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Home > Cats > Can Cats Eat Cranberry Sauce? Vet Reviewed Nutrition Facts

Can Cats Eat Cranberry Sauce? Vet Reviewed Nutrition Facts

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Dr. Lauren Demos

Veterinarian, DVM

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If your cat has jumped on the table and helped itself to a bit of cranberry sauce, you might wonder if your buddy will be okay. If it only managed to gobble down a few bites of cranberry sauce, there’s probably nothing to worry about—unless the sauce contains raisins or currants, which are toxic to cats.

Although cranberries themselves are not toxic, you should contact your veterinarian if you suspect your cat has eaten cranberry sauce made with raisins or any other potentially toxic ingredient. Cranberry sauce should not be served to cats because it is usually full of sugar and sometimes prepared with products that can harm felines.


Can Cats Eat Cranberries?

Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning their bodies are designed to digest and obtain nutrients from animal products. While cats can eat cranberries, they should be considered a treat and only provided in limited amounts. Dried options are best avoided as they have too much sugar.

While some cats enjoy cranberries and other types of fruit, others just aren’t interested. Since kitties require animal-based food to meet their nutritional needs, it’s not the end of the world if your pet doesn’t enjoy this tasty superfood, particularly if you’re feeding your cat a commercial diet that meets AAFCO nutritional guidelines for cats.1

Image Credit: Alexey_Hulsov, Pixabay

What’s Wrong With Cranberry Sauce?

Cranberry sauce usually contains high calories and few nutrients cats need. Basic cranberry sauce recipes include sugar, cranberries, and water. Cranberries are tart, and most recipes need a fair amount of sugar to smooth things out. Sugar isn’t toxic to cats, but it’s certainly not healthy. It adds calories to food without providing any nutritional benefits.

Eating too many calories is guaranteed to result in weight gain in cats and humans. Being overweight increases cats’ risk of developing heart disease, osteoarthritis, and other chronic conditions. Cats don’t have the right taste buds to enjoy sweets, so there’s no reason to give them sugary foods like pies, cakes, donuts, or cranberry sauce.

While it’s possible to take a quick peek at an ingredient list if you’re serving canned cranberry sauce, it can be incredibly difficult to determine what precisely is in homemade options. Some recipes call for just the basics, and others add goodies like raisins and currants.

Some delicious cranberry relish recipes call for macadamia nuts, which cats should also avoid. Unless you’ve cooked the sauce yourself, you’ll never know what you’re feeding your pet. Simply not giving cats human food is one of the best ways to reduce the chances of an emergency trip to the veterinarian because your cat ate something that turned out to be toxic.

cranberry sauce in a glass bowl
Image Credit: JumpStory

What Do You Mean Cats Can’t Taste Sweets?

Individual cats eat all kinds of strange things, from yogurt to oatmeal. Some even enjoy fruits and vegetables. However, cats that enjoy human sweets are most likely responding to the baked goods’ high-fat content, not the sugar! This attraction to high-fat foods also explains why many cats love the taste of butter.

Cranberry sauce on a wooden background
Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

How Can I Add a Bit of Wow to My Cat’s Food?

If you’re interested in creating a tasty sauce-like treat for your pet, consider giving bone broth a try. While it’s possible to buy pre-made formulas from several pet food manufacturers, making bone broth is easy, and it’s a great way to add a ton of flavor to your cat’s regular food.

Bone broth is packed with healthy nutrients, and it’s low in calories, so it’s a wonderful option for cats. Mixing it into the food can sometimes encourage finicky pets to eat. It’s also a great way to increase your cat’s water intake.

Put leftover beef, turkey, or chicken bones into a pot, add water, and boil. Throw in a few cat-friendly veggies like celery or carrots if you want, but stay away from salt, onions, and garlic. The longer your concoction boils, the more nutrients make it into the broth. Bone broth often takes 18 to 24 hours to complete.

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If your cat took a nibble of cranberry sauce, there’s probably no reason to panic unless it contains raisins, currants, or macadamia nuts, in which case it’s a good idea to contact your cat’s veterinarian for guidance. Cranberry sauce contains too much sugar, making it a less-than-ideal option for cats.

High sugar consumption often leads to weight gain and feline obesity, which can cause health issues such as osteoarthritis and diabetes. Also, felines cannot detect sweet flavors, and they’re better off eating savory meals. Cat-friendly bone broth is a great choice if you’re looking for a tasty sauce-like treat for your pet since it’s low in calories, high in nutrients, and packed with meaty flavors.

Featured Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

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