Summer is that favorite time of year, when you get to have tons of fun in the sun and indulge in all kinds of treats, especially frozen treats. And what better treat is there than ice cream?
So as you sit on your porch and enjoy this simple pleasure, you find your feline friend staring into your face with eyes more innocent than an angel and of course what do you do? Give him a little taste, that’s what.
But before you do so, ask yourself these questions: Can cats eat ice cream? Is ice cream good for cats?
About Cats and Ice Cream – Facts you need to Know
Unfortunately, ice cream does not contain any nutrition for cats. It might sound like the perfect treat for your cat on a hot summer’s day, since it is cool, creamy and made from milk and cats love milk right? Actually, milk is not good for cats at all. They may enjoy the taste of milk, but their digestive systems are not designed to digest it as easily as we do and so they have a problem with milk. In fact lots of cats are lactose intolerant.
As a pet owner, it is up to you to keep your cat away from anything that is bad for their health, even if it may seem harmless to you. Ice cream is one of those seemingly harmless treats that could turn out to be an actual threat to you.
Cats are simple creatures and unlike humans, they do not require the many vitamins, minerals and nutrients that we do to keep going. They only need a select few vitamins that they will get from their canned or dry cat food. So if you want to avoid a lot of trips to the vet keep things simple and steer clear of unnecessary foods.
Just like humans, cats also suffer from lactose issues. The most obvious negative reaction is when you give your cat ice cream and he has diarrhea afterwards. In some cases, he may also look a little off or just behave strangely. The signs may be difficult to spot; however, as the owner you will know soon enough whether your cat is lactose intolerant.
Lots of people are under the impression that milk is actually good for cats, since it seems like the most natural thing in the world to give a cat, however, many people do not know that dairy products, especially milk can make cats sick and repeatedly giving it to them over period of time could create permanent health problems for your cat. So to be on the safe side, do not give it to them at all.
Can Cats Eat Ice Cream?
No! The short answer is that cats cannot eat ice cream simply because there are too many risks involved in feeding it to your cat. The ingredients that make up ice cream are all unhealthy, dangerous or plain toxic for cats, so it would make sense that you do not give ice cream to your cat as a treat or even as a taste test.
It might taste just as good to your cat as it does to you, however if you take a closer look at everything contained in your ice cream, you will realize why it is more of a threat than a treat to your cat.
For one, ice cream contains sweeteners. The average sweetener is not known to cause any adverse harmful effects in cats, at least if it’s consumed in small quantities. However, there is one very suspicious sweetener contained in many human products on the market. It is called Xylitol. This sweetener is not harmful to humans and can be contained by us in any quantity. However, it is dangerous and poisonous to cats. So the next time you are buying treats for your cat and come across this ingredient on the label, avoid it at all costs.
Ice cream also contains various stabilizers and emulsifiers which make the different ingredients all blend together nicely and stay blended. Although many manufacturers believe in only using natural stabilizers and emulsifiers, most companies do not use natural ingredients. These ingredients are contained in small quantities; however, it may not be good for you or your feline friend.
Milk can actually be bad for your cat. It’s hard to believe since everybody thinks that milk and cats go together like a horse and cart. This is not true. As your cat grows, the enzymes in their body that break down the milk tend to decrease and this makes it hard to digest milk. Bloating, flatulence, vomiting and diarrhea are some of the symptoms that your cat will experience after being given milk if they are lactose intolerant.
Ice Cream – Are there any Benefits?
The sad truth of the matter is that ice cream really does not contain any health benefits for your cat. Here are some of the reasons why ice cream can never be good for your cat:
- You might try to argue that ice cream contains calcium and protein; however it contains calcium in minimal quantities. The protein that it contains is not even the right kind. So as much as ice cream is bad for you, you definitely cannot justify how it can be good for your feline friend.
- Even if cats are fed pure milk protein, with all the sugar and fat removed, the cat would still end up deficient in quite a few amino acids.
- This is also why cats can nurse on their mother’s milk while still babies, but when you attempt to feed them cow’s milk; they can get very sick very quickly. So if cats do not get any nutritional value out of cow’s milk, I seriously doubt that ice cream will do anything good for them.
- The high content of sugar in ice cream is reason enough not to give it to your cat. Cats do not produce amylase, which is the enzyme responsible for digesting carbohydrates or the type of sugar contained in ice cream. Since they cannot properly digest sugar, it leads to several digestive problems in your cat, such as an upset stomach and vomiting.
