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Can Cats Drink Beer? Our Vet Explains

Written by: Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca BVSc GPCert (Ophthal) MRCVS (Veterinarian)

Last Updated on January 5, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team


Can Cats Drink Beer? Our Vet Explains


Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca Photo


Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca

Veterinarian, BVSc GPCert (Ophthal) MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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If you have ever considered letting your cat taste your beer, here’s why you should not contemplate this possibility anymore. Sharing beer—or alcohol of any kind—with your kitty is an extremely bad idea. Alcohol is toxic to cats, and there is no safe dose they can consume. 

Fortunately, most cats are not usually attracted to beer, although a curious kitty could get into trouble if they lick some from your bottle or a bit that has accidentally spilled on the floor. For more information on why alcohol is so bad for cats and how to make sure it never becomes a problem for you, read on.

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Is Beer Safe for Cats?

No. There is no safe dose of alcohol for cats, and any alcohol ingestion should be considered dangerous. Alcohol is extremely toxic for cats, and it can cause alcohol poisoning, a potentially fatal condition. It’s a potent toxin too, as only a teaspoon of alcohol is enough to cause alcohol toxicity in cats. 

Not all beer has the same amount of alcohol, of course, so the signs of toxicity depend on the alcohol content of that particular beer and your cat’s unique metabolism. Also, the amount that’s been consumed is important, but luckily, most cats won’t drink too much, anyway.

Hops (Humulus lupulus) can also be very dangerous to cats, but that’s usually only an issue if you’re brewing your drinks. The exact toxic principle is unknown. In the rare event that your cat ingests any, you should contact your vet immediately. Death has been reported in dogs. Hop poisoning can cause a dangerous condition called malignant hyperthermia, fast breathing, increased heart rate, anxiety, vomiting, and clotting problems.

What Does Alcohol Poisoning in Cats Look Like?

cat and beer
Image Credit: Gladkova Svetlana, Shutterstock

If you catch your cat taking a lick at your beer, these are the possible signs of alcohol toxicity you may see. 

In particular, you should be on the lookout for the following symptoms:

  • Drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of coordination
  • Vomiting or retching
  • Weakness or collapse
  • Muscle spasms
  • Low blood sugar
  • Low blood pressure
  • Low body temperature
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures

Signs of alcohol poisoning are severe and quick to appear. Toxicity is normally seen within 30 minutes of ingestion but could be even faster, so make sure you take your cat to the nearest emergency clinic if your cat ingests any.  

My Cat Just Drank Some Alcohol. What Should I Do?

As mentioned, the first thing you should do is to get your cat away from the beer and contact your vet immediately. You should not wait at home to see if your cat develops signs of toxicity because alcohol works very fast and the consequences can be fatal.

Once you arrive at the clinic, be sure to give them all the information you can, like what they drank, how much, and when.

Your vet will likely want to perform blood tests to get a sense of your cat’s vitals and start with emergency treatment, depending on your cat’s toxicity signs. Your vet may need to control your cat’s body temperature and provide intravenous (IV) fluids, anti-nausea drugs, oxygen therapy, or specific medication to treat your cat’s signs, such as low sugar or low blood pressure.

How Can I Prevent My Cat From Drinking Beer?

Beer mugs
Image Credit: Engin_Akyurt, Pixabay

Most cats aren’t interested, so you don’t need to go to extremes to hide your beer. Still, keeping any alcohol out of reach of your pets is the most important step that you can take to prevent an accident. As you’re likely well aware, many cats love to knock things off counters—and the more breakable the item, the more cats love to swat at it. Beer bottles can be especially enticing, so don’t leave them out on counters or tabletops.

Watch where you set open containers as well. Your cat may just come by and help themselves to a sip out of your glass if you’re not careful, and again, the urge to push it onto the floor may be more temptation than they can handle.

Besides the above, if you are a fan of adding beer to your stews, it is important to know that not all alcohol evaporates during cooking. Taking this into account is vital to keep your cat safe. You should never share with your cat a dish that contains alcohol as one of the ingredients.

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So, What’s the Verdict? Is Beer Safe for Cats?

Cats should never be given beer, as the alcohol inside can cause serious issues for them, up to and including death. As a result, you should be extra careful whenever you have beer in the house.

Beer, as well as any alcoholic beverages, should be kept away from your cat. While you may enjoy one, your cat could get poisoned if they ingest any. Being extra careful by not leaving your beer unattended is crucial to keep your cat safe.

Featured Image Credit by: Engin_Akyurt, Pixabay

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