Cool treat or sweet misery? The risks of cats eating ice cream explained
Ice cream is one of the most devilish treats created by mankind. It’s an unhealthy concoction of carbs and fats but utterly irresistible to both humans and pets! Many wonder if cats eating ice cream is okay, and the answer leans towards a no. While ice cream isn’t outright toxic to cats, it isn’t safe food either. Giving them more than a few licks can cause short- and long-term health trouble for kitties.
In this guide, we have compiled info on:
- Kitty-safe serving sizes of ice cream
- The downsides of overfeeding the treat
- Good and bad ice cream flavours and toppings
Can cats eat ice cream? Five things that can go wrong!
Cats can eat ice cream as long as it’s served in super tiny portions. According to nutritionists, average-size breeds like Siamese and Persians shouldn’t have more than one teaspoon of ice cream at a time. Larger breeds (Ragdolls or Maine Coons) can safely consume up to two teaspoons. Don’t feed the treat more than once a month because giving cats ice cream comes with the following risks:
Betrayal is when you bite into something enticing, and it’s all plastic. I’m done posing, hooman. Can I get some real nom-noms now?
Source: Found Animals Foundation
Can ice cream trigger gastric episodes in kitties?
Cats are hardwired carnivores, and ice cream is not a part of their natural diet. Gorging on the treat excessively can disrupt their digestive balance and trigger gastrointestinal complications, such as:
Most indoor cats get sick after eating ice cream because they are lactose intolerant. Weaning kittens can tolerate the lactose content in their mother’s milk, but they gradually lose the ability to process this sugar as they transition to solids.
Dairy products like ice cream, cheese, and condensed milk have high lactose content, making them indigestible to cats.
Besides lactose, fat is another gastrointestinal trigger for kitties. Cats only need up to 20% fat in their daily meals. Rich, fatty food items like ice cream, beef, pork, lamb, eggs, or crisps can upset their stomachs.
Does your cat have a milk allergy?
A dairy allergy is different from lactose intolerance. Food intolerance means a cat’s digestive system cannot digest the ingredient in question, but an allergy is their immune system's response to a particular substance, which the organism detects as harmful.
If your kitty has a dairy allergy (which is an adverse reaction to a specific milk protein called casein), consuming even a safe dose of ice cream could lead to gastrointestinal issues, inflammation, respiratory troubles, and hair loss.
Many kitty parents treat their pets to vegan ice cream made with ingredients like lactose-free milk, soya milk, almond milk, and coconut oil to avoid an allergic reaction. These treats may be non-dairy but are still high in fat and sugar, making them equally harmful for felines.
Cats eating ice cream suffer a brain freeze—is it true?
The internet is overflowing with videos of cats getting a brain freeze after licking ice cream. Although these videos are touted as adorable and funny, the welfare organisation Cats Protection points out how brain freeze can be a traumatic experience for kitties. The pain may be short, but it’s sharp and can cause tooth sensitivity in some cases. If your kitty experiences a brain freeze, avoid giving them ice cream, ice lollies, or other chilled treats.
Can ice cream cause a nutritional imbalance in felines?
You can find the basic nutritional characteristics of ice cream in the table below:
Approximate amount per 100 grams
Carbs (including sugar)
Based on these values, cats who eat too much ice cream can suffer from an overdose of:
- Carbohydrates—Cats don’t need carbs in their diet and can only digest small portions of the nutrient. Overconsumption can cause stomach sensitivity, diabetes, and obesity
- Fats and cholesterol—Overfeeding these nutrients can harm cats in the long run, contributing to heart disease, pancreatitis, or liver failure
- Sodium—A high concentration of sodium is toxic to cats. Excessive consumption of ice cream salts causes food poisoning, resulting in lethargy, vomiting, incoordination, inappetence, and seizures
Does overindulging in ice cream make kitties fussy?
Cats and humans are similar when it comes to enjoying unhealthy snacks. Feeding any high-fat food often can cause food obsession and make kitties fussy with their meals. They gradually start craving addictive, fatty treats and reject their regular dry or wet food with balanced fat content.
Why do cats want to eat ice cream and other sweet snacks?
It’s a common misconception that cats have a sweet tooth. Felines don’t have the taste buds to recognise sweetness. If your kitty frequently asks for ice cream or other confectionery delights, it’s because of the addictive fat content or the texture of the food. That is why you should keep junk human treats away from your furry friend.
Unsupervised snacks in kitty territory? Don’t blame me for what happens next, hooman.
In case your cat craves too many snacks between meals, it could also indicate that their regular meals are not nutritious enough. Cats need a high-protein diet of quality whole meat to feel full and get enough calories to power through the day. If their food contains a low protein content (under 50%), they’ll feel dissatisfied and ask for treats, sometimes even chew on houseplants and rugs.
