Have you got a cat that seems really interested in the food you eat? Do they constantly want to eat your food? Maybe on a hot day, you are tempted to give your cat some of your ice cream to get a cool treat?
Cats often come into contact with human food – but should you be letting them eat it? What about chocolate ice cream? Can cats eat chocolate ice cream? In short, no, you should not let your cat eat chocolate ice cream. The ingredients within the chocolate and the ice cream are not good for them and can make them really ill! Keep your cat away from the stuff.
Why Chocolate Isn’t Good For Cats
Cocoa isn’t just bad for cats, it’s potentially deadly.
Cats can’t process ingredients like cocoa in the same way humans do. Pure cocoa (especially dark chocolate) holds an extremely high risk, and foods that contain even trace amounts of coca can be just as dangerous.
The reason cocoa is dangerous is that it contains the compounds theobromine and caffeine. Both are potentially fatal to cats even in very small quantities.
Theobromine is safely metabolized by humans but is not by cats (or dogs). This leads to a toxic build-up in the cat that can lead to liver failure! Even what you or I would consider minimal amounts can be potentially fatal!
Cocoa also naturally contains caffeine and this is also pretty bad for your cat.
What sorts of symptoms might a cat who has eaten chocolate and become poisoned exhibit? Watch out for restlessness, vomiting, diarrhea, increased breathing rate, increased heart rate, increased temperature, muscle spasms, and finally rigidity – basically all your common symptoms of poisoning!
What should you do if you suspect your cat has been enjoying some chocolate? You should keep them confined for 24 hours and monitor them looking for the signs of poisoning outlined above, any symptoms, and off to the vet with them!
What about if you have actually watched them eating chocolate? Well, if you know they have definitely eaten chocolate – not just suspected it – you should get them down to the vet and let the vet force them to vomit the chocolate out.
For cat owners who want to be responsible for their pet’s health, all this means no chocolate ice cream, but also no chocolate spread, hot chocolate, chocolate bars…
If there’s chocolate or sugar listed in the ingredients, the keyword should be to avoid it!
Why Sugar Isn’t Good For Cats
Ice cream is high in sugar content – it is the high sugar and fat that we humans really find irresistible. But the sugar is problematic for your cat.
Sugar is not toxic to cats like chocolate is – they can ingest sugar without any real immediate danger. Cats do not even have the ability to taste sugar and therefore can’t really become addicted to its taste. The problem with cats and sugar is that intake of sugar and other carbs can lead to feline diabetes over time.
So why does my cat seem to be interested in sugary human foods? Your cat probably isn’t interested in the sweetness of human foods as they can’t taste it. They are more likely to be interested in foods that happen to have a high-fat content but also contain sugar. It is the fat they are being attracted to in these instances – the fat is a natural part of their diet.
If your cat is regularly eating fatty, sugary foods like cake, ice creams, biscuits, and the like or eating foods bulked out with carbohydrates they may develop diabetes. The symptoms are not usually very obvious in the early stages when you can really help your cat. Look out for increased urination, thirst weight loss, and an increased appetite.
If your cat does develop diabetes you are looking at regular injections to keep on top of the condition – not good!
Dairy And Cats
The other problem with chocolate ice cream apart from the cocoa and sugar is the lactose content of dairy produce.
Cats are often portrayed enjoying a saucer of milk, and there is even the saying “like the cat that got the cream” that reflects on how happy a cat with cream seems to be.
Cats are certainly attracted to and enjoy dairy products like butter, milk, whipped cream, cheeses, and the like but this seems to be down to the fat content of the dairy. Unfortunately for cats (and some people), dairy produce includes sugars called lactose.
Cats are lactose intolerant – their digestive systems are unable to digest lactose. What happens if you or your cat are lactose intolerant?
Well, probably 20 minutes to an hour after ingesting lactose you or your cat will start to get symptoms of the inability to digest lactose – bloating, nausea, stomach cramps, farting, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Cats can have mild intolerance all the way to severe – your cat might just get some gassy nausea or they may become a diarrhea hosepipe!
Lactose intolerance will not kill your cat but is another reason you should not be giving your cat chocolate ice cream or indeed any ice cream!
Can You Get Ice Cream For Cats?
All the above means there is obviously a gap in the market – cat ice cream that doesn’t cause problems! And guess what, someone has filled it! Yes, you can now get purpose made cat and dog ice cream that your cat can enjoy on a hot day and you don’t have to worry about!
It comes in all sorts of cat-friendly flavors as well – none of your chocolate and mint or strawberry sundae stuff! No, your cat can now enjoy chicken, salmon, and tuna flavored ice creams!
You can even make your own homemade cat ice cream! Check out these enterprising souls for some clever ideas on making your own cat ice cream at home!
If all that seems a little over the top and you just want a spur of the moment cold treat for your cat then just pop out some ice containing a healthy snack that your cats love, and they’ll love it just as much as the idea of ice cream – it just happens to be a whole lot healthier for your pet!
Alternatively, you could just drop some ice cubes in their water and let them lick away – many cats will enjoy licking an ice cube given the chance.
If the weather conditions are warm and your cat seems to be slowing down in the heat consider chilling some wet food for them. Usually, cats like wet food at “body” temperature as they instinctively associate the warmer food with a recent kill – but in a hot climate, your cat might appreciate a chilled chicken gravy dinner!
Chocolate, Cats And Chocolate Ice Cream
By now it should be clear – do not give your cat chocolate ice cream that has been formulated for humans. No matter how hot the day is, how interested your cat is, this stuff can kill your cat in a short period of time. It is all down to the cocoa content!
Even then, be extra careful. The sugar and lactose in ice cream of any flavor can be problematic for your cat – stick to ice cubes or purpose made cat-friendly ice creams!