You might feel like rewarding your cat for being so good to you by giving it some tasty treats. However, excess sugar is bad for everyone’s health, including cats. It’s natural to wonder if sugar alternatives like stevia are safe for feline consumption.
In a nutshell, yes, stevia is safe for feline consumption. Small amounts of stevia are fine for them to consume, but too much can have adverse effects.diarrhea and stomach pain.
Find out if stevia is safe for cats and if you should add it to your cat’s diet.
Is Stevia Safe for Cats to Eat?
According to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), stevia is safe for feline consumption. When given the proper dosage, stevia is safe for cats to consume.
This sweetener is safe for diabetic cats because it has no effect on glucose responses and a very low carbohydrate content.
However, alcoholic sugars can be present in some stevia brands or blends. High alcohol sugar consumption has been linked to gastrointestinal distress.
If you want to make sure your cat doesn’t consume any alcoholic sugars, read the labels on any stevia products you buy.
Other Sweeteners That Are Safe for Cats
Most artificial sweeteners and sugar alternatives are safe for cats, so you don’t have to worry about them poisoning your pet. Monk fruit, erythritol, and xylitol are three common sweeteners that are safe for cats to consume.
Although erythritol is a type of alcoholic sugar, it does not have the same negative effects because it is rarely absorbed by the large intestine.
Additionally, many people think that xylitol is bad for cats. This assumption is based on the fact that it is toxic to dogs, but it is not true. The safety of xylitol for cats was established in a 2018 study.
Sweeteners To Avoid
While cats can safely consume some sweeteners, doing so in large quantities can cause stomach distress. Cats will get sick if they eat too much of the following sweeteners:
- Splenda or Sucralose
- Saccharin and Sweet’N Low
What Is Stevia?
The stevia rebaudiana plant is the source of stevia. It is 100-300 times sweeter than table sugar and has almost no calories, making it a popular sugar substitute.
Antioxidants in stevia, especially kaempferol, have been shown to lower the likelihood of developing pancreatic cancer. It’s also possible that it helps reduce blood pressure.
Do Cats Like Stevia?
After dinner, you could treat your cat with some dessert. But the truth is, your cat probably won’t value your thoughtfulness as much as you do.
Cats’ tongues lack the necessary taste receptors for detecting sweetness, so they are unable to enjoy sweet foods.
Cats presumably lack sweet taste receptors because the species has no evolutionary need for it.
The sweet taste alerts the brain that the food in question is high in carbohydrates.
Carbohydrate-dependent omnivores and herbivores rely on this signal, which prompts them to continue eating carbohydrate-containing food.
Cats, however, don’t require as many carbohydrates because they are obligate carnivores. In fact, they are poorly absorbed by the digestive system.
Why Cats Shouldn’t Eat Stevia
Stevia is not toxic to cats, as verified by the ASPCA’s Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants List. If your cat accidentally consumes a small amount of Stevia, you need not worry about poisoning.
However, some cats have delicate digestive systems, and it’s possible that a sudden shift in their diet would make them sick.
If a cat eats too much stevia at once, especially if it’s a new food, they may become ill and have an upset stomach.
Sweetening a cat’s food with Stevia is unnecessary. Since it is non-toxic and has no calories, it may seem like a harmless addition.
However, since cats can’t taste sweetness, adding even a touch to their food will be wasted on them. Sweet taste receptors are absent from their tongues. Do felines have a sweet tooth? Frenzied Felines
What To Do If Your Cat Eats Stevia
If your cat consumes Stevia, you need not worry about poisoning, but you should still watch for signs of gastrointestinal upset.
Both vomiting and diarrhea are symptoms of an upset stomach. Nausea is also possible in cats, and it is usually easy to tell if your cat is acting agitated and licking its lips excessively.
If your cat is experiencing stomach trouble, give it plenty of clean water to drink. For a period of 12 hours, don’t feed them or give them treats.
Get in touch with your vet if your cat throws up more than twice in a 24-hour period. If your symptoms persist for more than 24 hours, you should also make an appointment with your veterinarian.
