce is their fiber content. Our furry friends definitely do not need to eat nearly as much dietary fiber as we do—in fact, feeding a cat large amounts of fiber would make them quite ill—but small amounts of plant fiber may benefit their health.

It’s true that you would not find a wild cat gobbling down fruits for their fiber content. Our housecats and their wild ancestors are obligate, or strict, carnivores who, left to their own devices, would live exclusively on the flesh of the prey animals they manage to kill. Their diet would consist largely of meat and muscle tissue, but it would also include ‘animal fiber,’ which is the indigestible bits and pieces of animal carcasses such as tendons, bones, and fur.

It is possible that these indigestible animal pieces play the same role for wild carnivores that plant fiber does for us—though on a much smaller scale, of course! Your cat definitely does not need to eat applesauce on a regular basis.
What exactly can dietary fiber do to improve your cat’s health? Pet parents most often utilize fiber to aid in weight management and digestive problems such as constipation. Fiber may help your kitty lose some weight in much the same way that it can help you: it is indigestible, so it can fill up space inside your cat’s stomach without actually adding any caloric value. In theory, this means that high-fiber foods can help you cut your cat’s caloric intake without reducing the volume of food that they can eat.

Things to Consider

The fluid and fiber in applesauce may help alleviate symptoms of mild constipation, too. Soluble fiber turns into a slippery, puffed-up, jelly-like substance when it absorbs water in the stomach. Fiber can carry fluid into your cat’s intestinal tract, which can soften hard, impacted stool and encourage fuller, more regular bowel movements. If you want to use applesauce or any other fruit to combat your cat’s constipation, take it slow. A little bit of fiber can go a long, long way, and, if you overdo it, they may wind up with diarrhea.

There’s no doubt that small amounts of fiber can benefit your cat’s health. However, there are much, much better sources of dietary fiber than applesauce. Applesauce is often high in sugar and other potentially harmful flavors—and it is more calorically dense than whole apples. If you want to give your cat the benefits of fruit, you would be better off giving them small amounts of chopped apples. Feeding your cat applesauce regularly can contribute to weight gain and digestive problems.

Final Thoughts

So, while applesauce is generally considered safe for cats in small quantities, it’s probably a better idea to offer them small amounts of raw apple flesh instead. Applesauce may contain the Vitamin C we want our kids to consume, but it is still a processed food that offers few health benefits for our cats. Cats do not need to consume fruit products, and applesauce is lacking in many of the benefits of whole fruit. If your cat loves applesauce, use it as a treat. Otherwise, forego the applesauce and offer them a bit of a chopped red apple instead.

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