Short answer: Whipped cream isn’t toxic to cats; a small amount of cream is unlikely to cause a problem for most cats.
“You look like the cat that’s got the cream!” It’s a saying we often hear, implying that a bowl of cream is the best treat for cats.
As a veterinarian, I usually have cat owners asking me what they can give their pet for pleasure, and I’m afraid that, unlike this traditional saying would have you think, I don’t recommend whipped cream.
Although non-toxic, the cream is not a healthy choice for cats, and plenty of alternative great treat options are available.
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What’s Terrible About Whipped Cream
A little bit of what you fancy doesn’t hurt. And most cats would undoubtedly have a taste of some cream if it was offered to them!
Unfortunately, although it’s not poisonous to cats, whipped cream is nutritionally not a good choice for a few reasons.
It contains dairy
Most adult cats are lactose intolerant, as they don’t have the enzyme lactase, which digests dairy products.
This means that any foods containing dairy, such as milk, cream, cheese, and yogurt, can potentially cause tummy upsets.
Vomiting, diarrhea, flatulence, constipation, and a poor appetite can all be related to eating dairy in cats, especially in larger quantities.
This makes cream an unsuitable treat for most felines!
It’s high in sugar.
Whipped cream is very high in sugar, giving it that sweet taste many of us love.
Unfortunately, high sugar levels aren’t suitable for cats, with diets higher in sugar more likely to lead to obesity.
Cats also have very few taste buds compared to us (a few hundred compared to over 9000 in humans!) and can’t even differentiate sweet tastes, so the delicious sugary goodness is somewhat lost on them.
It’s highly calorific.
Whipped cream is very calorie-dense due to the high levels of fat and sugar.
As cats are much smaller than us, their calorie requirements are much smaller. Even a spoonful of cream provides a significant portion of a cat’s daily calories!
What Will Happen If A Cat Eats Whipped Cream
Are you worried that your cat has sneaked some cream? You don’t need to panic! Whipped cream isn’t toxic to cats, and in my experience as a vet, a small amount of cream is unlikely to cause a problem for most cats.
If only a small amount is eaten, your cat may have no problems.
If a more significant portion is guzzled, your cat may have symptoms of a tummy upset, such as vomiting or diarrhea.
This should settle by itself over a couple of days, but if your cat isn’t eating anything, seems very quiet and unwell, or the symptoms don’t resolve in a day or two, then contact your veterinarian.
However, cats given whipped cream regularly will be prone to obesity and associated problems such as diabetes, heart disease, and joint problems.
Can Cats Have Just A Little Bit Of Cream
A small amount of cream – we’re literally talking about a fingertip dipped in! – is unlikely to cause many problems for most cats.
However, remember that what we might call a small amount, such as a small spoonful, is significant for a cat. And whatever the size, the cream is never a good option nutritionally for cats, even if it does not harm.
What Can I Give Instead
We all like to treat our fluffy friends sometimes! It’s nice to be able to reward them or share the joy of a special occasion with a treat.
So what can you give your pet more suitable than whipped cream?
Cats are obligate carnivores, reliant on animal products for nutrition. This also means they are attracted to meaty and fishy smells, tastes, and textures.
My favorite treat to give my own two cheeky cats is a small piece of plain cooked chicken. This may not seem like a top-end snack for us, but as meat-loving cats, they love it! Its high protein content makes it nutritionally a very suitable treat for them.
Another option is to give them a new toy or something containing catnip to enjoy. Treats don’t always have to be edible – sometimes a game or just some time spent cuddling or playing with you is what they want.
If you want to mix up fun and edible treats, consider a treat ball or puzzle to extend the joy a little longer.
We all love to spoil our beloved pets, and giving them occasional treats is fine.
However, cream is not a good option nutritionally and can lead to tummy upsets and long-term problems such as obesity.
Try substituting this unhealthy snack for more cat-friendly options like a small piece of cooked meat or fish, or invest in a puzzle toy or treat ball for extra fun!
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