And now you’re wondering, “can cats have chocolate ice cream?” because you’ve developed the bad habit of giving your cat a lick from your bowl right after you’re done.
There is good news and bad news, unfortunately….
Cats shouldn’t consume any sweets, especially chocolate and ice cream. The news is not good.
The good news is that they don’t have to worry about their health if they consume a small amount.
No need to freak out if your cat has developed the habit of licking your bowl, whether you like it or not.
Similarly, if you found your cat eating chocolate ice cream out of your bowl but were worried it was “poisoned,” you need not worry.
I can go into a bit more depth if necessary…
Can Cats Have Chocolate Ice Cream?
No, chocolate ice cream is not appropriate for cats. Sugar isn’t great for cats and some flavors are toxic to them. Cats shouldn’t consume chocolate because of the caffeine and theobromine in it. Ice cream is not a good treat for cats because most felines have lactose intolerance.
Adult Cats And Lactose Intolerance
Similar to many humans, adult cats develop an upset stomach after consuming milk because of lactose intolerance. Milk (or ice cream) isn’t likely to make your cat sick, but it could cause some odd behavior or a lack of energy.
You may also find an unpleasant discovery in the litterbox some time later. Dairy products, including ice cream, can make your cat sick. This is just one of many common feline health problems that cat owners must deal with.
Some cats have a more severe reaction, but most will feel better after a couple of hours and a trip to the bathroom. They may suffer from frequent bouts of diarrhoea and miss trips to the litter box as a result.
You should contact your vet if you notice that your cat is acting very strangely after eating ice cream.
Ice Cream Flavors
Finally, some encouraging information! There are even cat treats flavored with vanilla, as it is completely safe for felines. However, it’s likely that other ice cream flavors aren’t risk-free.
Because of the dangers of chocolate to felines, you shouldn’t feed your cat any chocolate ice cream. While most felines won’t be tempted by a bar of chocolate, a bowl of ice cream is another story entirely. Your cat can get a lethal dose of chocolate just by licking the bowl.
The caffeine and theobromine in chocolate are particularly harmful. Humans and animals have different theobromine absorption rates. It’s toxic for cats because they take their time absorbing it. Cats are unable to metabolize it properly, and high doses can be harmful to their health.
If your cat eats chocolate, you might find it has an increased heart rate, causes vomiting, and makes a lot of noise. Dehydration, vomiting, fever, difficulty breathing, and even a seizure could be present.
The ingredients and toxicity of chocolate are broken down in this study.
Also, stay away from anything with a fruity or caramel taste. Keep your ice cream away from your cat for many reasons, even if the flavor itself isn’t toxic. For your own consumption, of course!
Sugar and Artificial Sweeteners
Sugar is also not great for feline health. In fact, cats have no sense of taste and are ill-equipped to digest foods high in sugar.
Cats can only survive by eating meat. That means a substantial portion of their diet must come from meat.
Meats, grains, and sometimes fruits and vegetables are found in nearly all commercial cat food. However, they aren’t sugared. A cat’s digestive system can’t handle a lot of sugar, and that can have serious consequences for its health.
Like humans, cats that are overweight or already have diabetes are more susceptible to the negative effects of sugar. Your cat may not be able to detect the sugar’s sweetness, but that doesn’t change the fact that it contains empty calories.
Cats are especially vulnerable to sugar’s negative effects because they don’t have the same caloric needs as humans.
Cats Can’t Digest Artificial Sweeteners
The use of artificial sweeteners is a different matter. While your feline friend may be able to process sugar, they probably won’t be able to handle artificial sweeteners. Many artificial sweeteners are also potentially poisonous to cats, especially if they consume more than a couple licks.
Call your vet right away if you think your cat has consumed any artificially sweetened ice cream. Please contact your local animal hospital if your regular vet is closed. You should also bring the box with you to the vet, as different types of artificial sweeteners require different treatments.
You should also be aware that manufacturers are increasingly using a mix of natural sugars and artificial sweeteners in the production of ice cream and other sweets. You should probably check the sugar’s ingredient list if your cat got into the ice cream.
Feeding your cat a bland diet after a trip to the vet will ease their transition back into normalcy. Get them away from the sweets for a while, and don’t let them near the chocolate ice cream ever again!
Cats Can Get Brain Freeze
Numerous online videos feature felines obviously suffering from brain freeze after consuming cold foods, most frequently ice cream. Though endearing, you should not attempt to imitate the videos.
