Can Cats Eat Ice Cream?
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You might have recently seen some videos circulating the internet of cats eating ice cream and experiencing "brain freeze". Before running to try this too, you should ask yourself if it is a good idea to give your cat ice cream, or whether it might affect their health negatively. When feeding a cat human food we need to, as their caregivers, understand that some of this food is not good and can be toxic to our cats.
Although ice cream is irresistible to humans, ice cream is in fact harmful to cats. Keep reading this AnimalWised article to discover if cats can eat ice cream, or by extension, why they shouldn't.
Can I let my cat eat ice cream?
Eating a delicious ice cream and experiencing "brain freeze" is not the most pleasant experience. When watching these videos of cats eating ice cream and physically freezing in shock, they are experiencing the same brain freeze that we as humans do. But what exactly is "brain freeze"? we’ll explain:
By ingesting cold foods at a high speed, the body is "taken by surprise", therefore arteries dilate at a quicker speed and affect the trigeminal nerve. The trigeminal nerve, also called the fifth cranial nerve is, among other functions, responsible for carrying stimuli information to the brain. This stimuli information is received by the buccal and mandibular levels. Discomfort starts in the mouth, moves to the throat and all of its surrounding nerves. This is what causes the "frozen brain" sensation , which in medicinal terms is referred to as sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia. Therefore, as well as issues with the sugar content, it is not recommended to give ice cream to cats.
Not only does Sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia cause a general confusion of the senses, but it can also result in acute pain or migraines in our animals. In conclusion, a very unpleasant situation.
Cats hate the cold
Anyone with a cat at home knows how much they enjoy spreading out in the sun, gathering and taking as much heat they possibly can. In autumn and winter, during the sun's absence, cats cuddle in warmer places: near stoves, appliances, or just among fluffy and warm blankets that they are able to find. The reason for this is because cats hate the cold and find it incredibly unpleasant.
A cat's body temperature is a little higher than a humans (between 38 and 39 degrees Celsius), therefore they feel the cold more easily than we do. So even if eating ice cream is something delicious for a human, cats will most likely disagree.
Can cats eat sugar?
A cat's taste buds do not detect sweet and sugary flavors. If you think that when you give your cat ice cream, they will find it rich and tasty, then that's not quite true. Reasons as to why cats do not have any capability of tasting sweetness are not very clear. It is believed that perhaps it is a natural safety mechanism, since sweets play havoc in a feline’s organism.
What happens when you give a cat something sweet? Well, it will suffer from: cramps, gas and an upset stomach. Ice cream can even cause diarrhea in cats, therefore both sweets and ice cream are forbidden for cats.
Are cats lactose intolerant?
Cartoons have been responsible for introducing us to the idea that cats are milk lovers. There are innumerable scenes of kittens stealing bottles of milk or waiting anxiously to have their plates filled with this creamy liquid. However, the truth is that the milk which humans consume, which mostly comes from cows, contains far too much fat for a feline’s stomach to handle. Therefore when they drink it, cats experience indigestion and suffer from diarrhea and gas. If this discomfort is prolonged, a cat can become dehydrated, which is incredibly dangerous for its health. Of course, this situation does not happen in all felines. Some cats have consumed milk since they were small and have continued to do so during adulthood and they will unlikely develop an intolerance to lactose.
Milk and dairy products are part of the main ingredients with which ice cream is made, so this is another reason not to give your cat ice cream, especially if it has shown signs of intolerance.
Can cats eat chocolate?
No! Chocolate is toxic to cats.
Chocolate contains theobromine, a compound found in cocoa peel that stimulates the nervous system in a similar way to caffeine. A cat’s body is unable to process this substance, so if you let it consume it often, theobromine will slowly build up the cat’s body. The discomfort that comes with this build up includes stomach problems such as diarrhea and cramps, as well as vomiting and polydipsia. Prolonged and excessive consumption of chocolate by cats can result in the death of the animal. Of course, if your cat accidentally consumes small amounts of chocolate, they shouldn't show signs of intoxication. The problem lies when the amount ingested is very large or, as we mentioned before, is consumed frequently.
Can cats eat natural ice cream?
If the ice cream is homemade and has been made with: natural fruit, lactose-free milk and no sugar, it is possible that a cat can eat it.
However, in order to prevent sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia from occurring, it is essential to remove the ice cream from the freezer in advance, before offering it to your animal. Likewise, this should only be given as a treat on hot days, as a way to possibly combat dehydration, for example.
If you want to read similar articles to Can Cats Eat Ice Cream?, we recommend you visit our Homemade diets category.