Ice cream is great comfort food, isn’t it? You can snuggle up with your pet, put on a soppy romantic movie, and dig into that bowl of icy sweetness. But, can cats eat chocolate ice cream?
My friend has a lovely grayish cat that’s always up for cuddles, especially if she feels like my bestie is not feeling okay. I remember once when I was visiting, she was telling me something about her relationship, her voice cracked, and that furry ball just jumped into her lap.
Last night, that same friend called me in hysterics.
She had another argument with her boyfriend and, naturally, she was upset. Her favorite ice cream flavor is chocolate and she always has those big family packs of chocolate ice cream in her freezer. Just in case, you know what I mean, don’t you?
She put on The Notebook, wrapped herself up in her blanket, and of course, her little whiskered guardian joined her on the couch. Little did she know that her furbaby would try the ultimate comfort food. And now – drama mode is activated!
We often panic in stressful situations and can’t think straight. I’m sure if I’d called her, she’d have calmed me down and guided me through everything I had to do since my mischievous feline is always causing me trouble.
I guess it was time for the roles to be reversed. I needed to calm her down. We had to find the answer to the question that was now bugging both of us…
Can cats eat chocolate ice cream?
If you’re anything like me, you could eat ice cream all the time. Of course, you have a favorite flavor, but anything that can refresh you during those hot summer days is welcomed. I also like to eat ice cream during the winter, when it’s snowing or raining. Basically, at all hours.
However, we’re here to talk about a specific topic and it’s all about your fluffy baby. So, can cats eat chocolate ice cream?
Well, the short answer is no! It’s not recommended for cats to eat chocolate, or chocolate ice cream either. Unfortunately, it can be toxic for your furry friend if consumed in large doses.
When it comes to chocolate ice cream specifically, we’ll go through all of its ingredients and explain why neither of them is a good choice for your cat.
What ingredients go into chocolate ice cream?
So, in order to analyze why chocolate ice cream is not good for your cat, we’ll break it down to its ingredients and make it clearer why cats can’t eat this delicious treat.
First of all, you know that each ice cream, regardless of its flavor, contains milk and sugar. To add some specific taste to it, something else is introduced to the basic mixture.
In this case, it’s the cocoa powder that contains a substance that is highly poisonous to felines. Chocolate, in general, contains some additional ingredients that are not healthy either.
So, in order to give a complete answer to this question, let’s quickly go through all of them individually.
Some people are lactose intolerant, but when it comes to cats, it’s another story. Obviously, when they are young, they drink milk like any other mammal. But as they grow up, they turn to their real nature of being carnivorous animals, losing the intestinal enzyme that breaks down lactose.
Most adult cats are therefore lactose intolerant and, like us, they can suffer stomach upsets and related digestive problems. They may have diarrhea or cramps, which aren’t pleasant – neither for your kitto nor for you when you need to clean that litterbox.
In case the problem gets a bit more serious, it would be good to contact your vet.
When it comes to this part of your favorite delicacy, it’s not extremely bad for your kitty, but best avoided. Sugary food can negatively affect your cat’s digestive system as it’s not so easy for them to process food that contains added sugars.
Besides, cats are not able to taste sugar because their taste buds don’t have sweet receptors. The big downside, however, is that if they consume a lot of sweets, their blood sugar levels may increase, which can lead to feline diabetes.
3. Additional ingredients
In order for ice cream to have that addicting taste that you love so much, producers often add artificial flavors, sweeteners, and food extracts. None of these are good for your kitty’s health.
Most of them are pretty tough for felines to digest, causing them to have stomach problems that could be avoided otherwise.
4. Why is cocoa not good for cats?
Okay, now’s the time to talk about the main ingredient of chocolate ice cream – cocoa powder. This is what turns that simple no into a big fat NO when asking if your cat can eat chocolate ice cream.
Cocoa powder contains theobromine and caffeine, both of which are extremely toxic to cats, even in small doses. Don’t panic! If your cat licked the bowl that you just used; that doesn’t mean it will send your furry ball of happiness to kitty heaven right away.
If you suspect your furbaby has consumed chocolate because she’s behaving a bit oddly, don’t hesitate to consult the vet.
Chocolate poisoning: What to do if this happens?
When you open a box of chocolate ice cream, that heavenly scent instantly makes you happy. Am I the only one craving at least a little spoon of my favorite sweetened frozen food?
Your feline friend doesn’t know that consuming ice cream can get them in big trouble because they react to fatty food and they can smell the milk and cream that was used to make the delicacy.
