As a cat owner, it is easy to want to include your cat in everything you do; working on your laptop, taking a nap, eating breakfast. On the surface, these activities seem innocent. But what if including your cat in a simple activity could be as harmful to them as it is cute and comforting to you? Let’s say you get out of bed with your cat, Fluffy. He follows you into the kitchen, mewing until you fill his bowl. He happily eats as you make your breakfast which includes a tall glass of cold apple juice. As with most cats, Fluffy has no boundaries, he finished his breakfast and wants to take part in yours. As he dips his paw into your glass, you smirk and pretend you don’t see it. But then you wonder, is it safe for him to be drinking my apple juice?
According to Cornell University, a cat’s diet should mainly consist of protein, a moderate amount of fat, and little carbohydrates. Apple juice contains zero grams of protein and fat accordingly. Therefore, it would not fit into the dietary needs of a domestic cat and should be replaced with some healthy treats. In some cases, apple juice may cause taurine deficiency, diabetes, and obesity (due to high sugar content), allergies, or other digestive problems.
It is well-known fact that cats need animal protein rather than plant-based protein to have all of their nutritional values met. There’s a reason most cat food and treats are chicken or fish-flavored; they are the best protein sources for cats. Protein gives cats the energy they need. It is also what creates certain enzymes, hormones, and other important molecules a cat needs to live a healthy life. Possibly the most important of these is an amino acid known as taurine.
Taurine is an essential amino acid in the cat’s diet. VCA states that mammals make 20 different amino acids within their bodies. Most mammals make enough but cats are the exception. Because of this, it is essential in their diet. Taurine is found in animal protein which is why the cat diet should mainly consist of it. And as mentioned before, apple juice has an abundance of amino acids but unfortunately taurine is not one of them.
If apple juice becomes a regular part of a cat’s diet, they could become severely deficient in taurine. PetMd lists taurine deficiency as causing dilated cardiomyopathy, or DCM, when severe. Per The University of Pennsylvania, DCM involves inadequate contracting dilation of the left ventricle along with an enlarged atrium. DCM often leads to congestive heart failure. This would be why your vet would be against giving your cat apple juice.
However, it’s not a problem if your cat occasionally drinks a small amount of apple juice or considers it as a treat. It’s unlikely to do any harm as long as it doesn’t suffer any negative effects.
The juice labels mentioned previously boast the abundance of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals found in the juice. Motts’ website states that their apple juice contains Vitamin C, Iron, and Potassium. Another popular brand, Minute Maid, includes magnesium, potassium, and vitamin C on its label. Yes, apple juices contain vitamins, fibers, and antioxidants, but No protein and other important nutrients at all and don’t replace the nutrients your feline needs.
That’s why cats should consume preliminary animal-based food to stay active and healthy.
Try to avoid giving your cat apple juice too frequently as it could potentially lead to different digestive issues and obesity or diabetes because of the high sugar and carbohydrate content.
Generally speaking, apple juice is considered to be safe for cats to consume once in a while.
While a little sip of juice won’t hurt, it’s not something you should regularly give your feline.
Let’s say Fluffy is insistent on joining in on your breakfast drink of choice but you decide to listen to your vet and choose a healthier alternative, fresh apples! Cutting up apples and feeding them to your cat on occasion should not be an issue. Just be sure that you don’t feed them the core or seeds, as these could be choking hazards. It might even be a good idea to avoid feeding your cat the skin as well.
Make sure you cleaned apples properly and get rid of seeds, leaves, or stems before serving apples to your fluffy friend.
Important! Apple stems, leaves, and seeds contain cyanide and are toxic to felines.
Remember that cats can only consume apple flesh itself or cut into small chewable slices, mashed into a puree, or given in the form of apple sauce.
Apples can be served together with a cat’s dry or wet food, wrapped in some chunk of meat, or given separately as a treat in the form of small bites which are relatively easy to digest.
Such apple snacks can be healthy and beneficial only if served occasionally and in moderation. If you notice any symptoms of cat allergy or apple poisoning, contact your vet as soon as possible to diagnose a cat and determine a treatment.
Never give your cat rotten or moldy apples as they may lead to serious medical issues or even to an alcohol-fueled coma.
Other safe fruit you could feed your cat, according to Hill’s website, include bananas, blueberries, cantaloupe, strawberries, and watermelon just to name a few. Be sure to stay away from citrus fruits and grapes as these can cause major issues, including GI upset and kidney failure.
Maybe your cat is a lot like mine, you try to offer certain healthy foods but they turn into a toy or prey instead of a nice snack. He will often look at me like I’m insane when offered certain fruits or veggies or end up just batting them around. Who knows how many pieces of discarded snacks are under my refrigerator right now? I should probably check…
Anyway, let’s say your cat only wants to drink what you drink, not necessarily eat a healthy alternative? Well, there are a few drinks other than apple juice that you could share with your cat such as the following:
- Cranberry juice
- Watermelon juice
- Blueberry juice etc.
Juices you should Not allow your cat to drink :
- Orange juice
- Grapefruit juice
- Lemon juice
- Pineapple Juice
- Tomato juice
- Grape juice
You could also offer your cat some milk but cats are unable to process milk proteins so it is important that they only have one little lap. Milk can cause digestive complications which can sometimes lead to death! Be sure to use your best judgment. And if you are unsure, call up your veterinary office. Veterinary Technicians should be well-versed in things such as this and will be able to answer your questions.
Other healthy alternatives to apple juice include fish juices, bone broth, or lactose-free milk.
Cats can consume a little amount of apple juice as long as it is completely natural and does not contain any added sugar, colorants, or preservatives, all of which can be harmful to a digestive system of a kitten or an adult cat.
Try to avoid giving your feline too much apple juice or apples and replace them with the food and treats containing all the essential nutrients cats need.
Felines should eat no more than a quarter of an apple or a tablespoon of apple puree or apple juice per day once or twice a week.
If your cat has digestive problems and feels unwell after consuming apples or apple juice, call your vet immediately to avoid any serious adverse effects.
Just remember, the next time you and Fluffy sit down for breakfast with your cat-friendly fruit salad, don’t forget to include a good source of protein. Cat food, of course, is the best option as most of the manufacturers cater to the nutritional needs of the cat. But if Fluffy sneaks a lap of apple juice, you can still pretend you don’t notice, at least some of the time.
Have you also faced the same problem with your cats? Please leave your thoughts on the topic in the comments below!
Happy Cat Care!