Can cats eat caramel or should you keep it as far away from them as possible?
Your cat is a curious baby. She loves to try everything at least once. That leads to a few panic attacks from your side, I’m sure.
One too many times have you taken her to the vet before you had a cohesive thought. Googling for info while stroking your furbaby has become a hobby of yours. It’s not the most pleasant feeling, to say the least.
That’s why you’re here now. She’s eaten some caramel without a second thought, now she’s run off and doing her best to swallow it before you catch her.
Will this be fatal to her? You don’t want to lose your best friend because of a split second where you didn’t pay attention to her. You don’t know what you’d do without her, so let’s calm your worried heart.
Can cats eat caramel?
Caramel isn’t toxic to your feline friend. If she got a small bite from your plate, it won’t create a problem for her.
It’s a treat that her curiosity led her to. She wanted something to munch on and caramel seemed enticing to her at that moment.
However, the obstacle here is that caramel can harm your cat if you deliberately give it to her as food. In large quantities, when you feed it to your cat daily, it will turn into something hazardous.
As stated before, there’s no need for panic if she just took a small bite. The issue occurs when you completely ignore this warning and you choose to give her caramel whenever you feel like it.
The problem is in the amount of sugar that caramel contains. The small body of a feline can’t take in so much without eventually developing a disease like diabetes.
More often than not, the problem is also in excessive weight gain. I understand the appeal in a chunky who you can hug like a pillow, but it’s everything but healthy for her.
When your cat is obese, she’s actually more susceptible to other health issues like heart disease. That’s why it’s so important to give her a diet that she can thrive on, together with ensuring she gets plenty of exercise.
I understand that she’s a domestic kitty and that she doesn’t have enough space to run around like in the wild, but you need to create enough activities for her to move her body.
That’s not the topic right now, but it’s a necessary reminder.
Caramel’s main ingredients
Apart from sugar, other ingredients of caramel are salt, butter, and cream.
In large amounts, salt can have detrimental effects on every living organism. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about humans, canines, felines – even plants. Salt can be beneficial to a certain extent, but more often than not, it’ll only create issues.
Too much salt can lead to kidney failure in felines, but also cause serious damage to other organs in the body. So when you’re asking the question of whether or not cats can eat caramel, just remember the actual ingredients in this treat.
Butter and cream don’t seem like a huge issue. They’re made out of milk, so surely your cat should be able to digest that without any problems, right?
The truth looks a little different because most cats are in fact lactose intolerant.
Their little bodies aren’t able to process lactose the same way the human body does. Milk products can create so many digestive problems that your cat can experience diarrhea, vomiting, flatulence, and even more.
You won’t even consider the possibility that milk is the issue behind her health problems. However, cat owners all over the world are aware of this concern and you should definitely take your cat to the vet to figure out if she’s also unable to process this type of food.
Should you offer caramel to your cat?
At this point, it’s like a habit to share all of your food with your furchild. You give her leftover crumbs or even break off a piece of your food to offer her.
That’s why you’re so worried about whether cats can eat caramel or not. You presumably gave her some without much thought. Now you’re pacing around your house trying to figure out what to do.
You have to be aware of the health risks that come with eating caramel. These risks apply to humans just as much as they do to cats.
Besides the complications with lactose, sugar, and sodium, your cat can also face other difficulties.
One of them is tooth decay. It’s not just the sugar that can cause your cat’s teeth to decay, but it’s the texture of the caramel. It’s too sticky for her teeth to chew, and with hard caramel candy, too hard to bite. This can eventually lead to her teeth breaking or even decaying after a while.
If your cat ingests a large amount of caramel, her body won’t be able to process it properly. This can cause an intestinal blockage which can turn out to be fatal.
There’s no other way to deal with this but to take your cat to the clinic for surgery. Not only will your kitty be at extreme risk, but the vet bill will have you really regret your decision.
Who needs to go through that? No one. Exactly.
So don’t offer your cat caramel willingly, or you’ll only damage her already sensitive digestive system. Nonetheless, if she ends up eating a small amount of it, just keep a close eye on her. Any trouble that she may face should be reported to the vet or you could lose your best friend if you don’t act accordingly.
Now that you know the risks, is it really worth it?
The danger of xylitol as an ingredient in caramel
Can cats eat store-bought caramel? The type that wasn’t made yourself and you don’t even know half of the ingredients listed?
