It is not safe for cats to eat cherries. The stems, leaves, and pits of cherries contain cyanide, which can be toxic to cats in high doses. Although the amount of cyanide present in a cherry is relatively small, it can still harm your feline friend.
Cyanide is released when cherry pits are chewed or broken open, and this famously toxic chemical compound can quickly enter your cat's bloodstream. Symptoms of cyanide poisoning may include difficulty breathing, dilated pupils, bright red gums and tongue, vomiting, and diarrhea.
On top of their toxicity, cherry pits pose another risk for cats: They're hard, round objects that can easily become lodged in a cat's throat or intestines if swallowed whole. This can lead to choking or blockages within their digestive system, which in turn will necessitate emergency veterinary attention.
The bottom line: It's best to avoid giving cherries to your cat, even as an occasional treat. The truth is, your cat might not enjoy eating cherries even it were safe to do so: As obligate carnivores, cats need to get most of their nutrients from meat. Plus, they can't taste sweetness the same way that humans and dogs can.
If your cat does eat cherries (or any other food) and begins showing signs of illness such as lethargy, diarrhea, or vomiting, reach out to your veterinarian immediately. And if your cat ever requires veterinary care due to eating an unsafe food, pet insurance can help cover the cost of treatment.