Natural honey goes well in both hot and cold drinks, and it can be used in a wide variety of recipes.
It’s delicious, all-natural, and surprisingly nutritious. One of nature’s most delectable sweets, honey is useful for treating allergies, soothing sore throats, and improving cardiovascular health. But can we be sure that our feline friends benefit just as much from it as we do?
Is honey safe for cats to eat? Is it okay for them to get into those jars, or should you keep them locked up?
Some people question whether it’s a good idea to feed honey to a cat, which is to be expected. After all, if it’s good for people’s health, why would cats be adversely affected by it?
Can cats eat honey?
First, let’s cover the fundamentals.
Honey, whether liquid or crystallized, is safe for consumption by cats of all breeds. If they see their owners eating something sweet, they will likely try it themselves.
Can I feed honey to my cat? This is an entirely different issue.
There are many ways in which the feline and human bodies are fundamentally different. Meat-based proteins are ideal for cats.
While they do need fiber, much less is required than in the case of humans. They also require the protein, iron, zinc, and other nutrients found in real meat.
Their digestive systems aren’t designed to handle simple sugars like lactose, fructose, and glucose. Unfortunately, honey contains a lot of the latter two, despite the fact that they aren’t added.
Your cat is unable to metabolize these sugars in the same way that humans can. In other words, it’s a terrible idea to feed your pet sugary foods like candy, chocolate, or other sweet treats. The same holds true for all honey preparations.
Honey doesn’t have the essential nutrients a cat needs on a daily basis. That is to say, it contains zero proteins, zero fiber, and zero vitamins. Only empty calories and sugars are provided for your pet.
Can Kittens Eat Honey?
Kittens that show an interest in honey can have a very small amount of it on occasion, as noted by Dr. Swiniarski.
“Kittens grow incredibly fast and require good nutrition to support that growth,” she continues. You can’t get those nutrients from honey.
What About Raw Honey?
Neither cats nor kittens should consume raw honey. Dr. Swiniarski warns that raw honey may contain harmful yeasts or bacteria because it is not pasteurized. Unpasteurized honey can cause illness in cats, just as it does in humans.
While it’s safe for cats to eat Manuka honey, the real benefits come from using it in other ways.
Dr. Swiniarski says that “Manuka honey has fantastic antibacterial properties” that kill and prevent the growth of bacteria.
Manuka honey is commonly used in medicine to aid in the healing of large wounds and even in some orthopedic and bone surgeries, but there is not much evidence to support feeding it to a cat.
Wounds treated with a wound gel containing honey have shown exceptional outcomes, and manuka honey has been used to preserve bone allografts.
Dr. Swiniarski adds that Manuka honey applied topically can alleviate edema in cats.
Is Honey Good for Cats?
Honey has been shown to have beneficial effects on human health. Iron, zinc, and potassium are just some of the essential nutrients it provides, and it also has anti-inflammatory properties. It also helps soothe a sore throat the natural way. Now, let’s talk about cats.
“There hasn’t been much, if any, research into how many nutrients cats are able to absorb from honey,” Dr. Swiniarski says. It’s possible, then, that cats can derive some nutritional value from honey, though the topic hasn’t been thoroughly investigated.
In addition, she says, “Since we don’t know if honey is actually offering health benefits to cats, I wouldn’t recommend that owners put it in their cat’s mouth or in her food or treats if the cat didn’t express interest.”
Benefits Of Honey For Cats
Come back with me now to the benefits of raw, natural honey. Some articles you’ve read might have mentioned the positive effects honey has on feline health.
Well, that’s up for debate, mainly because the potential drawbacks are so large. And they trump any good that may come from your cat eating honey.
But the reality is, honey:
- Efficacious against bacteria and inflammation
- Reduces allergy symptoms marginally
- Contains a wide variety of antioxidants
Honey has many health benefits, but it is not safe to give it to cats because they are carnivores and cannot digest sugars.
Honey is not the best choice if you’re trying to help your cat with its allergies or its sore throat.
Instead, it’s recommended that you consult a vet and act on their recommendations. After all, honey isn’t conducive to your pet’s immune system or dietary needs.
What will happen if my cat eats honey?
I already mentioned that honey doesn’t provide fiber in any of its forms. But that doesn’t mean it can’t mimic the negative effects of eating too much fiber.
Unfortunately, honey can cause stomach aches and other minor health issues in humans as well.
Honey can lead to the following in feline patients:
- Increased insulin production
- Put on Weight
Some cats can’t handle as little as a teaspoon of honey, depending on their immune systems, digestive systems, ages, breeds, and general health.
Avoid giving honey to your cat if it has diabetes, is overweight, or is a young kitten with a weak immune system. This tasty treat could be fatal to them due to the sugar, calories, and bacteria contained within.
Keep a close eye on your cat if it has ingested even a small amount of honey by accident.
Any sign of distress warrants a trip to the vet. Honey can worsen your cat’s condition if it’s already dealing with an undiagnosed health problem.
If your pet is otherwise healthy, a small amount of honey may give it indigestion for a few hours at most.
Honey may have health benefits, but I wouldn’t risk it by giving it to my cat. Pumpkin, blueberries, peas, and broccoli are far superior in terms of their nutritional value, healthiness, and anti-oxidant density.
In addition to being completely harmless to cats, they are also widely preferred by premium cat food producers.
Instead of honey, try these tasty treats and vet-approved supplements. You can put your furbaby’s health at ease knowing that these are far superior to the natural, organic sugars found in raw honey.
When Is Honey Bad for Cats?
Generally speaking, cats are safe to consume honey, but there are exceptions. Honey, as was previously mentioned, is a good source of minerals.
Honey can be harmful to cats with chronic illnesses because it can disrupt their body’s mineral balance, as explained by Dr. Swiniarski.
Cats with kidney disease, for instance, may have abnormally high levels of phosphorus in their blood. Honey contains phosphorus, and giving that cat any more phosphorus could be harmful.
In addition, diabetic cats shouldn’t eat honey because it can increase their blood sugar levels. Dr. Swiniarski does make an exception, though. When a cat or kitten has passed out from low blood sugar, honey can be used as a quick fix. They’ll get the sugar from just rubbing it on their gums,” she says.
However, before giving any emergency treatment, you should always check with your vet.
Honey and Cats: Helpful Feeding Tips
Honey is generally safe for cats to consume in small amounts, but it shouldn’t be a regular treat.
This sugary goop isn’t the only option for cat treats; there are many others that are healthier options.
But if you’re eating a snack that includes honey, such as yogurt, and Fluffy tries to steal a bite, you shouldn’t worry. There’s no harm in trying it out!