“I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.” There aren’t very many humans on the planet who don’t enjoy a tasty bit of ice cream on occasion. Many of us make ice cream a regular treat in our diet. But when it comes to sharing with your furry friends, you may find yourself debating whether cats can eat ice cream?
It’s not uncommon in movies and books for a cat to be drinking milk from a small dish or even straight off a cow’s teat. There are many very loving cat owners who feed their cats milk frequently or give them a bit of ice cream. It’s actually quite common for those who aren’t well versed in what constitutes a healthy cat diet to feed kittens milk.
Are Milk and Ice Cream Healthy for Cats?
Cats can be very finicky eaters and many people assume they won’t eat something that makes them sick. Cats love milk and ice cream so how could it be bad for them? But the truth is the ASPCA has determined that cats, and especially kittens, can’t digest dairy products or milk-based products very well.
While the truth is cats can eat ice cream without it being fatal, it’s not the best treat for them to have. Ice cream as you know is a dairy product. It’s also high in sugar content which becomes a problem if eaten too frequently.
Other Effects that Occur When Cats Eat Ice Cream
There have also recently been reports that indicate that when cats eat ice cream they experience an effect similar to brain freeze that humans experience. Getting brain freeze is painful enough for humans and we understand why it’s happening and that it’s temporary.
Imagine being a cute little furry kitten or cat and experiencing that horrific pain without knowing why or even that it will end. And cats can’t understand that eating the delicious ice cream is what caused the pain in the first place so they can’t make a choice to abstain.
Can Ice Cream Make Cats Sick?
Before you give in to the urge to let your cats eat ice cream, here’s some additional information to consider. Most cats, like many humans are lactose intolerant. If cats eat ice cream, it’s very possible that it will upset their digestive system and cause them pain and even diarrhea.
Like humans who are lactose intolerant, this doesn’t automatically mean that cats can’t eat ice cream. It simply means that if cats eat ice cream and especially if they eat too much ice cream, it can make them sick.
If you decide to let your cats eat ice cream, make sure that you limit the quantity they get at one sitting and that you feed your cats ice cream very infrequently. Watch your cat closely after it has eaten a little ice cream to see if they experience any negative effects.
If your cat seems to be in pain, vomits, or has diarrhea after eating ice cream, this could signal lactose intolerance. Check with your vet before feeding your cat ice cream or other dairy products in the future. You should also check with our Cats and Yoghurt article.