Many cat parents wonder if it is safe for their cats to have whipped cream. After all, this simple treat is something that people of all ages enjoy indulging, so why not share it with your kitty? Not so fast! Before you share the popular ice cream topping with them, ask yourself “can cats have whipped cream?”
Can cats have whipped cream?
While feeding your kitty a little whipped cream from your sundae or milkshake may seem harmless, it could actually lead to serious and potentially fatal issues for your feline friend. Whipped cream contains cream, sugar, and vanilla extract. Commercially produced whipped cream can also contain various other ingredients, such as preservatives and artificial sweeteners.
None of which are part of a cat’s diet. So, the short answer to “is whipped cream bad for cats” is yes.
Why shouldn’t cats have whipped cream?
There are various ingredients in whipped cream that are just not good for your cat. Dairy products, for example, are a big issue for felines, since most adult cats are lactose intolerant. This often comes as a shock to people, since cats are often portrayed as drinking milk and cream.
As a cat age from a kitten to an adult, they begin to lose the ability to digest lactose. This is because cats start to lose those lactase enzymes needed to break down the lactose found in dairy.
Without these enzymes, cats cannot properly digest the sugar and lactose found in dairy. The most common symptoms of lactose intolerance are diarrhea, vomiting, flatulence, and stomach ache.
One of the ingredients found in commercially produced whipped creams is nitrous oxide. This word may sound familiar to you, especially if you’ve been to the dentist lately.
Nitrous oxide is a fancy name for laughing gas, which is typically used to help relax you during a dental appointment. It’s scary to think that this is used as a propellant in some whipped creams.
It is unknown what the exact effects are for cats from too much nitrous oxide. In humans, it can cause impairment and dizziness.
With that said, however, your cat probably won’t be exposed to an abundance of this ingredient in whipped cream, but do you really want to give your cat something that contains laughing gas?
High Sugar Content
Whipped cream is notorious for containing an abundance of sugar, and in many cases the sugar is in various forms. For example, whipped cream may contain both corn syrup as well as an artificial sweetener.
While we humans crave sugar, cats don’t have that same craving. In fact, their tongues don’t have the right receptors to detect sugar.
Consuming too much sugar makes it difficult for cats to maintain a healthy lifestyle since it doesn’t provide them with any nutritional value.
Most store-bought whipped cream contains carrageenan, which helps to imitate the creaminess naturally found in cream. This ingredient is an extract from red seaweed.
In recent years, studies have shown that carrageenan can cause negative effects in both cats and dogs, including inflammation and toxicity.
An Abundance of Calories
Not only does whipped cream has a high sugar content, but it also has an abundance of calories. What’s even worse is that these calories don’t come with any nutritional value, which increases the chance of obesity and obesity-related health problems, such as diabetes.
Even when the whipped cream contains lower-calorie sugar alternatives, your cat could still experience fluctuations in its blood sugar levels.
Are there other dairy products that cats cannot have?
Now that you have learned that whipped cream is bad for cats, let’s discuss other dairy products. To put it simply, most, if not all, dairy products should be avoided to help keep your cat happy and healthy.
But why is that? Let’s take a deeper look into the most common dairy products found in homes.
Milk, specifically cow’s milk, is a big one since most homes keep this item stocked in their fridge. Add in the fact that cats are often thought of as big milk drinkers and you have generation after generation thinking milk is safe for felines.
The truth is, milk contains emulsifiers and lactose, which are both harmful to cats. They can lead to various GI issues, including bloating, vomiting, and diarrhea, and even increase their risk of cancer.
An exception to this is raw goat’s milk. According to Animal Wellness Magazine, goat’s milk is easier to digest than cow’s milk and contains various nutritional benefits. It can also help promote a healthy digestive system due to its abundance of antioxidants and beneficial bacteria.
Keep in mind, however, that the goat’s milk has to be raw and not pasteurized. Pasteurized milk has been heated to kill pathogens and bacteria.
