Can I Give My Cat Pineapple?
The summer season means fruit, but there are three fruits in particular that come to mind: watermelon, coconuts, and of course, pineapple. When the weather is hot and our sweet teeth are insatiable, we maintain our summer bodies (or not!) by satisfying those sugar cravings with delicious pineapple in all of its forms: blended into smoothies, frozen and covered in chocolate, baked into upside down cakes, and of course, sliced into spears and eaten with our bare hands. Pineapple is the only healthy food that kids gorge themselves on in spite of the uncomfortable side effects. As many of us agree, this sweet, juicy fruit is well worth a sore tongue.
Though we are often tempted to hog the pineapple for ourselves, our preschool experiences taught us that sharing is caring, so we make sure there is enough to go around. But should we include our cats in this fruit-sharing circle of friendship? Our kids can deal with sore mouths, but can our feline friends deal with eating something that sometimes burns our tongues and causes acid indigestion? Can cats have pineapple?
The answer: yes, cats can eat pineapple! The substance in pineapple that makes your mouth sore is safe for us, and it’s safe for our pets, too. Pineapple does not contain anything that is in any way poisonous to cats. In fact, it is full of vitamins, minerals, and other phytochemicals that may improve cat health in the long run. Just remember to give this fruit to cats in moderation to avoid causing digestive problems or weight gain.
Health Benefits of Feeding Your Cat Pineapple
Pineapple is incredibly healthy for people and for dogs, and it can offer some health benefits for our cats, too. However, it’s important to understand that the health benefits of pineapple (and fruit in general) are fairly limited where our feline friends are concerned. Cats are one of the few pet species that are obligate carnivores, unlike us and even our dogs, who are omnivorous. Being an obligate carnivore means that you have evolved to meet all of your nutritional needs by eating the flesh of prey animals. As such, cats have to eat at least some meat to maintain optimal health. The ideal cat diet is higher in protein and fat and lower in carbohydrates, including fruits like pineapple.
The biggest nutritional benefit associated with fruit consumption is the Vitamin C content, which can work wonders on human health. Cats, on the other hand, do not need dietary Vitamin C the way that we do—they, like many other animals, can produce all the Vitamin C they need completely on their own! This does not mean, however, that there is no benefit to be had in giving your cat some extra Vitamin C. Cats who are ill, injured, old, or undergoing severe stress may not produce enough Vitamin C to meet their needs.
Even healthy cats may receive a boost from the Vitamin C found in pineapple. This vitamin is a powerful antioxidant, which supports the immune system and destroys dangerous free radicals in the blood. Since free radicals are the particles thought to be responsible for many of the mutations that lead to cancer and other forms of chronic illness, a cat whose diet includes extra antioxidants may be at a lower risk of developing these life-threatening diseases. Vitamin C is also known for its ability to lower your chances of getting a cold—or shortening the cold after symptoms have set in. Even your cat can appreciate that little immunity boost!
Things to Keep in Mind
Pineapple is also high in two things that can help your cat’s digestion: fiber and bromelain. Fiber, which is indigestible plant material, can act as a powerful treatment for constipation. Soluble fiber soaks up water, which can make for softer, fuller, more frequent bowel movements. This will do more than just make your cat more comfortable! Digestive health is often a good indicator of overall health, and constipation can cause all sorts of unpleasant health problems, ranging from hemorrhoids to colorectal cancer. Of course, if your cat is severely constipated, they should see a veterinarian. Pineapple can only do so much!
Bromelain is the chemical in pineapple that makes your tongue sore. It’s an enzyme that breaks down protein, which, coincidentally, is the macronutrient cats crave most! Feeding your cat small amounts of pineapple with their high-protein diet may improve their ability to digest their food, reducing bloating and indigestion while improving absorption.
Pineapple can be helpful to cats in small amounts—it is full of vitamins, fiber, and bromelain, which can all support a healthy body. If you decide to feed your cat pineapple, opt for fresh or frozen varieties, and avoid feeding them anything with added sugar or artificial sweeteners. Make sure not to feed them too much pineapple, or they may wind up suffering from diarrhea, vomiting, or (in the long term) weight gain.