As kids, we were always told to eat our fruits and vegetables for vitamins and fiber. However, these food groups don’t taste as yummy as candy or ice cream.
There was one fruit though that I was a big fan of growing up.
And that is the apricot.
It seems to be like the smaller cousin of the peach and tastes just as good.
From some of my interactions with my readers, I understand that some of them feed their cats apricots as a treat at times.
But can cats eat apricots?
Cats can eat apricots as this fruit isn’t toxic to cats. Apricots are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. As it is still a fruit, we need to be mindful of the quantity of apricot that our cat consumes.
We know for a fact that apricots are healthy but are there any health benefits for cats?
Let’s take a closer look and the pros and cons of making apricots part of your cat’s diet.
What Is An Apricot?
Apricots are classified as a fruit and come from the Prunus family making them relatives of the peach and cherry. They are oblong in shape and have a rather velvety feel to the skin.
It is hard to miss the fruit growing from the tree as it stands out with its yellow to orange color.
The apricot fruit has a rather interesting taste that consists of both sweetness and tartness. Fresh apricots are also popular when made into dried apricots and apricot jam.
Are Apricots Healthy For Cats?
As a fruit, apricots are known to be rich in antioxidants, beta carotene and vitamins A, C and E. The high percentage of dietary fiber can also help with gut health.
Personally, it is ok to give your kitty some on an occasional basis as cat treats if your cat likes the taste.
But it should not be included as a staple in your cat’s diet.
Cats are first and foremost obligate carnivores which makes them meat-eaters like tigers and lions in the wild.
You won’t see a lion just eat the meat of its prey and then move on to eat fruits for fiber and vitamins.
It gets all its nutritional requirements from the prey’s meat, bones, organs and skin.
Fruits and vegetables aren’t part of a cat’s diet because they can’t process and digest carbohydrates and plant matter. Too much carbs in their digestive tract can cause stomach problems for cats.
Furthermore, fruits are high in fructose which is another form of sugar. Too much sugar can lead to feline obesity and diabetes in cats.
If your cat likes apricots, you need to be careful of how much you feed your cat.
How To Prepare An Apricot Treat For Your Cat?
When preparing fresh apricots for your cat, make sure to thoroughly wash the fruit and skin of the apricot.
Do not let your cat eat the stem, leaves and seed of the apricot tree as it contains cyanide.
Once the fruit is washed, remove the seed or apricot pit and slice the pulp into small pieces for your cat.
You can choose to include the skin of the apricot when feeding your cat. The skin itself contains 300x more antioxidants than the flesh.
Antioxidants are good for cats in general as it has anti-inflammatory properties. This can help to reduce the risk of cancer and other major illnesses in cats.
How much apricot to feed your cat largely depends on its current calorie intake and health. I wouldn’t exceed more than 5-10% of its current daily calorie intake to prevent over-feeding.
Apricot Poisoning In Cats
Even though the seeds, leaves and stems of the apricot tree contain cyanide, your cat would have to ingest large amounts of it to suffer from cyanide poisoning.
However, there are some cats that can be very sensitive to apricots or cyanide and a small amount is all it takes to make your cat sick.
Cyanide poisoning can be very deadly as it prevents the cells from taking in oxygen.
Some symptoms of apricot poisoning include:
- Lack of breath
- Difficulty breathing
If you notice your cat showing such symptoms, please rush it to the vet immediately as its immune system has been compromised.
The faster you seek treatment for your cat the better and faster the chances of recovery.
Can Cats Eat Dried Apricots?
Dried apricots are made from drying out fresh apricots. This can be done by naturally drying the fresh apricots out in the sun or with a machine called the dehydrator.
Sulphur dioxide is added to the dried apricots to preserve their color.
The worrying thing about feeding your cat dried apricots is the presence of sulphur dioxide. Ingestion of this chemical can cause neurological damage in cats.
This is because sulphur dioxide reduces the level of vitamin B in the cat’s body and vitamin B is a vital component of a healthy nervous system.
Feeding your cat raw fish or raw seafood can also lead to neurological issues as there’s an enzyme in the flesh of raw fish that can mess up your cat’s vitamin B absorption.
Avoid any dried apricots that contain sulphur dioxide. There are some organic dried apricots that contain no sulphur dioxide and are a healthier choice.
Some cats might not like dried apricots due to the harder texture. If your cat has no teeth or has a problem chewing, fresh apricots will be easier to eat.
You need to be careful when feeding your cat dried mangoes as they contain sugar and preservatives.
Can Cats Eat Apricot Jam?
I wouldn’t recommend that you feed your cat apricot jam or any jam for that matter. Jams are high in sugar which is very bad for cats.
Cats don’t do a good job processing sugar and can get fat from consuming too much of it.
Jams can also contain preservatives and citric juices in the manufacturing process. These ingredients are highly toxic to cats and should not be fed in any amount.
Is Apricot Oil Toxic To Cats?
Apricot oil or apricot kernel oil is often used in cosmetic products for its anti-aging properties. It is supposed to be good for maintaining and improving one’s skin texture.
Apricot oil is toxic to cats as it is made from the seed or kernel of apricots that contain cyanide. If you find your cat licking your apricot based domestic product, please bring it to the vet to make sure your feline friend isn’t in danger of apricot poisoning.
What Fruits Are Cats Not Allowed To Eat?
There are a couple of fruits that you should not be feeding your cat. These are:
- Passion fruit
This isn’t an exhaustive list but cherries and citrus fruits are very toxic to cats and should be avoided at all costs.
Cats don’t need to consume some of these fruits to have an adverse effect. Coming into contact with citrus fruits can already cause irritation
If your cat has eaten any of such fruits, it needs to see the vet immediately.
A special mention for garlic and onions. Even though most cats will happily avoid them due to the pungent smell and taste, the danger lies in giving them human food that contains these ingredients.
Small quantities of garlic and onions can cause serious health problems in your cat like liver failure and blood disorders.
I know that as pet owners, we like to give our cats different foods to try especially when it is healthy for us.
The thing is many of such foods even when deemed safe and healthy can end up being toxic to cats.
Even for food that is safe to consume but out of a cat’s normal dietary requirements, it should only be given as an occasional cat treat and nothing more.
Feel free to feed your cat apricot if it likes it. But make sure to stick to fresh apricots and moderate the amount given.