Kitties are healthiest when they have grain-free and high-protein wet food daily. Offer food with lean-meat protein and fish. Chicken, turkey, tuna, salmon, prawn, or shrimp are the best choices. Dry food may be cheap, but it’s heavily processed and rarely contains real meat. Most kibble products are made with:
- Processed meat and fish meals
- Grains like sweetcorn and rice
- Starch and sugar binders
- Plant or animal fat (used as taste enhancers leading to kibble addiction)
- Chemical colourants and preservatives
These ingredients are nowhere near whole meat and organs that are biologically appropriate for felines and easy to digest and absorb. Dry food also increases the risk of dehydration and related conditions like stone formation and kidney disease.
Untamed offers the best cat food in the country!
- Meat derivatives
- Plant proteins
- Chemical additives
Melt your kitty’s heart with the right food. They won’t care about iffy snacks if they have nutritious gourmet meals on their plate!
Image (c) Untamed
- Offer top proteins—Our catalogue includes meals made with fresh chicken breast and liver, tuna, salmon, mackerel, and sardine that improve muscle tone and prevent hairballs if consumed regularly
- Use vet-formulated recipes—We got vets on board to oversee the nutrient ratios in our food. You won’t have to stress about nutritional deficiencies in your cat if you switch them to our complete food
- Make delicious dishes—We gently steam our food to keep the natural aroma and flavours of the meat. Even the pickiest kitties give in to our tender morsels! If your cat likes a burst of flavours, try these tempting options:
- Chocka Chicken with Ham in Gravy
- Tuck-in Tuna with Shrimp in Gravy
- Chocka Chicken with Duck in Jelly
- Tuck-in Tuna with Salmon in Jelly
- Tuck-in Tuna with Shrimp in Jelly
- Don’t use common allergens—Our products are free from common allergens that bother kitties. We also offer single-protein meals tailored to the needs of felines with severe food allergies or sensitivities
We would love to know more about your pet! Take our TRY NOW quiz, and we’ll send you our taster pack at a killer price!
Untamed kitties live life to the fullest—here’s how
We make our food suitable for every kitty. Here’s how we promote top-tier health at each life stage:
- Kittenhood—Our food is perfect for weaning kittens prone to diarrhoea. With suitable serving sizes fed at adequate intervals, your kitty will grow at a steady pace!
- Adulthood—Untamed helps adult cats stay fit and active. Our sugar-free food is great for diabetes management (or prevention) and long-term weight control
- Golden years—Our highly digestible meals reduce gastric episodes in senior kitties and help them sustain their weight and appetite
Our secret? It’s all in the meat! Good health is a result of respecting your kitty’s biological cravings.
Image (c) Untamed
Check out what our happy clients say about going Untamed:
The Untamed effect
Save time and get regular Untamed supplies
If you value efficiency while shopping for cat food online, we are here to facilitate it. We deliver all our products straight to your doorstep in a day with no extra shipping fees. In case you want regular pantry supplies, we got you! We can deliver a month’s worth of cat food on repeat to ensure you never run out of your kitty’s favourite nom-noms! You can cancel, postpone, or modify a delivery whenever you like!
Are you ready to get your claws on Untamed? Here’s what you need to do:
- Take our TRY NOW quiz
- Make a meal plan
- Place your order
Untamed believes in sustainable operations, so we leave a neutral carbon footprint and use 100% recyclable packaging. Our ingredients (meat and fish) come from ethical and sustainable sources.
What about a cat eating ice cream with different flavours?
Does the flavour affect the safety of a particular product? Is strawberry better than mango ice cream? You can follow the same serving guidelines for most flavours, i.e. one to two teaspoons should be okay for kitties.
Keep in mind that ice cream rarely contains real fruits. The manufacturers heavily rely on artificial flavouring and colourants to achieve the desired taste, texture, and colour. These chemical additives can irritate your cat’s tummy, so it’s better to serve artisanal ice cream. Avoid giving kitties products with the following harmful ingredients or toppings:
- Raisins and grapes—Even a small dose can cause kidney failure in felines
- Nuts—Most nuts are a choking hazard, while macadamia is even toxic
- Alcohol—Ethanol affects your kitty’s central nervous system and can be lethal
- Cherries—These fruits can cause food poisoning
- Xylitol—The widely-used artificial sweetener can cause feline liver damage
- Chocolate or caffeine—These stimulants can trigger vomiting, bloating, and diarrhoea in felines
Cats can occasionally try some popular desserts containing ice cream—like ice cream cake, ice cream sandwich, banana split, and similar—but remember they’re super unhealthy. If you want your kitty to cool down with a snack on a blistering summer day, a spoonful of chilled plain yoghurt would be a smarter alternative. The lactose content in yoghurt is broken down, so it’s easy to digest and least likely to upset your pet’s tummy!
Check out our other guides to what cats can or cannot eat: