You walk to the fridge and pour yourself a glass of apple juice. As you turn back from the refrigerator to the counter, you notice your cat is already ahead of you and drinking your delicious beverage.
You feel a slight sense of panic and urgency as you wonder if it’s safe for your cat to sip your juice. Can cats drink apple juice? Or will it cause problems? The last thing you need is to take a trip to the vet after hours.
To keep things short and sweet, yes, your cat can drink small amounts of apple juice without experiencing harmful effects. However, the high fructose content in apple juice makes it a bad idea to add it to your cat’s regular diet.
Tuna juice and bone broth are healthier alternatives to apple juice, and your cat will love them. However, let’s stick to the topic on hand and examine why it’s a bad idea for your cat to drink any fruit juice.
Cats Are Carnivores
Cats are carnivores, and they need meat to survive. There’s no such thing as a vegan cat, and they won’t touch veggies or fruit in the wild. Cats don’t need carbohydrates in their diet, and you’ll never catch a feral cat eating anything but other animals.
Your cat’s digestive system evolved over millions of years to process the nutrients found in meat. However, if you feed them carbs, their stomach doesn’t know what to do with it, treating it as a foreign object.
Cats cannot produce vitamin A naturally, and they need to get it from eating organ meats like liver. Apples and other fruits and vegetables don’t belong in your cat’s diet.
If your cat drinks a significant amount of apple juice, it can cause an adverse reaction in the gut, leading to vomiting or diarrhea. The gut bacteria in your cat are efficient at breaking down the nutrients in meat, not the simple sugars in fruit.
Vomiting and diarrhea aren’t the only concerns. Just like their human owners, cats get fat when you feed them sugar. If your cat is already dealing with weight issues, the apple juice isn’t helping the situation.
What Are The Ingredients In Apple Juice?
So, what are the ingredients in apple juice? Is there any benefit for your cat if they sip on a serving?
According to the USDA, a single 1-fl oz serving of apple juice contains 14 calories, zero protein or fat, and 3.5 grams of carbohydrates, with 3-grams of those carbs from sugar (fructose).
The apple juice also contains around 1.2-mg of sodium, 31.3-mg of potassium, and trace amounts of fiber.
From this analysis, we can determine that apple juice is just a liquid form of sugar, with no health benefits for your cats.
Sure, your cat isn’t going to pound down 10-fl oz of apple juice in a single sitting, but they do enjoy sipping on it a bit.
Considering this behavior, that brings us to our next question.
Do Cats Enjoy Apple Juice?
If cats enjoy eating meat, why do they constantly want to sip your apple juice? Some owners report that their cats won’t leave them alone if they pour a glass of the sweet stuff. They walk around your legs, meowing in hopes that you’ll give them a sip.
So, do cats actually like apple juice? What is it about this sweet treat that makes them go crazy for it? The funny thing is that cats don’t have sweet taste receptors on their tongues. Therefore, they can’t even taste the juice – so why do they want it?
The reality is that taste buds evolve in animal animals to push us into eating things our body needs, rather than the things we like. For us, humans, and most animal species, it’s vital that we know how to detect carbohydrates.
As humans, we need simple sugars for energy. It carries out a biological process called “gluconeogenesis,” where the body processes these carbs into glucose to fuel metabolism and the muscular system.
Without carbohydrates, humans go into ketosis. With ketosis, the body produces ketones to account for the lack of carbs, allowing us to live off protein and fat indefinitely.
However, cats don’t have this mechanism, and they can’t survive off carbs alone. They need protein and fats from meat to thrive.
When it comes to cake and ice cream, it’s not the sweet taste of the dessert that’s attracting your cat – it’s the fat content. Your cat might not be able to taste that double Belgian chocolate flavor, but the fat content in the dairy drives them wild.
However, that doesn’t answer why cats like sipping apple juice. As we covered earlier, there is no fat or protein in apple juice, only carbohydrates in the form of simple sugars.
Maybe your cat is looking to try something new, or perhaps there is a flavor mechanism in their tongue that science doesn’t understand.
Whatever the reason, no published study or evidence shows why cats enjoy sipping on juice and other sweet beverages.
In Closing – Is Apple Juice Suitable And Healthy For Cats?
After reading through the article, it’s obvious that there is no nutritional value in apple juice for your cat. It’s a mystery why felines find these sweet beverages so enticing, and even top feline experts have no idea why cats display this behavior.
However, you’re probably wondering if there’s any harm in letting your cat sip on apple juice; heck, it’s healthy for you; why wouldn’t it be beneficial for them? Doesn’t apple juice come loaded with antioxidants?
The reality is fruit juice is one step below a sugary soda. It’s not healthy for you at all, and it creates the same sugar response in your body as soda.
Apples are healthy for you because they contain fiber that sweeps your digestive tract clean. However, your cat doesn’t need fiber for digestive health, so there’s no need for it to eat fruits and veggies.
If you’re thinking the antioxidants in the juice can do your cat some good, think again. The trace amounts of antioxidants in a few sips of juice don’t outweigh the damage the sugar does to their body.
It might surprise you to learn that there are plenty of antioxidants in organ meats like liver and kidneys. If you’re concerned for your cat’s health, try feeding them liver or kidneys a few days a month – they’ll respond to that better than a glass of apple juice.
As a final word on the subject, we recommend avoiding letting your cat sip on apple juice. Drain a can of tuna in brine and give that to them instead.