As with most questions like these, “Can I give my cat ice cream?” falls under the category of “Sure, but should you?”
The general consensus is, “NO.” After all, cats are lactose intolerant and therefore, exposure to dairy can lead to gastrointestinal problems and diarrhea. However, people do give their cats milk, ice cream and other people food. Growing up, my Ragdoll cat, Rags, had no interest in people food. It wasn’t until college that I discovered how much cats can like people food. The guy that I dated in college had a a calico kitty who ate various kinds of people food – and one thing she loved to do was lick the remnants that were left in an ice cream bowl after my boyfriend-at-the-time finished it.
When I got Charlie and Trigg, I did as I did with my Rags – I let them smell everything I was putting in my mouth. And Trigg showed a lot of interest in sweets – he’s not particular (although writing this has just made me wonder if I presented him with a piece of cake, a bowl of ice cream or a piece of caramel – I wonder which one he’d choose first) – you see, he likes everything with sugar and sweet – and yet, they say that cats don’t smell/react to sweets.
What Vets Have to Say about Cats Eating Ice Cream
Anyway, I do let Trigg have some in moderation – it isn’t every day – it isn’t every week, but I do let him. And according to a Washington Post article, “Eric Doughtery, veterinarian and medical director for The Cat Practice in New York said there’s nothing wrong with feeding cats ice cream or yogurt.” And the same article pointed out that Nashville Cat Clinic veterinarian Sara Tamas said, “A few licks is not harmful, but it has more calories than they need […] Tamas recommends no more than a teaspoon to a tablespoon a day. Like humans, cats can have harmful effects from too much sugar consumption.”
That calico cat I referenced lived to be 21 years old…so…Trigg gets to lick the bowl when I have ice cream (a rare thing for me anymore), and it DOES NOT matter what the flavor is – this was Three Twins Mocha Difference – freakin’ coffee ice cream! And he still wants to lick the bowl. He just adores it – and I know it’s not good for him – but you can see he gets very little and adores it so…so I can’t refuse it.
Do you let your cat eat dairy or sweets? Let’s discuss in the comments below!