Try to recall the last time you experienced a mental freeze. I’m guessing you didn’t feel very cozy. A brain freeze is similar for cats. It causes the brain’s blood vessels to constrict, resulting in the excruciating pain that almost everyone can recall feeling as a child.
In reality, no amount of endearment can justify subjecting your feline friend to needless suffering.
That’s especially the case because we have no reliable means of gauging the degree of discomfort caused by a brain freeze in your cat. They may feel the same discomfort, or they may have an even stronger emotion that they are unable to articulate.
Cat-Friendly Alternatives to Ice Cream:
There are many alternatives to ice cream that will still provide your cat with a treat and some extra exercise.
Cat-Specific Ice Cream
Ice cream and other frozen treats for cats are becoming more widely available after having previously been a niche product. Some are created to look like vanilla ice cream and even have a mild vanilla flavor while still providing all the necessary nutrients for your cat. Some of them smell and taste like fish or chicken, which cats love.
You should probably not get ice cream look-alikes for your cat if you aren’t good about putting away your dirty ice cream bowls, but it can be a good way to make your cat feel included in family summer treats.
You can keep your cat interested in eating by offering a wide range of flavors. However, you need to know that you will face occasional rejection. Your feline friend may not always be enticed by the newest treats because cats can be picky eaters.
Always give your cat a small amount, and don’t worry if the treat isn’t completely frozen. You wouldn’t want to freeze their brains, after all.
Feed Your Cat Ice Cubes
Many cats find even unflavored ice cubes to be utterly enthralling. The temperature contrast provides them with something to focus on or even use as a toy. In addition, licking an ice cube can be a great way to stay hydrated.
If you want to spoil your cat regularly, this is one treat you can give them every day.
Put some ice cubes in the bowl your cat usually drinks from. Instead, you could use a plastic glass or a small pan as a mold to create larger ice cubes if that sounds boring to you. Even if you put the ice in a plate or a baking pan to contain the mess, your cat may find a way to get at it.
Frozen or Chilled Wet Food
Using your cat’s regular wet food is another way to provide mental stimulation. Even if their food is drenched in moisture, you can still freeze it. Wet foods that can be mashed into a paste by adding a little water can be frozen in a mold.
Even if your cat enjoys milk, you shouldn’t dilute their food by adding it. Milk isn’t good for cats because they’re lactose intolerant, which we’ve already discussed.
Cat milk (lactose-free or with added lactase enzyme) or low-fat, low-sugar milk such as goats’ milk can be found at pet specialty stores. Your cat should only drink a small amount of that milk occasionally.
Other Options For Your Cat
Other options besides ice cream are:
- Bone broth, frozen and unsalted
- Kibble or cat treats frozen in ice cubes
- Nip-infused ice cubes for cats
Remember that the treats you give your cat should be treats, even if they have other names. These items shouldn’t make up a significant portion of your cat’s diet because they can’t replace high-quality cat food.
Have some ice cream, but don’t forget about the cats.
Why Cats Shouldn’t Eat Chocolate
Some of the components of chocolate could be harmful to felines. Theobromine, theophylline, and caffeine all contribute to these issues.
Cats should not consume theobromine. That’s why people say chocolate is bad for them. It’s best if they just avoid chocolate altogether because the other ingredients can make them sick, too.
In any case, most cats won’t voluntarily consume chocolate. None of mine have ever tried to eat chocolate on their own volition, but they do have survival instincts.
But chocolate ice cream is an entirely different beast. Since it contains milk, ice cream is irresistible to most cats and will likely be consumed if found.
Why Cats Shouldn’t Eat Chocolate Ice Cream
For the same reasons they shouldn’t eat chocolate, they also shouldn’t eat chocolate ice cream.
However, choccy ice cream has a lot less actual chocolate in it. So much so that I’ve always let my cats have a lick or two here and there without any ill effects.
For the sake of caution, we should probably keep cats away from chocolate ice cream. However, as I mentioned before, if they do eat some, you shouldn’t worry.
Why Do Cats Like Ice Cream?
Cats aren’t drawn to ice cream for the same reasons that humans are, like the sugar or the sweet taste. In fact, they are missing two of the proteins that are necessary for recognizing sugary flavors.
They prefer the ice cream made with whole, fatty milk. Ice cream is a special treat for cats because of its high fat content, as well as the milk and cream it contains.