When you buy already prepared caramel, besides sugar, it could contain xylitol. If you aren’t aware yet, xylitol is highly toxic to cats.
Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is used instead of sugar. Foods like sugar-free gum, oral care products, and chewable vitamins contain it.
Not so rarely, xylitol can also be used in the sweetening of desserts and different types of beverages.
Humans and animals have completely different metabolisms, that’s why there’s no need for you to worry. You’ll be okay if you ingest xylitol.
However, cats and dogs will be severely affected by this. That’s because xylitol causes insulin to be released into the blood flow, which leads to a rapid decrease in blood glucose levels.
Afterward, hypoglycemia causes liver toxicity or in extreme cases, liver failure. There’s no way your cat can be unaffected if the caramel you gave her contains xylitol.
Even if you think that a small amount isn’t that problematic, you need to know that a dosage as small as 0.5 g xylitol per kg of body weight can cause severe liver complications.
My advice to you would be to immediately contact your veterinarian for a consultation if your cat has ingested xylitol. You can thank me later.
Some of the first symptoms your cat will experience after eating caramel that contains xylitol are vomiting (probably immediately after ingestion), lethargy, ataxia (trouble walking), hypoglycemia, seizures, or collapsing.
The worst-case scenario can occur if you notice anything like skin and intestinal hemorrhaging. These symptoms don’t suggest a good diagnosis.
Can cats eat caramel popcorn?
For some reason, people believe that caramel popcorn is safer for cats and that they can eat it. But there’s no reason to think that.
Caramel popcorn isn’t terribly harmful to her, but you need to avoid giving it to your cat. There’s nothing nutritious in it to a feline, which only means that it could do more damage than good.
The popcorn is covered in sugar and cats don’t have taste buds that pick up the sweetness of things. So, it’s completely pointless to feed it to your cat.
She could go for it by instinct because the scent intrigues her or simply because she wants whatever you’re having. She may even enjoy the variety of tastes and textures that caramel popcorn has to offer, but it should never be given as more than a little treat.
You can always put one caramel popcorn in front of her, let her sniff it, and decide for herself if she does or doesn’t want to try it. This way you’ll know that it’s a controlled environment as well as be able to react if she has any side effects from eating it.
As you know, cats are obligate carnivores. If you don’t feed her a proper meat-based diet, then her little body won’t be able to function properly. And the last thing you want is your little lap monster operating at less than her prime.
Can cats eat caramel ice cream?
Unfortunately, the answer is the same – there’s nothing for your cat in caramel ice cream. There’s no nutritional value in it, but in small proportions, it should be fine.
You can’t give her an entire ice cream cone and expect her to be okay afterward. A teaspoon of ice cream won’t make a big impact on her digestive system, so you can go ahead and offer some to her.
Besides the high sugar content in ice cream, other complications could be caused by milk, though. If it’s not lactose-free, then she could experience some digestive problems, but hopefully nothing too serious.
The best way to figure out if cats can eat caramel ice cream is to listen to your vet. Don’t go ahead and give her everything under the sun.
If you’re really adamant about letting her try it, to be extra safe, I’d advise you to prepare it yourself. This way you’ll know all the ingredients and be assured it’s not hazardous to your four-legged friend.
What should you do if your cat eats too much caramel?
When it comes to topics like these, we need to take them seriously. If your cat eats a large amount of anything that could be potentially dangerous to her, you need to act immediately.
In this situation, keep calm and breathe. Caramel isn’t going to take your cat away from you unless she really ate a huge amount of it.
Caramel can get stuck between her teeth and cause dental problems. So, for now, go ahead and clean her teeth. Give her enough water to help her digestion and just observe her behavior.
If she starts acting weirdly, you need to take her to the vet. Any type of unusual behavior should be seen as a symptom caused by the caramel that she ate. Don’t hesitate, because a moment that you spent overthinking could determine your cat’s future.
Caramel is hard to break down and as such, it could cause serious harm to her body. If she ate too much of it, you may not be able to pick up on any strange behavior right away, but the side-effects of ingesting this much sugar will show its effects soon enough.
You’re well aware that caramel is hard to chew, swallow, and digest for a grown human. We don’t give these to kids for a reason. So what makes you believe that a small feline, with those little teeth, would be able to move on unharmed?
If anything, you know that it can’t become part of her regular diet under any circumstances. Find some commercial treats that were made with your kitty in mind and I can guarantee you that she’ll forget about the caramel you’re eating right away.