Can Cats Eat Ice Cream?

cat with ice cream

Online, there are many videos of pets eating foods made for human consumption, and while some may be funny or cute to watch, there are some serious health side effects to these foods in both dogs and cats. However, there are some foods and drinks that seem to be perpetuated as normal for cats in particular to consume such as milk and other dairy products. We’ve all seen videos of kittens lapping up bowls of milk, but is this really the best option for them, and how bad are dairy products for them as a whole?

For some reason or another, the idea of cats enjoying dairy treats like milk, cream and now ice cream, has been around for years, but studies show that these are not the best for your feline friends. According to The Happy Cat Site, much like some humans, cats become lactose intolerant after their younger years so giving them milk or ice cream might result in more trips to the litter box, and a bit of a messier clean up when they’re done. That is not to say that a cat can’t have any dairy, but maybe only a spoonful of vanilla ice cream as opposed to getting their own container to eat from. 

Just like with dogs and other pets, even if you choose to give your cat ice cream, there are precautions to take. Cats cannot process chocolate for the same reason dogs can’t, and it takes an even smaller dose of chocolate for a cat to suffer serious health risks. Additionally, fruit in these treats can be dangerous to cats as well, so avoiding flavored ice creams is likely the best option if you absolutely need to share your creamy comfort food with your cat. We know that foods like ice cream are some comfort foods for people, but just like how eating a lot of it is bad for us, eating ice cream has negative results for cats too.

What To Do Instead

Cats, while you will see them go for dairy like cream and ice cream, do not do so for the taste or the sugar, as we do. Since cats are mainly carnivorous and in fact lack most of the taste receptors for sweet and sugary, they more likely than not don’t even taste the vanilla or sugar flavors. The main reason behind cats enjoying these is their high fat content, something they might not receive in their food and treats otherwise. This is also why it is not good to give your cat a lot of ice cream, as the fat content will put extra pounds on your kitty that will affect their health. 

In short, while a cat can eat some ice cream, it is not the best option for their bodies. Cats do not get the same level of pleasure as we do from ice cream and other sweet treats and more likely would get more happiness from a good piece of raw meat like steak or chicken. Ice cream is okay but not frequently and not in large quantities, and should never be more than simple vanilla flavor in order to avoid more issues down the line. In small amounts, ice cream may be an acceptable treat, but do not do it frequently unless you want to deal with the clean up later on.

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