Everyone loves to eat ice-cream because of its anti-depression and mind soothing properties. Ice-cream exerts a positive effect on the brain as it contains milk, which has L-tryptophan (an amino acid that has relaxing and tranquilizing impact on the nervous system). In addition to that, it also stimulates the production of stress lowering and happiness hormones-thrombosis in the body.

But is it lovable and delicious for your cat too? Do cats love to eat ice-cream just like you? There are many similar questions, which confuse cat owners if they should feed their beloved cats ice-cream or not?

Here, we will clear these confusing things with some logic and reasoning to guide the cat owners.

INTRODUCTION

Cats must be provided with nutritious and balanced diets that will help them to stay healthy and sound. Cat diet must have all necessary ingredients which are required by your cat on a regular basis. Moreover, it is also noteworthy that cats love to have treats on and off.

Are you thinking of feeding your cat ice-cream on a hot day as a treat?  Cats must be provided with nutritious and balanced diets that will help them to stay healthy and sound. Cat diet must have all necessary ingredients which are required by your cat on a regular basis. Moreover, it is also noteworthy that cats love to have treats on and off.

First of all, you must be clear that cats have less number of taste buds as compared to humans. This is why they are not weak, sensing the taste of sugars and other carbohydrates.

According to a research study conducted by Xia Li at *Monell Chemical Senses Center, Philadelphia, revealed that cats show no response to high intensity sweeteners and carbohydrates but exhibit response to other tastes like bitter, sour and salty.  This was concluded that lack of sense of sucrose and other sugars is due to absence in the sweet taste sensing modality (receptors) in cats.

Secondly, research studies have also shown that cats don’t prefer eating cold feedstuff. If you offer your cat a feed coming straight from the refrigerator, they won’t like it. The major reason is, their ancestors used to prey on animals and eat them immediately. This is why; the preferred food temperature for cats is 86 ‘F which is the temperature of a cat’s tongue.

Now, let’s go into some depth and see how feeding ice cream to your pretty cat puts her in trouble

CAN YOU FEED YOUR CAT ICE CREAM?

According to the Washington post investigation, many pet experts suggest that you can give a small amount of ice cream to your cats occasionally.  But it is highly recommended to check out the ingredient profile of that specific ice cream. This helps you to see whether it contains any ingredient that is allergic to your cat.

Plus, if it contains a great amount of calories and fat, then be cautious, as it can put your cat on the journey of obesity and diabetes that you really don’t like.

WHAT HEALTH CONDITIONS ICE CREAM CAN CAUSE IN CAT?

Ice cream, frozen dessert and other dairy products can lead to following health complications in your beloved furry friend.

LACTOSE INTOLERANCE

Ice creams are made up of milk that contain lactose which is a disaccharide and simply called ‘milk sugar’. In our body, this sugar is broken up into simple and easily digestible sugars by the action of lactase enzyme. But in adult cats, this specific lactose digesting enzyme is not found in sufficient quantity. So, cats can’t digest this sugar properly, subsequently leading to poor sugar absorption into the bloodstream through the intestine.

Due to bad splitting of lactose into its simple monomers, it accumulates in the intestine and ferments there. This fermentation gives rise to gastrointestinal problems or simply ‘stomach upset in cats.

NOTE: Although, kittens have a significant amount of lactase enzyme as compared to adult cats, and that is why they can better digest lactose. But as they grow up, mostly they start showing lactose intolerance.

According to some scientific literature, lactose intolerance is an inherited genetic process that manifests itself as a kitten’s diet becomes less reliant on milk. It might be another one of nature’s little tricks. As a kitten begins to grow,  its dietary requirement changes. Lactose intolerance might be a way of encouraging kittens to reject mother’s milk in favor of some solid foods.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS:

Severity of lactose intolerance varies from cat to cat. Generally, it includes vomiting, nausea, anorexia, bloat, dehydration, polydipsia (increased thirst), increased heart rate and the most common sign is diarrhea.

