Snack time is no longer a relaxing break when you have a pet in the household, and no one knows this more than cat owners. Every time we take our eyes off of our snack for even one second, it seems like a cat paw appears as though out of thin air. We don’t mind sharing our food with our fluffy companions, but these sneak attacks can be potentially dangerous if we’re snacking on something that isn’t good for cats. For example, a bowl of grapes for humans can be a nice refreshing snack. But can cats eat grapes? If you’re wondering why you’re not alone. Let’s take an in-depth look into the effects of grapes on cats.
What Are Grapes?
Grapes, while often falling into a generic “fruit” category, are actually botanically considered berries. They are chock-full of polyphenols and anti-oxidants that make give human grape-eaters fantastic health benefits.
Many products can come from grapes. Aside from being eaten raw, grapes can also be made into red and white wine. The white wine is pressed for their juice, and dried into raisins. The seeds of grapes also turn into tasty, healthy oil when pressed. All of these features make them great for humans, but what about for animals?
Are They Toxic to Cats?
It’s a controversial subject. Here’s the thing: sources differ.
While technically grapes hold no toxins that can harm your cat, they are seriously dangerous for dogs to eat. The ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) Animal Poison Control Center put grapes on its list of dangerous foods to feed your pet. Although they do not specifically mention cats on this list, they note that you need to tread with caution when serving grapes to your cats, until more details surface on which chemicals in grapes are dangerous for dogs.
Eating grapes can cause a dog acute renal failure, which is when the kidney suddenly fails. Kidney failure is a horrible, sudden thing for your dog to experience. It can lead to the collapse of other organs and is incredibly painful as it leads to vomiting, seizures, disorientation, and other weakness.
Interpreting The Research Studies
So, can cats eat grapes? Maybe yes, but for the above reason alone, pet experts advise against letting your cat do so anyway. While a cat’s digestive system isn’t exactly the same as dogs, it’s very similar, and cats often have the same negative reactions to foods that are unsafe for dogs to eat.
Dr. Jeff Werber, an acclaimed veterinarian with an Emmy award under his belt, tells us that it’s better to be safe than sorry, even if there are no records to show that grapes are toxic to cats.
Other experts agree with Dr. Werber. Jenna Mahan, the Director of Claims at Embrace Pet Insurance, explains that the veterinary community is divided on the subject. Science offers no reason for cats not to eat grapes. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that there have been cases of grapes negatively affecting cat health.
The problem is that scientists are still baffled by the effects that grapes have on dogs. The chemical compound that causes acute renal failure in dogs remains a mystery. Due to this, they have no basis for researching its effect on cats, says Director Mahan. This is why she, Dr. Werber, and other veterinary professionals say to keep your cats away. Just for safety’s sake.
Possible Symptoms Of Grape Poisoning
Dr. Werber warns that the symptoms in dogs after having eaten grapes are the same to watch out for in your cat. When dogs ingest grapes, and their bodies react negatively to it, they start to become lethargic and weak. Sometimes they can even have seizures after eating grapes or even vomit within 12 hours of ingestion. These are all symptoms of sudden kidney failure.
Cats aren’t known to have a particular interest in grapes, but if you suspect that your cat has ingested grapes or any product that lists grapes as an ingredient, keep a close eye out for these symptoms. Other signs that your cat may not be feeling in tip-top shape is if you notice a sudden increase or decrease in hunger or thirst. This is a crucial way to keep track of your pet’s health. Also, if your cat experience irregular urination—this can mean either more or less than usual—you should also have your guard up. That means something isn’t right, and you should be prepared for the worst.
If you do see something that makes you think something isn’t right with your kitty, contact your veterinary doctor immediately.
Keep Your Cat Away From Grapes
Remove the temptation entirely and stash your grapes somewhere safe. Leaving them in an open place like on top of the kitchen counter can be tempting for your cat. Cats aren’t known to adore grapes like some of us humans. However, that doesn’t mean they’re not always super curious when it comes to snacks their human decides to eat without them. If you happen to leave grapes, raisins, or other foods that contain grape products, don’t hesitate to take your cat to the vet right away.
If you have a cat that likes to eat your food with you, take extra care that you only eat what ‘s good for the both of you. Foods like grapes and avocados that have possible adverse side effects. Or even foods with high levels of fat and sugar should be food that only you eat.
If you can’t get your cat to leave you alone, experts suggest you take your food into a room with a door that can shut. Of course, if that’s what it would take for your cat to go back to his own treats and cat food.
Cat-Proof Your Kitchen
Keep your cat well fed so that he doesn’t go wandering off in search of dietary supplements. Since cats are independent, their bodies tell them when they are in need of some sort of nutrient. They may not be getting these nutrients from the diet that you are providing as a cat owner.
Although not to the extent of dogs, cats do have a tendency to scavenge. Keep your fridge doors, cabinets, and trash firmly closed and even locked if you aren’t sure. You don’t want your cat possibly ingesting something that is harmful to them while you aren’t looking.
In conclusion, can cats eat grapes? Experts say no because keep your cat safe is most important.
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