Cats are omnivores and their internal systems are designed to extract all the nutrients they need from the meat sources that they consume. So they need nothing else except for what they naturally desire to eat. Meat tastes good to them, it is good for them and in terms of diet, it contains everything they need to sustain themselves.
So cats do not require milk at all or any form of it. It does not help them become healthier or live longer. In fact, it is more of a nuisance to their bodies and digestive systems than anything else. So if you want your cat happy and healthy, refrain from giving him any milk.
How to Serve Ice Cream to your cat?
The short answer is that you should not serve ice cream to your cat in any form or way. As we have established so ice cream does not contain any health benefits for you cat and it is also harmful to your cat due to several reasons:
One of them being the high sugar content contained in ice cream. A cat’s body is not designed to break down sugar since its body does not produce amylase which is the enzyme responsible for digesting sugar. The lack of this enzyme creates digestive problems for your cat, which results in an upset tummy, vomiting and in some cases diarrhea.
However, in addition to that, the amount of sugar contained in ice cream can cause more serious and permanent health problems for your cat, especially if fed ice cream repeatedly or in large quantities. These issues are obesity and diabetes. Both put your cat’s health at risk and could end up being fatal.
The stabilizers and emulsifiers that ice cream manufacturers use to solidify and hold different ingredients together, is also not good for your cat. This may come as a surprise, but it is also not good for you.
We now know that milk and all related products are good for your cat. Contrary to popular belief, milk is the last thing that you should be feeding your cat if you want to comfort him or give him a healthy and nutritious diet.
This is basically because cats tend to wean themselves off milk as they grow. The enzymes in the body that are responsible for digesting milk decrease as the cat gets older. It is also because cow’s milk adds no value to a cat’s diet and can in fact make a cat sick. This is why you will notice that kittens can nurse on their mother’s milk and thrive; however, when you start to give them cow’s milk, they begin to get sick.
So in a nutshell, you should not be serving ice cream to your cat, under any circumstances.
Are there any Side Effects to eating Ice Cream?
As mentioned previously, ice cream is bad for cats. It has no health benefits and the very make up of ice cream is not suitable for the digestive systems of cats. This is the main reason that you should keep your cat away from ice cream, no matter how good it tastes to you and how good you think it will taste to your feline friend.
Some cats that are lactose intolerant and have ingested ice cream in the past have showed various uncomfortable and alarming symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, flatulence and bloating. These symptoms may not seem very serious at first, however with continued use; these symptoms may get worse and evolve into more serious health conditions.
One of the most serious conditions known to result from cats being fed ice cream are diabetes and obesity. These conditions are serious and possibly even life threatening. However, even the less serious symptoms such as flatulence and bloating causes pain and discomfort to your cat.
So if you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, follow the steps below and you cat should be just fine:
- Don’t panic
- Act fast, especially if your cat is vomiting or has diarrhea
- Call your vet as soon as possible
- Explain what your cat ate and the symptoms that he is experiencing
- Take a sample of your cats vomit with your to the vet for further testing
- Drive to your vet
- Your vet may then do a complete or thorough examination of your cat to make sure that he okay
- Your vet may either advise you that your cat needs to stay a few days until he is better, or he may send him home with you
- In most cases, the vet will ask you to give him his medication and keep a close eye on him
Bottom Line – Can Cats Eat Ice Cream?
So in conclusion, your cat cannot eat ice cream. It is bad for your cat and does nothing good for him. It contains no nutrients, vitamins or minerals that your cat can possibly benefit from. In fact all the ingredients it contains are harmful to your cat.
The sweetener may also contain the toxic and poisonous artificial sugar known as Xylitol. Cats also do not have the amylase enzyme that breaks down sugar, so this leads to all kinds of digestive problems such as upset stomach and vomiting.
They also do not contain the enzyme that breaks down milk, which makes their digestive systems work twice as hard when trying to digest milk. Also the emulsifiers and stabilizers used to bind together the other ingredients in ice cream may not be natural and are thus bad for you and your beloved cat.
With so many reasons not to give your cat ice cream, no caring pet owner would seriously consider still doing it. If you enjoyed this article, please leave a comment in the comments section and if you would like to, feel free to share with your friends and family.