TREATMENT

There is no specific treatment for this, but your veterinarian can suggest you fluid therapy and some other medications depending upon the condition of your cat. You should opt for some preventive measures, as don’t feed ice cream and other dairy products, if you find such signs and symptoms in your cat. Ensure sufficient supply of pure and fresh drinking water at multiple intervals in  day. Stay in touch with your pet expert, if the situation gets worse.

OBESITY

Another health complication that can happen in your cat is obesity. Ice cream contains greater amounts of sugars and fats (high in calories). Obesity is a very undesirable health complication in cats that predispose to other diseases such as diabetes.

This is necessary to monitor the ingredients of ice cream and other products before feeding it to cats. But preferably cats don’t much like sugars/sweeteners unlike you.

BRAIN FREEZE

As it is clear now, cats don’t like cold feedstuff. Their internal body temperature is greater than humans, so they quickly get cold when exposed to low temperature. Brain freeze is also termed as ‘ice cream headache ‘and this sensation is called sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia,”This is not a deadly condition for cats but is painful  for them.

Brain freeze is simply an intense pain in the forehead and other parts of the skull that

occurs when cats eat ice cream or get exposed to cold temperatures. It causes the shrinkage in the diameter of the brain artery which supplies blood to the cat’s brain. It is sad to see that many cat owners give their cats’ brain freeze for no reason. This comes under the umbrella of animal cruelty to give your cat this pain purposelessly.

A viral video captured the exact moment one hungry cat hilariously got brain freeze after eating a scoop of ice cream. While visiting his cousin’s home in Louth, Lincolnshire, Jerome Billingham, 27, recorded the amusing moment Bruno the nine-year-old cat got a brain freeze.

NOTE: Kittens are more prone to cold than adult cats. Kittens are unable to maintain their body temperature by creating their own body heat, so, they easily freeze to death when exposed to low temperature.

CAN YOU FEED KITTENS ICE CREAM?

According to American society for prevention of cruelty in animals (ASCPA) kittens also experience lactose intolerance. If you feed them ice cream, they will not be able to properly digest that. If you feed your cute kitten some ice cream, she will likely end up with some tummy issues or ugly bout of diarrhea.

WHY CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM IS BAD FOR CATS?

As a matter of fact, chocolate and cocoa contain a substance called ‘theobromine and caffeine collectively called ‘methylxanthines that are not metabolized by the cats just like humans. Due to its poor metabolism and absorption in the cat’s body, it starts accumulating out there leading to worse symptoms and eventually liver failure. So, it is not recommended to feed your cats chocolate ice cream. Owners must be well aware of this and keep them away from their cats.

SYMPTOMS OF THEOBROMINE TOXICITY IN CATS:

This must be noticed that the lethal dose of theobromine in cats is 200mg/kg body weight. Various types of chocolates contain different levels of theobromine. Small amounts of dark milk, semi sweet chocolates can lead to troublesome outcomes in cat putting her life into danger.

According to ASPCA, common signs and symptoms of theobromine toxicity in cats include hyperactivity, vomiting, increased thirst, seizures, rapid breathing, tremors, diarrhea, muscle rigidity and restlessness. You should contact your veterinarian and get his consultancy on emergency grounds, if you report such worst symptoms.

WHAT ARE OTHER ICE CREAM INGREDIENTS THAT CAN BE HARMFUL FOR CATS?

In addition to all this, ice cream may contain other ingredients such as grapes, raisins, coconut oil, vegetable oils(frozen desserts), xylitol, other alcohols, tree nuts having large amounts of oils and fats and much more. These ingredients can also cause a wide range of symptoms in your cats. Majorly cause dizziness, incoordination and gastrointestinal problems.

RECIPE OF HOMEMADE ICE CREAM

In a small bowl, add 2/3 cups hot water and vigorously mix until thoroughly blended. Pour ice cream mixture back into cup, replace lid and put in freezer and make custard like consistency not highly frosted. Allow to thaw for 15 minutes before serving.