While this sounds like a good thing, the heat from the pasteurization process also kills all the good nutrients naturally found in milk. Furthermore, once the milk has been pasteurized, it becomes harder for our bodies and our pet’s bodies to process it, which leads to stomach problems.
Cheese is another dairy product that most homes keep on hand. While cheese doesn’t contain as much lactose as cream or milk, it can still cause your kitty to have an upset stomach.
Pet parents are often unaware of the issues that cheese can cause since it does take more of it to cause issues. While it is relatively safe to give your cat a little cheese every once in a blue moon, it shouldn’t be something that is done regularly or in abundance.
Butter is a little different than the other dairy products on the list because most of the lactose is naturally removed when it is made. When the milk is processed, it is separated into buttermilk and butter fats.
Most of the lactose goes to the buttermilk, leaving the butterfat with only a small amount of lactose.
So, as far as lactose intolerance goes, butter doesn’t seem that bad. However, lactose is not the only thing to be concerned about.
Butter is mainly fat. And while it is mighty tasty, it provides little nutritional value. If your cat consumes too much butter, it will result in obesity and the health problems associated with it.
Can my cat have dairy-free milk alternatives?
Milk alternatives that don’t contain dairy have exploded on the market in recent years. Soy milk, almond milk, and oat milk are a few of these products that you can often find in grocery stores and even coffee shops.
And since they don’t contain lactose, these milk alternatives may seem like the perfect thing for your kitty. But just because they don’t contain lactose doesn’t mean they are a good choice for your cat.
In their natural wild habitat, cats don’t normally consume these dairy-free milk alternatives. Furthermore, they often contain an abundance of sugar that can increase their risk of obesity. What’s even worse, these products usually contain emulsifiers and carrageenan, both of which should be kept away from your cat.
What if my cat eats whipped cream?
While cats shouldn’t consume whipped cream, if your furry friend takes a lick or two of your Starbucks whipped cream, don’t panic. In most cases, a little whipped cream won’t hurt them, though it could lead to an upset stomach or diarrhea.
Consuming too much whipped cream can also cause them to appear lethargic. In most cases, your cat will start feeling like themselves in a few hours.
If, however, your kitty continues to have symptoms for more than 24 hours, reach out to your trusted veterinarian as soon as possible. While it will usually take an abundance of whipped cream for serious issues to occur, you shouldn’t wait around for a couple of days to seek veterinary care for your cat if they continue to exhibit symptoms.
The quicker you seek medical attention the better.
What other foods should my cat avoid?
It’s not uncommon to want to share our food with our pets, especially when they seem interested in what we are eating. Unfortunately, there are many human foods that are not only not safe for cats, but are actually dangerous.
Chocolate is probably the most well-known human food that can pose a serious threat to both cats and dogs. Not only can chocolate contain dairy, but it is also filled with artificial sweeteners and sugars, which are not good for our furry friends.
The most harmful thing about chocolate is that it contains theobromine, which is a bitter alkaloid. While this has many benefits for humans, pets cannot metabolize it.
What it does instead is it starts to build up in its system, resulting in toxicity. If consumed in abundance, chocolate can lead to liver failure and even death.
Onions and Garlic
Onions and garlic are found in a wide array of human foods, and many pet owners are unaware of just how toxic they can be to cats. Foods in the allium family, which include onions, garlic, chives, shallots, leeks, and scallions, are all dangerous for cats.
Not only will they cause gastrointestinal issues, such as vomiting and diarrhea, but they can cause damage to their red blood cells. This is because these vegetables contain n-propyl disulfide, which attacks red blood cells. This leads to anemia, which can threaten the life of your cat.
Keep in mind that it is not just the raw or cooked onions and garlic that can pose a threat. Their powdered form, such as garlic powder and onion powder, are potentially deadly to cats as well.
What makes this even more concerning is that many foods use these in their recipes to help improve the taste. That is why it is important to always read ingredient lists and avoid giving your cat any food not specifically designed for them.