Healthy Stevia Alternatives
While cats don’t require anything fancier than wholesome fare, you can spice up your cat’s diet with the addition of healthy herbs. Some herbs that are fine to give your cat are:
- Cat Thyme
- Yarrow Root
- Genus: Glycyrrhiza
Anxiety, insomnia, and joint pain are just some of the conditions that may benefit from the use of the herbs on this list. You can try them, but not all cats will benefit from them or even like eating them.
Be cautious when feeding your cat new foods by starting with a small amount and monitoring for any negative reactions. The best way to prevent a stomachache from trying a new food is to ease into it.
Before introducing a new type of food to your cat, it is important to check with your vet, especially if your cat has a special diet, a chronic condition, or is taking medication.
Herbal remedies in particular have the potential to counteract the beneficial effects of certain medications or even make existing conditions worse. Therefore, it is crucial to ask your vet before feeding your cat any new foods.
Cat’s Nutritional Needs
It’s crucial to remember that cats’ diets differ drastically from human diets when providing for their needs. Cats, in contrast to humans, must eat meat in order to survive. They are obligate carnivores, so they require a high-protein, low-carb diet.
Taurine, an essential nutrient for cats, is found only in animal protein and cannot be obtained from a plant-based diet.
Adult cats need a diet with at least 26% protein, as recommended by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). For optimal development and growth, kittens require diets consisting of at least 30%.
Cats use fat as an energy source, so they too require a diet with some fat.
In addition to helping with immunity and digestion, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are essential for a dog’s skin and coat. According to the AAFCO, a cat’s diet should have at least 9% fat.
Cats do not place as much importance on carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are harder for cats to digest, and they don’t provide much energy anyway; protein and fat are what they rely on for fuel.
This does not imply that cats should only be fed meat and no other foods.
Healthy grains, fruits, and vegetables are still available to them. Make sure your cat isn’t eating too many carbohydrates.
A Cat’s Natural Diet
A cat’s diet contains very few carbohydrates. Cats need a diet high in protein, healthy fats, and particular vitamins and minerals to stay in good health.
Select a cat food with a protein content of 30%-40% for optimal health. Your cat should not be fed anything with less than 26% protein.
Cats can’t switch to a vegetarian diet because they require amino acids only found in animal protein.
Taurine, an essential amino acid, is not something that cats can make on their own. Chicken, turkey, beef, and tuna are all good sources of taurine and should be included in their diet.
Some brands of cat food use synthetic taurine in their formulations. These forms of taurine aren’t as readily absorbed by your cat’s digestive system as the natural taurine found in meat protein.
Taurine deficiency can lead to serious illness in cats, including dilated cardiomyopathy and feline central retinal degeneration. If untreated, FCRD causes permanent blindness, and DCM causes fatal heart failure.
The fat on a cat’s body is vital to its health in many ways. It is essential for energy production and nutrient transport across cell membranes. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are all fat-soluble nutrients that are better absorbed with its aid.
Fat also has essential fatty acids, which are crucial to the body. Particularly important for cats are the omega-6 fatty acids.
A cat’s diet should have between 20 and 24 percent fat. The following are examples of the types of nutritious oils commonly found in commercial cat food:
- Krill oil
- Fish oil
- The Coconut Oil
- Cooking with sunflower oil
- Coconut oil
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and minerals are important for cats to consume on a regular basis to maintain optimal health.
You won’t need to buy separate supplements if you feed your cat high-quality food, as it will already contain the necessary amounts of these nutrients.
You may need to give your cat dietary supplements if it has special dietary requirements, such as food sensitivities or weight management.
Keep your vet in the loop regarding your cat’s special diet so that you can both keep an eye on their health and make adjustments as necessary.
Stevia, as well as the vast majority of other sweeteners, is perfectly safe for cats to consume. But since they have no taste for sweetness, they won’t enjoy them.
There is still a lot of work to be done before we can know for sure whether or not sweeteners are good for cats’ health.
There are plenty of other healthy and tasty treats you can give your cat in the meantime.
Why not treat your feline friends to something they’ll enjoy tasting? Even though it’s not dessert, your sweet cats will still appreciate the savory snack you made for them out of love.