I assume that not a single cat will even try to taste plain chocolate – at least mine never did – but it gets a bit tricky when we’re talking about chocolate ice cream.
Don’t overreact if your fluffy ball of happiness has stolen a small nibble. There’s not enough chocolate in that amount of ice cream to be life-threatening.
However, if your kitty consumed a large amount of chocolate, the best is to take her to the vet ASAP since the worst-case scenario may happen. The clinic will provide her the adequate medical treatment and help her to get through the recovery period quickly.
Symptoms of chocolate poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, panting, restlessness or hyperactivity, and even seizures, and coma. She may also experience abdominal pain, cramps, and labored breathing.
In spite of these horrible things that may happen, each feline is individual. That is to say, the way your pet may react to chocolate is not the same as how my kitto would.
Like people, some cats are more sensitive, while others can handle more. Their reaction to chocolate consumption varies a lot depending on your cat’s weight, diet, age, and overall health. Also, it greatly depends on the exact amount of chocolate they ate.
Brain freeze – cats can get it!
One of the worse things that can happen when your cat eats ice cream is actually a brain freeze. Yes, felines can get it and they have no idea what or why it happened.
Although it may seem cute to see those silly facial expressions cats make, in reality, it’s actually pretty painful for them. This happens when they consume cold food, not necessarily only ice cream.
These furry angels experience brain freeze almost the same way we do. The blood flow to their brain decreases and all they can feel at that moment is sharp pain. So if you feel like something weird is happening, or you’ve seen one of those facial expressions, rather grab your cat and take her to the vet.
Adequate replacement for ice cream
As it normally goes, there is plenty of replacement food for people, so why wouldn’t cats have that privilege as well? Aren’t they the kings and queens of our households?
Since we concluded that cats can’t eat chocolate ice cream, it would only be fair of me to give you a couple of ideas to make your furbaby’s tastebuds happy.
1. Cat-friendly ice cream!
You read that correctly, there is an ice cream specifically for cats! It’s become more common recently and the best thing about it is that it’s highly nutritious. It has everything that makes it a perfect, healthy snack for your little purrer.
Cat ice cream is flavored in a way that any carnivore would lick their paws after eating it! Fish, chicken, beef – you name it. They taste like everything your cat likes!
There are other flavors as well that your buddy may not be a fan of, so make sure you always serve small food portions. And don’t serve it completely frozen, as you don’t want your cat’s brain to freeze!
2. Ice cubes
Sometimes you just want something plain, no additives, no color, no specific taste. For your furbaby, plain ice cubes are incredibly entertaining. You can serve them in their water bowl and that way stimulate their hydration.
You can serve them ice cubes every day if you’re in the mood to give them a refreshing and quick snack. Be ready for a little bit of mess and water droplets all around the house if she decides to take the ice cubes out and play around with them.
You can also freeze a bit more water, for example, the amount of a small plastic cup, and give it to your cat so she can play and stay hydrated throughout the day. Coldness fascinates most felines and she will feel the thrill every time she licks something icy.
3. Catnip cubes
Another great thing you can do is to put some catnip into ice cubes – your cat is going to love this!
It has all the benefits we’ve previously mentioned when it comes to the ice cubes, and you just add the catnip effect. Eating catnip may calm cats down, just make sure that you don’t use too much of it.
Even if it doesn’t have a bad effect in general, higher doses can cause vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, or your cat may have trouble walking. You don’t want any of these to happen, so be careful while preparing this cat delight.
4. Frozen or chilled wet food
One simple trick that you can do is actually freeze your cat’s wet food – as simple as that. Just put them in molds, even different shapes if you want to make it a bit more interesting, and pop them in the freezer long enough to freeze solid.
Whatever you do, don’t add milk to make the food more watery, for reasons we’ve mentioned earlier. If you really have to, you can use lactose-free cat milk or the one that has lactase enzyme added. You may find these in specified pet shops but limit the intake of these nonetheless.
Frozen bone broth is another thing they will enjoy for sure, so why not give it a go! Also, you can simply chill their food without freezing it because it will give them the same sensation and they will definitely enjoy their meal.
In the end, I’m sorry that I was the one who needed to tell you that your furbaby cannot enjoy your favorite treat with you. But, if you want to make her a part of your chill family routine (pun intended), you can always serve her some of the alternatives that we’ve suggested.
I hope you’ve found all the answers you needed and don’t think twice next time someone asks you if cats can eat chocolate ice cream.