This is another potentially harmful food that most pet parents are unaware of. When consumed, the yeast can ferment in your kitty’s stomach, leading to alcohol poisoning. In addition, as the dough naturally rises, it will expand inside your kitty, resulting in pain and intestinal rupture.
Alcohol is a big no-no for cats, and it can prove fatal in even the smallest of doses. As with humans, alcohol can poison the bloodstream, resulting in a drop in blood sugar, blood pressure, and body temperature.
Raisins and Grapes
Grapes in any form are another food to keep away from your cat. While not much is known about what is in the fruit that causes toxicity to cats, when too many are consumed, your cat can have indigestion, vomiting, and even kidney failure.
While you may enjoy the caffeine you get from popular coffee shop drinks, it can cause trouble for your cat’s health. Caffeine can cause vomiting, increased heart rate, and blood pressure, seizures, and tremors in your feline friend.
In addition, caffeine contains theobromine, which is the same toxic ingredient in chocolate.
Is there any human food that my cat can have?
According to the Lakeland Animal Clinic in Lakeland, FL, there are more than a few human foods that cats can safely enjoy, including pees, pumpkins, cucumbers, blueberries, strawberries, chicken, cooked eggs, and even some fish.
Some vegetables are not only safe for your cat but also provide nutrients that help support their overall health. Cucumber contains vitamin K, which helps to improve blood clotting and liver functions, while pumpkin is filled with vitamins A and C, and fiber. Other safe vegetables to feed your cat are green beans, carrots, and cauliflower.
Even though cats can’t taste sweets, they can still enjoy berries in moderation. Blueberries and strawberries are two of the best berries to feed to your cat as a treat.
They contain various vitamins and nutrients, as well as fiber, to help keep them healthy and happy. Other fruits you can feed them as a treat are bananas, mangos, apples, and apricots.
Chicken is lean meat that is high in protein and contains a wide array of nutrients, including vitamin B-6, B-12, B-9, and B-3. It also makes a nice little treat for cats of all ages.
Make sure to only feed the meat and not the skin to your cat, and avoid giving them any chicken that has spices on it or has been marinated as those ingredients may be toxic to your feline.
Another good option for protein is cooked eggs, as they are safe in moderation and provide various nutrients, including vitamins A, B-12, and D, and thiamine, riboflavin, and zinc.
Fish is a little trickier because it can provide vital omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, as well as taurine, but feeding too much of it can cause issues. This is especially true with tuna and salmon as they contain an abundance of mercury, which can lead to serious health complications in cats.
If you do feed your catfish, make sure it is in small quantities and only do so as a treat now and again.
Keep in mind, however, that all human foods (even the ones listed as safe for cats) should only be fed in moderation. Even though they may not be considered toxic, they can still result in upset stomachs and diarrhea if fed too much.
What treats should I give my cats?
We love our cats and want to spoil them as much as possible. So, it’s only natural that you would want to treat your cat every so often. But if I cannot give them whipped cream and most human foods are a big no-no, what treats can I give them?
The best treats for cats are ones made specifically for cats by a trusted brand/company. Choose treats that contain natural ingredients with a low-calorie count.
If you’re unsure as to what treats to give your cat, reach out to your veterinarian. They can help guide you in the right direction for the best cat treats for your feline.
One thing to consider, however, is that even if the treats are healthy, they should still only be given in moderation. According to VCA Hospital, treats should never make up more than 10-percent of your cat’s daily calorie/energy intake, and they recommend keeping that percentage even lower at about 5-percent.
Too many treats, even when they are healthy, can lead to weight gain and even cause your cat to stop consuming their actual food.
Final Thoughts on Whipped Cream and Cats
While it is tempting to give your kitty a little lick of whipped cream, it is best to err on the side of caution. The possible side effects that could occur are just not worth it.
This is especially true when you consider all the other safer options out there for your cat. Instead, stick to treats made especially for cats.
If you do decide to give them some of your food, make sure that it is completely safe for cats, and only give it to them in moderation. Please remember that even if the food is considered safe and non-toxic to cats, it can still lead to obesity, which can threaten their overall health and wellness.