Cats have a very specialized diet that does not include eating fruit. Diarrhea and allergic reactions may outway the benefits of your cat eating grapes. Read on to learn the drawbacks and benefits of your cat eating grapes.
No, cats shouldn’t eat grapes. There are some indications gastrointestinal distress, diarrhea, and renal failure can occur in cats when eating grapes. As a result of domestication, cats no longer kill and eat their prey’s meat. Still, their digestive system is primarily restricted to this type of diet.
Can Cats Eat Grapes?
The answer to this question is yes. Cats are curious creatures that are not averse to trying new foods for the experience. The longer answer is whether grapes are necessary or even beneficial to cats.
Cats are pretty different from us, classified as carnivores. The typical diet of cats is meat. Their teeth and digestive enzymes are geared for a meat-based diet.
The introduction or restriction of your cat’s diet to fruits or vegetables can cause many problems for their health, to the point where any healthful benefits brought by the grapes could be outweighed by problems that might surface.
Grapes are a high-energy food that nutritionists have found to contain the vitamins C and K and B6. There are also manganese and copper, necessary for us to maintain good health. The majority of the mass of grapes is water and complex carbohydrates or sugar. This carbohydrate mass is a slow-release type of energy that is important for protracted periods of exertion.
But grapes are also characterized by allergies relating to the high levels of tannin they contain. This molecule is a natural plant derivative that is used as a form of protection from insects. Many tropical-based fruits and vegetables utilize tannin to protect from high exposure to predatory insects that thrive in the tropics.
Unfortunately, humans and cats appear to have allergy sensitivity to tannin. Often manifesting as a red itchy rash, tannin allergies can be at their least annoying. At their worst, they could cause breathing and digestive diseases.
Understanding The Benefits And Risks For Your Cat When Eating Grapes
All things in life must be considered in balance. Too much of a good thing can be bad for us, just as not enough of something. If we were only to eat grapes, it would not be long before an obvious problem might arise for our health.
What do cats need for a healthy balanced diet?
It would appear that cats have a much more restricted diet than humans, requiring meat and some grains to maintain their health. Their diet is restricted as to the enzymes they have for digestion. Cats have a low capacity to digest simple and complex forms of carbohydrates like sugar.
Grapes would then be contraindicated for cats, given their dominant mass is carbohydrates or complex sugars. Protein seems to be the hallmark of a cat’s diet. While grapes do have some protein, it would be insufficient in itself to sustain the nutritional value of your cat’s diet.
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Fiber is an essential element in a cat’s diet, and grapes contain large amounts of fiber to resolve constipation problems. Some people consider a small number of grapes might keep your cat more regular. But, any part could cause diarrhea and result in problematic dehydration for your furry companion.
One can easily see that in the case of your cat eating grapes, the cons outweigh the pros. It is our responsibility to see the cat through its own eyes, not our own. What is a good diet for us is not necessarily a good diet for our cat. While it may feel harmless to share a grape with your cat, it would not be wise for us to feed them grapes, let alone restrict our cat’s diet by consuming fruits becoming commonplace for our cat.
Historical Changes In Our Cats Diet
Our furry feline friends are members of a large and diverse family of predatory carnivorous mammals. Like their larger cousins, house cats are natural predators that come equipped with a physical and intuitive set of tools to hunt their food and survive. A cat’s life in pursuit of its food is typified by long periods of sleeping and resting to preserve an optimal energy level for hunting. It is a critical part of their survival skills. Eat what they must to maintain their health.
Over the last fifty years, cats have replaced dogs as man’s best friend in our homes. Their fierce independence and ability to fend for themselves have made cats a favorite for all. In the cat’s domestication process, much time and energy have gone into the analysis of their lives with us and their diet. Humans like to change things for convenience and ease of use. It is not surprising that we have significantly altered our cats’ diet in our homes.
Cats are meat eaters, but to have fresh meat available to feed our cats daily can be difficult and impractical. As a result, a dry food replacement for meat has been cleverly crafted by scientists to replace the fuss involved in preparing fresh meat for our cat.
The new diet for cats is a grain-based diet, with the flavor and nutritional additives of meat, cereal infused with vitamins, minerals, and proteins. This new diet is touted as being more healthy than the cat’s regular meat diet. Suppose this is, in fact, true. In that case, it is equivalent to the way we have changed our diet, using chemically derived substitute nutrition for health’s sake.
If all of the dietary components your cat needs are in the dry kibbles we feed our cats, there should be little need to give any supplements to our cat, including grapes.
Enjoyable Grape Eating With Your Cat
The dietary benefits or problems relating to your cat eating grapes are one thing, but having fun with your cat is quite another. Cats are naturally playful and curious creatures. If your cat joins you for a moment while you are enjoying your healthy bunch of grapes, refrain from sharing. Chances are, your cat is not even interested in this fruit.
If your cat wants to try some of your grapes, remember you are in control. A little sharing is a beautiful way to build friendship and devotion between you and your cat. Remember that part of your responsibility of ownership of your cat is loving and sharing time and experiences with pets, so enjoy!
When considering the best way to care for our cat through their diet, it is essential to see your cat’s life as a product of its needs, not ours. While we are all clear about the nutritional benefits of grapes in our diet, the reality is that the contrary might be the case for our cat.
Cats and humans, while great companions have little in common regarding their mutual genetic, developmental history. As omnivores, humans are required to eat a diverse complement of foods to maintain their health. On the other hand, Cats have developed their restrictive protein-based diet based on the historical availability of food in their natural habitat. We need to be sensitive to our cats’ heritage and their resulting need for a much more restrictive diet than our own. We have modified our cats’ diet with meat substitutes for our convenience.
But, cats still require a protein-rich diet with little necessity for other food classes. Stewardship of a pet is a great honor and responsibility. If conducted well, it leaves us with a devoted friend for life. It would be OK to share a grape for your cat for experience’s sake for a moment spent developing your cat’s relationship with you, but remember, you are the caregiver.
Shawn Manaher is a serial entrepreneur but when he isn’t working, he loves dogs. He’s owned different pets over the years, and always gives a part of his heart to each pet.