PRECAUTION: It is highly recommended to check the ingredients of ice cream mixture before using it to avoid any kind of complications afterwards.

SUMMARY

Cats are mostly lactose tolerant and hate cold things to eat. Ice cream is not usually considered good for a cat’s health. This also doesn’t give much nutrients to your cats( no nutritional benefits) It can give rise to a variety of health complications ranging from mild to severe ones in cats. Although, it can be occasionally given in a very small amount but again after getting a thorough knowledge of your cat’s health status, temperament and ingredient profile of ice cream.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

can cats sense the sweet taste?

Big no,  for this. As the research conducted by   Xia Li at *Monell Chemical Senses Center, Philadelphia, explained that cats lack sweet taste receptors and neither ignore it nor get attracted to sugars and carbohydrates. Although, cats give good responses to other tastes such as salty, bitter, sour etc.

Do cats love ice cream?

Cats don’t prefer eating cold things, they love to eat fresh foodstuff at room temperature but with few exceptions, cats may like ice cream but not due to its sweetness but for fat contents. It is not advisable to feed cats ice creams as it may cause obesity and diabetes in them.

Should I give cats ice cream?

Preferably, it is not recommended to feed ice cream to your cats, but very little amount after complete monitoring of ingredients can be offered very often. (Special care needed).

What health problems feeding ice cream can cause in cats?

Ice cream contains lactose and other bad ingredients which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and worst stomach aches in cats.  These gastrointestinal complications may put your cat’s life in danger. All along with that, high fat and oils contents in ice creams can cause obesity and diabetes in cats.

Can cats digest lactose?

By genetic and evolutionary default, mostly cats are lactose intolerant. Lactose is a milk sugar that is digested in the body with the help of an enzyme called lactase. Adult cats usually don’t contain lactase enzyme in sufficient amounts to split up the lactose. So, due to over accumulation and poor absorption of lactose, it starts getting fermented in the intestine leading to stomach upset in cats.

Why should chocolate ice cream be not offered to cats?

Chocolate ice cream even in small amounts can be proven harmful for your cat. Chocolate contains methylxanthines such as theobromine, caffeine, and other alkaloids which can pose high risk of dangers in your cat because of their poor absorption in the cat’s body. This can lead to life threatening toxicity in cats. Strawberry and  vanilla ice cream preferably homemade can be given in small amount with precautions

Can dairy free ice cream be given to cats?

Remember, dairy free ice cream can also contain deleterious ingredients such as alcohols, resains, and other salts which can also be harmful for your cats. Your cat may experience mild to severe symptoms.

Is it fine to give kittens ice cream?

Although kittens have a greater amount of lactose digesting enzymes in their bodies,ASPCA doesn’t recommend giving kittens ice cream as it can also predispose lactose intolerance in them which finally can cause tummy discomfort in them.

Can ice cream cause brain freeze in cats?

Yes, offering your cat ice cream can cause brain freeze in them. This is basically a very devastating painful situation. This doesn’t kill cats but feels so obnoxious to them.

REFERENCES:

Beauchamp GK, Maller O, Rogers JG. Flavor preferences in cats (Felis catus and Panthera sp.) J Comp Physiol Psychol. 1977;91:1118–27.

Bartoshuk LM, Jacobs HL, Nichols TL, Hoff LA, Ryckman JJ. Taste rejection of nonnutritive sweeteners in cats. J Comp Physiol Psychol. 1975;89:971–5

Brown, C. M., Armstrong, P. J. and Globus, H. 1995. Nutritional Management of Food Allergy in Dogs ands. Compendium on Continuing Education for the Practicing Veterinaria, 17: 637–658.

https://wagwalking.com/cat/condition/lactose-intolerance

https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cat-health-human-food-not-safe-ask-a-vet

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