Can Cats Eat Ice Cream? Is It Safe?
Cats have been eating the same foods as humans for centuries with the main difference being the lack of heat treatment in which meat and fish were often consumed raw. Milk was not spared either, sometimes even bread broke in. However, in the 1930s, veterinarians advised their owners to rethink their proven beliefs about animal nutrition and remove milk and carbohydrates from the cat menu in the form of bread. Their main argument is that a cat is a predator whose diet is dominated by meat and water only.
Truthfully, a healthy feline’s diet is never a diverse one and definitely leaves no room for delicacies like ice cream. While they have proved irresistible to humans, ice creams are harmful to felines, so you should do well by saving that yummy icy delight for personal consumption. And before you think of feeding dairy to your kitty, it’s vital to thoroughly read through this guide to further understand if cat’s a good idea to feed your feline friend with ice cream, and how likely is it for your kitty to experience an adverse effect on their health from ice-cream consumption. This article x-rays some facts about kitties and ice cream, is it right or wrong?
Ice Cream and Lactose Intolerance in Cats – The Connection
The general idea that the feline population are milk lovers emanated from the cartoons, especially the ones with countless scenes that depict some cats waiting patiently to have their food bowls filled with milk and some that have shown where cats go to steal bottles of the creamy liquid from the kitchen.
However, it has been established that milk from cows, which is only for humans, comes with excess fat that is too much for a kitty’s stomach to handle. The truth is that once cats consume milk, indigestion sets in and they may begin to suffer from gas as well as diarrhea. If the situation is not promptly halted, dehydrated follows, and this portends danger for the cat’s health. But of course, it is not all felines that suffer from lactose intolerance, there are kitties that have been sucking up milk right from birth, even into adulthood, yet they are not susceptible to lactose intolerance.
Dairy products are the major constituent of the delicious ice cream we all love, and this makes it a good reason for you to avoid introducing it to your furry friend, especially the ones that have experienced lactose intolerance in the past. Additionally, the consumption of other ingredients such as chocolate is far from good for the feline population; in fact, it is toxic. Chocolates come with theobromine, which is a compound usually seen in cocoa peel – this functions to stimulate the nervous system in the same way as caffeine. Theobromine will gradually build up in a cat’s body as it cannot process the substance, resulting in abdominal problems such as cramps, diarrhea, polydipsia, and vomiting. Any cat that consumes chocolate in excess for a long time may likely die from the effect, but accidental consumption of small amounts may not result in intoxication.
Is Ice Cream Related Brain Freeze Bad for Cats?
Recently, several videos with kitties consuming ice cream have gone viral online. Although the mental picture of a cat licking up a cup of delicious ice cream might strike you as rather fanciful and cute, the reverse is the case with the reality. Many cat owners are unaware of the fact that cats are highly prone to experiencing brain freeze. Within the videos, you can even notice that many of the cats appeared rather shocked, which is the same reaction we humans also have not only when consuming ice cream, but also when we gulp down some Slurpee or cold drinks. The difference is that the human body can handle such a shock and ice cream was produced mostly for human consumption and has proved to be potentially toxic to the feline population.
Consuming loads of ice cream and going through brain freeze is never a pleasant experience. In an interview with Pet MD, Dr. Zachary Glantz stated that any feline that is going through brain freeze is likely to be in pain which shouldn’t be laughed at. According to Glantz, the cat may have experienced shock due to some sensitive nerve endings in their teeth, which are the resultant effect of periodontal disease that is rather common with the feline population.
Anytime you happen to ingest cold consumables at a very high speed, it only takes the entire body by surprise, what happens is that the rate of dilation in the arteries quickens and in turn, the trigeminal nerve is affected. The key function of the trigeminal nerve, otherwise known as the fifth cranial nerve is to convey stimuli info to our brain, which will be received by both the mandibular and the buccal levels. You will begin to experience some distress, starting with the mouth, it goes to affect the throat, and then all the nearby nerves will equally be affected. This is exactly the reason we get what is medically known as sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia or “frozen brain” sensation in simple explanation.
As a result of this, it is never advisable to feed ice cream to your feline, besides the sugar content will still give rise to a whole lot of issues. Important to note that sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia can result in severe migraines or pain in animals in addition to causing confusion to the creature’s senses. Generally speaking, it is usually unpleasant for cats to experience brain freeze. The feline population is unlike the humans who will understand why they are passing through the pain of brain freeze; the cat can only be shocked that just consuming food can cause them sudden pain.
Symptoms of Ice Cream Consumption in Cats
Most experts recommend that pet parents should desist from feeding their cats with ice cream as cats are known to be sensitive to fatty foods, which can result in pancreatitis in cats. Pancreatitis comes with symptoms like;
- Dryness or dehydration
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of weight
- Stomach pain
- Accelerated heart rate
- Changes in the pattern of breathing