Can Cats Eat Ice Cream? – A Must Read Guide

Curiosity killed the cat, but can ice cream curse our fluffy friends to the same fate?

Can Cats Eat Ice Cream?

If you’re anything like me, you have a killer sweet tooth and more than one furry beast roaming around your house. And if you’ve ever cracked open a cold carton of ice cream near a cat, you know for a fact that not sharing is easier said than done.

The second the scent of something edible that isn’t their highly specialized, and often highly expensive, cat food hits their noses, I can guarantee that they’re going to try to stick their faces in it.

But we love our cats, which is why any responsible cat owner has at some point probably asked can cats eat ice cream?

The short answer is, no – technically.

Cats Are Lactose Intolerant

You see, despite decades of cartoon propaganda depicting cats lapping up bowls of milk, most cats are actually lactose intolerant. And ice cream, as a dairy product, contains loads of lactose.

But, I can hear you asking, kittens drink loads of milk from their mothers, how’s that any different?

Let’s get scientific for a second. Cats are born with a certain tolerance for lactose to allow for kittens to consume their mothers’ milk. This is through the presence of the lactase enzyme, the abundance of which decreases as the kitten grows up.

Basically, by the time a cat is fully grown, its ability to break down lactose has gone down immensely.

So can kittens have ice cream then?

Unfortunately, the answer’s still no.

Ice Cream Contains A Lot Of Anti-Cat Ingredients

While the lactose in ice cream may make your cat gassy and cramp-y like lactose intolerant humans, there’s actually a lot more at stake.

The high sugar content can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even tooth decay in high enough amounts. Which, in addition to being a pain to clean up, is extremely damaging to your cat’s health.

Unfortunately, sugar isn’t the only thing that triggers such a response. Chocolate, which is one of the most popular ice cream flavors ever, is especially bad for cats.

Fine For Humans, Poison For Cats

You see, cocoa naturally contains caffeine and a chemical compound known as theobromine. While both of these things have productive uses for humans, in cats it again causes vomiting and diarrhea, with the added risks of lowering their blood pressure, increasing their heart rate, and even causing cardiac failure.

Cats just can’t process certain things as well as humans do. Things like propylene glycol for instance, which staves off freezer-burn in ice cream, is just short of poison for cats if enough is ingested. It can cause fever, loss of appetite, blood coloured urine, and even skin discoloration in cats.

So, unless you’re looking to have a seriously grumpy green creature puking, peeing, and having an actual heart attack all over your carpets, keep the ice cream out of reach.

If by some twist of fate you do find yourself with a cat cursed with diarrhea, consider investing in Hillpig’s Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box – trust me, there’s going to be a lot of litter.

Cats Don’t Even Like Ice Cream

While puppy-dog eyes are said to be the most convincing thing in the world, any cat owner can tell you that cats are the true conmen of the animal kingdom.

As hard as they’ll try to convince you that they absolutely need a lick of that sweet, sweet vanilla cone, cats don’t even like ice cream. Simply put, they can’t.

The main draw of ice cream is its sweet profile, and cats can’t taste sweetness. All of the stuff that’s good for cats, from specialty kibble to raw meat diets, don’t really have a high sugar content.

As depressing as it may sound, evolutionarily, cats don’t need to taste sweetness.

They Might Still Try To Steal Your Ice Cream

But keep in mind, just because they don’t care for sweetness doesn’t mean your cat isn’t going to dive headfirst into your next bowl of vanilla ice cream. The carbs and the fat, both present in high concentration, or even plain curiosity to know what you’re eating, may be enough to tempt a taste.

If you want to make sure that your cat can never sneak up on you while you’re chowing down on a frozen treat, check out this adorable Bowtie Chirimen Cat Collar by PetSoKoo, outfitted with a bell to alert you to your feline’s every move!

It is worth asking though, what would happen if your cat snuck a snack of someone’s abandoned ice cream?

So Your Cat Ate Some Ice Cream – What Do You Do Now?

Firstly, don’t panic. Despite the swaths of less-than-ideal side effects I’ve listed above, unless your cat has just eaten a sizable amount, you’re probably in the clear.

A lick here and a bite there are unlikely to actively harm your cat, though keep in mind that they could still experience some gassiness and general grumpy-ness post-ice cream heist.

It is important to stop them before they get too far along, however, as consuming too much can lead to any one of the unsavory results above, from vomiting to cardiac arrest, and even trigger a brain freeze.

While there are a handful of TikToks going around memeing their cat’s brain-freeze faces, it’s best to avoid. Brain freezes are bad enough as humans, imagine if you were tiny and didn’t know what was going on.

If you’re really craving a bowl for yourself however, try out the Automatic Pet Feeder by VOLUAS and set it to go off right as you serve yourself a scoop so that your cats are completely distracted while you sneak a snack on any of these 35 Best Ice Cream Brands.

When In Doubt – Ask Your Vet

If on the off chance your cat has somehow consumed a significant amount of ice cream, it’s best to be safe. Take them to the vet and have a professional check that everything is in order. In the case it’s not, I assure you that they are much more well-equipped to help your cat get better than an ice cream blog.

In any case, even if just a tiny amount has been consumed, observation is key. Keep an eye on your furry beasts to make sure that they’re not behaving weirdly and don’t seem to be in any pain or discomfort. If possible, monitor their litter box activity to make sure that things are running smoothly internally.

So, now that we know if a cat can eat ice cream, and what to do in the event that it does, is there anything that we actually can safely give our cats so that they may share in the creamy goodness?

Cat-Friendly Options

Fortunately for our peace of mind and the health of our beloved pets, there are plenty of cat-friendly ice creams available, specially formulated with our furry friends in mind.

Firstly, there’s always the option of making some yourself. With the click of a button, you can endlessly scroll through hundreds of YouTube tutorials on how to make your own cat ice-cream, often neglecting cows milk and sugar and focusing on more cat-centric flavors.

But if your dessert making skills, like mine, leave a little to be desired, there are easier ways. Similarly, with a click of a button, you can endlessly scroll through hundreds of Amazon products made precisely so you don’t have to, with high quality ingredients that your cats can enjoy.

One such product is the Pet Winery Cat Ice Cream, which swaps out cow’s milk for goat milk powder and sprinkles in fish flakes for a flavor your cat can actually appreciate.

It’s important to remember, though, all good things come in moderation. While ice cream is a fun treat every now and again on an especially hot day, it’s important to remember that it is still a treat.

Like humans, cats shouldn’t overindulge in certain foods, no matter how delicious, and overall keep a balanced diet that sometimes features an icy morsel.

If your feline friend has been over indulging in some sweet treats though, try reaching for some of Pet Wellbeing’s Milk Thistle supplements to boost their immune system!

In Conclusion

Cats can eat ice cream, but they generally shouldn’t. So unless your freezer is stocked with premium feline-grade ice cream, maybe have the fuzzballs stick to cat food – you know you’ve cleaned up enough cat puke to last a lifetime already.

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