Can Cats Eat Ice Cream? Cats And Lactose Intolerance

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Surely you have seen several videos circulating on the internet showing cats enjoying ice cream from the hand of their human friends. A few seconds later, the cats show the characteristic expression of a "frozen brain." Finally, the cats all become chilled. However, being a cat's guardian involves several responsibilities, such as veterinary visits or food, which are part of the five freedoms of animal welfare. So before you try it yourself, you should ask yourself: can cats eat ice cream? So keep reading this article, and find out why cats shouldn't eat ice cream.


Can Cats Eat Ice Cream?

Can cats eat ice cream? Eating ice cream can make you feel cold. Felines have a similar response to ours when they eat too cold and fast. What is happening?

When you eat very cold food at high speed, the body is "taken by surprise" so that the arteries expand at high speed and affect the trigeminal nerve, called the fifth cranial nerve, which, among other functions, is responsible for transmitting information about stimuli received in the mouth and jaw to the brain. As a result, the discomfort begins in the mouth and moves to the throat and all the nerves in the environment. This gives the sensation of a "frozen brain," which in medicine is called sphenopalatine ganglion neuralgia. For this reason, and for other reasons such as the amount of sugar, it is not recommended to give ice cream to a cat. Ice cream is even one of the prohibited foods for cats. 

The result of sphenopalatine ganglion neuralgia is not only general confusion of the senses but also sharp pain and migraine. In conclusion, something that is not pleasant at all. It's the same for your cat, so this pain is the number one reason you shouldn't give her ice cream.

Cats Don't Like The Cold

Everyone with a cat at home knows how much they like to spread all their paws and lie on their stomachs in the direction of the sun's rays. So in fall and winter, and without sunlight, cats snuggle up in the warmest parts of the house, near stoves, radiators, appliances, or simply among the warmest, most comfortable blankets, chewy ones they can find. 

 Their body temperature is a little higher than ours (between 38 and 39 degrees Celsius), so they get cold easily. So while eating ice cream is delicious for you, it won't exactly be your cat's favorite activity! 

Forbidden Foods For Cats: Sugar

One of the critical issues for answering the question of whether cats can eat ice cream is cats and sugar. Cat's taste buds don't detect sweet flavors, so if you think that by giving ice cream, your cat will think it's very good, in reality, he won't even be able to perceive its true flavor. It's unclear why cats don't have a sense of sweetness, but it's thought it may be a natural safety mechanism, as sweets wreak havoc on the body cat's organism. 

What happens when you give him something sweet? The cat will have colic, gas, and stomach pain. It is even possible that eating ice cream produces diarrhea in cats, so sweets are forbidden for your cat and, therefore, also ice cream.


Lactose Intolerance

Cartoons introduced us to cats as milk lovers. There are countless scenes of kittens stealing bottles of milk or anxiously waiting to fill their plates with this food. However, the truth is that the milk we humans consume, which comes mainly from cows, contains too much fat for the stomachs of cats, so when drunk, it is easily indigestible, and the cat may suffer diarrhea and gas. If this discomfort is prolonged, the cat becomes dehydrated, putting its life in danger. Of course, this situation does not occur in all cats since cats that have consumed milk since infancy and continued to do so into adulthood may not develop lactose intolerance or exhibit any negative signs. 

Milk and dairy products are among the main components of ice cream, so this is an additional reason not to give ice cream to a cat, especially if it shows symptoms of intolerance. 

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Can The Cat Eat Cheese?

Lactose is present in cheese in the form of sugar: even if you give low-fat cheese to your cat, there is a good chance that he is lactose intolerant. This is because the only period during which the cat can eat cheese is when it is still a kitten. At this age, they still have a digestive system that contains lactase (the enzyme that allows the dissociation of lactose into glucose and galactose, which allows the digestion of milk). 

When they are born, kittens have a lot of enzymes in their bodies, allowing them to survive when they drink their mother's milk. In addition, they have a digestive composition that allows them to lower lactose and digest it well, whereas once they become adults, they can no longer. 

The kitten can eat cheese without having digestive problems, but that does not mean you can continue giving him cheese all his life. When he grows, he will tend to produce fewer and fewer enzymes and, therefore, will digest less and less lactose. In summary, his digestive system will make him intolerant to lactose. 


Benefits Of Cheese For The Cat

Cheese is a good source of protein, but don't overdo it. Cats love cheese, which can be handy if you administer medication. 

What Cheese To Give Your Cat?

It doesn't matter what type of cheese to give your cat as long as it's low in lactose and your cat tolerates milk and cheese well. 

Most cats tolerate low-fat cottage cheese well. In addition, some researchers have shown that a bacterium present in cottage cheese would help digest milk.

“Solid” cheese contains less sugar but more fat. Goat and sheep cheese are more digestible by the cat compared to cow's milk. Ideally, choose this type of cheese to avoid digestive problems related to lactose intolerance in cats.

On the other hand, if your cat becomes lactose intolerant, you should stop giving him dairy products, even cheese. However, even if your cat no longer wants to eat on a whim or begs for cheese from time to time, you must not give in, his health comes first. 


Dairy Products

 When you give milk to the cat, for example, make sure it is low in lactose. 

There are many kinds of cheese in supermarkets that are low in lactose, which is interesting to give to your cat. You can ask your veterinarian to inquire for more information.

Some cat foods are sold with the cheese flavor label. However, when you read this mention, there is no cheese, only aromas.

Cats And Lactase

As long as they consume milk, the cat's digestive system will produce lactase. However, lactase production will stop simultaneously when he starts eating solid foods and stops drinking milk. When his body stops producing these enzymes, it never starts again. 

Cats are carnivores and do not need a diet based on milk or cheese. However, although he is lactose intolerant, this does not mean he will never be able to eat a little cheese or drink milk. 

If you give it to him since he was a baby and never stopped when he became an adult, then he will have the ability to be more lactose tolerant. Digestion in cats varies as much as humans do, but keep an eye out for your cat's symptoms when giving dairy products. If he has a weak stomach or intestinal problems (diarrhea in particular), do not give it to him. However, if he shows no reaction/difficulty eating dairy products, you can give him some once in a while.

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