You may have questioned if you can feed ice cream to your cat without it causing any harm. Let’s face it; when you enjoy something so good, and your adorable cat is staring, it is hard not to want to give them some. As excited to try it as they may be, though, you should be careful with the risks some human foods pose for your cat.
In short, cats should not eat ice cream. A small amount of ice cream will not hurt your cat, but too much of it is terrible for its digestive system. Some symptoms include gas, stomach aches, and diarrhea. Vanilla flavors or goat’s milk ice cream can be considered safer options.
Is ice cream safe for your cat; will it cause a brain freeze? Some popular questions around ice cream may have been floating across your mind. After all, ice cream is a typical treat we all enjoy, and cats may very well enjoy it too! We will look into the nitty-gritty of ice cream and cats and what it can do to their health.
Are Cats Lactose Intolerant?
Cats are usually lactose intolerant, meaning that they don’t have the ability to process the lactose in milk through the lactase enzyme.
Some cats have more enzymes than others, similar to humans who can have a lactose-intolerant friend but can drink a full glass of whole milk themselves.
When they are young, kittens produce plenty of lactase enzymes since they usually consume their mothers’ milk. As they grow and begin to eat solids, they require more enzymes to digest proteins.
Once milk ceases to be part of a cat’s daily diet, lactase production decreases significantly. The milk is then not digested correctly because the body understands that the cat doesn’t need anymore to consume or digest milk.
Some of that lactose substance clots when encountering the digestive fluids in the cat’s stomach, leading to gas, abdominal discomfort, and more severe diarrhea.
Currently, there isn’t a cure for lactose intolerance. It is essential to recognize if your cat has this condition to manage its diet accordingly.
Can Cats Eat Dairy-Free Ice Cream?
Most cats may find it easier to digest other types of dairy rather than ice cream. A cat may not tolerate milk but can easily digest other dairy products like butter, yogurt, or cheese. Different types of dairy have distinct amounts of lactose.
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Whether cats can eat dairy-free ice cream will highly depend on the ingredients of the ice cream. For instance, ice cream already has tons of sugar which is harmful to cats. It may also have chocolate or caffeine, which, in some cases, are fatal substances for cats.
Can Ice Cream Kill A Cat?
A small amount of ice cream will most likely not kill your cat. But the type of ice cream and the amount or frequency with which it is consumed will play a significant role in the damage it can cause to your cat.
Cats lack the necessary enzymes in their system to digest lactose. Any product that contains lactose, like ice cream, in high dosages can lead to severe health conditions down the line.
Would Ice Cream Make A Cat As Happy As It Makes A Human?
Even though cats can react in the same way humans do when exposed to ice cream, the truth is, they are generally not very attracted to sweet foods. That is because they don’t have sweet taste receptors. They do not avoid the taste, but they don’t respond to it either.
Cats may enjoy ice cream without it being because of the sweet taste we humans crave so much.
Even though ice cream can make a cat very happy in the moment, it will not in the long run due to its health complications if consumed for long periods.
Can You Feed Cats Vanilla Ice Cream?
Vanilla-flavored ice cream might be a better option if you want to feed your cat ice cream because it is non-toxic to cats. A spoon or two of it is enough. Ice cream has milk, and most cats are lactose intolerant which may cause an upset stomach.
Another option is ice cream made with goat’s milk. Goat milk does not need pasteurization, meaning that some natural enzymes stay within the fluid. Some of those natural enzymes are responsible for helping in the digestion of lactose. It’s very similar to the milk they got from their mothers, and they can digest it without issue. It’s also beneficial to their health, and they love it!
If you try to make it at home, keep the sugar count low. You can even add xylitol, a sugar-free sweetener that is safe for cats.
Can You Feed Cats Strawberry Ice Cream?
Another safer option is strawberry-flavored ice cream. Strawberries are also non-toxic to cats; thus, the strawberry flavor may also be a less risky choice.
You may even be tempted to add strawberries to your cat’s vanilla or goat’s milk ice cream for a special treat. However, keep in mind that strawberries are not necessarily your cat’s favorite treat due to their sweetness. They don’t supply any nutritional benefits to your cat anyway.
Can Cats Eat Chocolate Ice Cream?
Chocolate is considered toxic to cats. It has high levels of theobromine, a poisonous chemical for them. Chocolate consumption in cats is a serious matter, and any quantity of chocolate, including chocolate ice cream, should be avoided.
One hundred to two hundred milligrams per kilogram of theobromine is a fatal dose to a cat. Even an ounce of cocoa powder has eight hundred milligrams of theobromine. Considering this is why even a small quantity of chocolate ice cream can be unsafe for cats.
What Happens If My Cat Eats Ice Cream?
As mentioned earlier, cats cannot tolerate the lactic acid found in ice cream because they are lactose intolerant.
It is safe to say that a little bit of ice cream won’t usually put your cat’s health in danger. Keep in mind that cats should only eat it on occasion like most sugary treats and other human food.
Due to ice cream’s high sugar content, overeating can lead to the fast development of obesity and diabetes in cats. This condition can develop further problems such as arthritis, depression, and a heightened risk of certain cancers.
Your cat may get bad diarrhea and foul-smelling gas after eating even just a bit of ice cream. However, there is a possibility that some cats react better to it and may eat a little more ice cream without showing any symptoms.
Eating ice cream can also cause “brain freeze.” Just like us, cats can experience the squeezing of blood vessels, the reaction of nerves, and the result of intense headaches. If you want to give ice cream to your cat, make sure that it’s a little bit warmed up so that it can enjoy it.
Why Do Cats Love Ice Cream?
So, why do cats like ice cream and often enthusiastically want it?
Every cat is unique, and you may find that yours begs for some ice cream when you are eating it. Fat, carbohydrates, and the whole milk contents in ice cream, are most likely the elements that attract cats.
Some cats do LOVE ice cream, even though you may find them throwing up a few minutes later. Others may not pay the slightest bit of attention to it, while others are not picky and will eat anything without caring too much about what it is.
Giving your cat ice cream or not is totally up to you. The bottom line is even though cats should not eat ice cream regularly, a little bit of ice cream won’t mean any severe damage to your cat. If your cat enjoys it a bit now and then and doesn’t react badly to it, it is probably okay.
Keep in mind that too much can be dangerous, and excess sugar can lead to serious health issues. Plus, ice cream doesn’t provide any health benefits to your cat. You can be offering your cat much wiser treats options; we all love treating our cats and making them feel good, don’t we?
Treats of all sorts – tuna, meat, cheese, ice cream, or other human foods, should not make up more than 5% to 10% of your cat’s diet. Their diet should primarily consist of high-quality cat food with well-balanced amounts of vitamins and nutrients.
If you’re not sure what foods are okay to feed to your cat, ask your veterinarian. Also, remember that providing table food to a cat often teaches it to be demanding.
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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.