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Can Cats Drink Syrup? Vet-Reviewed Health Precautions & Risks

Written by: Luxifa Le

Last Updated on February 24, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Honey Syrup

Can Cats Drink Syrup? Vet-Reviewed Health Precautions & Risks


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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Cats tend to explore the world around them with their mouths. No cat parent is free from the looming threat of their cat eating something they aren’t supposed to. Still, plenty of the things we eat in our daily lives are safe for cat consumption. What about syrup?

Syrup is not toxic to cats. By default, licking a little syrup off your plate won’t kill your cat. However, just like syrup offers little nutrition to humans, it provides no benefits to cats.

divider-catclaw1 Cat Nutrition: What Do They Eat?

Cats are known in science as obligate carnivores or hypercarnivores. This classification means that in the wild, cats would consume a diet that is made up of at least 70% animal proteins.

Cats are not designed to digest plant material into nutrients because their bodies are optimized to process mainly animal proteins. It is thought that the few plant-based nutrients wild cats consumed would have been in the stomach of their prey. Cats consume every part of their prey, even the bones. So, they won’t just be eating the game but their prey’s last meal as well—stomach contents included!

Additionally, carbohydrates do not play a very important role in cat nutrition like protein or, to a lesser extent, fat do. Still, cats are capable of digesting certain amounts and types of carbohydrates.

Further, cats don’t even have the taste bud receptors for sweet foods; they can’t taste sweet foods at all, and most don’t particularly like them.

Despite this, all cats are unique, and some cats may develop a taste for sweet foods.

Cat eating melons
Image Credit: Guajillo Studio, Shutterstock

Is Syrup Healthy for Cats?

Syrup is not healthy for cats. It provides no nutritional value. Additionally, the high sugar content of syrup can cause vomiting and diarrhea in cats that are fed large amounts.


Risks of Feeding Your Cat Syrup

Feline Diabetes

It is not scientifically proven that feeding cats too many carbohydrates can increase diabetes risk; however, if your cat already suffers from diabetes, you should not feed them any additional sugar. Signs of feline diabetes include excessive thirst (often paired with increased urination), unexpected weight loss, excess or lack of appetite, poor-quality coat, lethargy, and vomiting, among others.

Gastrointestinal Issues

Cats should not eat sugar. Even in small amounts, sugar can upset your cat’s gastrointestinal system when introduced. Signs of gastrointestinal upset include decreased appetite, abdominal pain, vomiting, and lethargy.

tired sick cat lying on bed
Image Credit: Natata, Shutterstock


Obesity appears when excess calories are consumed. If your cat ingests “empty” calories from food that provide no nutritional value, then you are not doing them any good. Obesity is prevalent in cats already, and every effort should be made to provide your cat with complete and balanced high-quality food and provide them with enough physical activity to avoid obesity and all the health problems associated with it.

If your cat is starting to look rounder, then it’s time to visit your vet and discuss their health.


How to Safely Feed Your Cat Syrup

Truthfully, there is no safe way to feed your cat syrup. The syrup is not nutritionally dense for cats, and unlike humans, they aren’t going to resist their instincts to gorge themselves on high-calorie foods just because it’s not healthy. It’s best if you don’t feed your cat syrup at all.

Many human foods can be dangerous for cat consumption. These foods can contain ingredients that can harm cats and cause gastrointestinal upset.

Additionally, also be very wary of feeding your cat syrup if you have a dog. Some syrups contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener commonly used. While xylitol is not fully understood yet if it is harmful to cats, it can be fatal when ingested by dogs.

It is also important to note that chocolate syrup should never be offered to cats, as chocolate is toxic to them.

divider-catclaw1 Final Thoughts

Cats may be curious, but that doesn’t mean we should let them eat everything they see. Syrup may not be toxic for them, but it’s certainly not healthy, and pet parents should be cautious when it comes to feeding syrup to their cats.

Not only does it provide no nutritional value, but the ones that contain chocolate or xylitol can be extremely dangerous, even for other pets in the household.

As always, if you suspect your cat has ingested something that they weren’t supposed to, you should check with your veterinarian first. They will be able to guide you through the care of your cat while they monitor them for any unpleasant side effects.

If your cat seems listless or otherwise ill, getting them to an emergency veterinarian can very likely save their life!

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

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