Ice cream is a popular snack and dessert that comes in a number of flavors including vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, Cookies N’ Cream, Mint Chocolate Chip, Cookie Dough, among many others.
Its common ingredients found include dairy products (milk or cream), cashew nut, soy or almond milk, stabilizers, colorings, flavorings, sweeteners especially sugar, spices such as cocoa, and so on.
Is ice cream bad for cats?
Firstly, this is not a typical kind of food meant for true carnivores such as kitties or even ferrets.
Secondly whether ice cream bad or safe for cats depends on the various ingredients the specific brand you have has. Some may have harmful ingredients such as chocolate and cocoa. These two have theobromine which is poisonous to cats.
While it has some nutrients including carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals inherited from the various ingredients used in its preparation including dairy products. Can these pets utilize these ingredients? Not. They cannot utilize them well.
As obligate carnivores, felines depend on animal protein sources such as rodents and small mammals while in the wild. Such food sources are high in proteins, moderate in fats and low in carbohydrates. Similarly, their ideal foods must mimic these foods.
On the other hand, ice cream is high in carbohydrates and calories. Besides being unable to handle the high carbs, there is a chance of weight gain and obesity in cats if they eat highly calorific foods whose calories are not from proteins or fats. Remember that the main source of energy in these pets is through the metabolism of proteins and fats and not carbohydrates.
However, if your cats like it, let them have a few licks, not more than a teaspoon occasionally. Such a small amount will not cause much harm.
While talking to the Washington Post, Eric Doughtery, veterinarian and medical director for The Cat Practice in New York affirms that “there’s nothing wrong with feeding cats ice cream or yogurt. He cautioned that cats can have lactose intolerance, which can result in gastrointestinal problems and diarrhea.”
Some kitties may experience stomach upsets and diarrhea while others may not. Therefore, if you notice any stomach upsets or diarrhea, stop giving this snack to your kitties even if they like it so much. They may be lactose intolerant.
What about vanilla, strawberry or chocolate ice cream?
Can cats eat vanilla, strawberry, mint or coconut ice cream? Yes, but only a small amount. Typically, a few licks given as a rare treat is ok. We have noted the various reasons including having milk, being calorific and not the natural kind of foods that these pets eat.
However, avoid mint chocolate chip brand since it has chocolate which as stated is poisonous to these pets.
Can kittens eat ice cream?
Young kittens have lactase that helps in digesting lactose in dairy products. However, up and until they are two months, they should depend on their mother’s milk or kitten replacer milk
Only give them a small amount as you do to adults once they are above two months. Ensure the specific brand does not have any harmful ingredients.
However, try as much as possible to avoid it. Instead, give them healthy treats meant for them that will help boost growth and development.
Will it cause brain freeze?
Like in humans, giving your feline very cold drinks or foods may cause brain freeze characterized by extreme but short-lived pain inside the head. There are many videos online showing this phenomenon and it often occurs with odd vocalization and other signs of pain.
The brain freezing in kitties happens in a similar manner as it does in human beings but there are not many studies concerning the issues in these pets. This assumption is only because these pets have similar pathways as humans.
However, this should not make you be giving your kitty cold foods that are unhealthy unless you do it once in a while.
Before giving ice cream to your cat, it is better to consider if it has anything beneficial to these strict carnivores.
While it is tempting to have your kitties eat frost paws to see them brain freeze, go for cat claws instead as the latter is for cats.
Finally, note that brain freeing will not hurt your cat. However, while trying to experience it, do not give your feline too much of any frozen unhealthy food.
We see no reason for insisting on giving ice cream to your cats. Give them only a small amount if they insist and it should not have chocolate or cocoa. Similarly, fully weaned kittens should eat a small amount of just like adults.
Finally, avoid if not safe and minimize the various snacks that you like including popcorn, cookies, fruit gushers, crisps, chocolates, Rice Krispies Treats, among others.