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Can Cats Eat Sour Cream? Nutritional Facts & FAQ

Can Cats Eat sourcream
Last Updated on November 16, 2023 by Christian Adams

Many people love to use sour cream on their favorite foods, particularly tacos, fajitas, burritos, and the like. Sour cream is dairy, like milk, and milk is commonly given to cats, as you see often on mainstream television. So, you might surmise that sour cream is a perfectly safe treat to offer your favorite feline.

Sour cream isn’t toxic or poisonous for cats. Your cat won’t face serious medical harm from eating a little bit of sour cream, but it’s certainly not an ideal food for cats. In fact, neither is milk, nor any dairy product. Still, small amounts tend to be harmless, though they can still result in digestive issues.

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Cats & Lactose Intolerance

Some people are intolerant to lactose, but humans aren’t the only ones to suffer this condition. In fact, most cats are lactose intolerant, so any type of dairy is a bad idea for them. That doesn’t mean that a small dollop of sour cream or shallow saucer of milk will kill them; it almost certainly won’t. But even a small amount of any dairy product could cause some digestive problems for your feline.

Can Sour Cream Benefit Your Cat?

Sour cream does contain a bit of protein. As obligate carnivores, cats require substantial amounts of protein in their diets, but the small amount available in sour cream isn’t sufficient to really help your cat in any way.

a calico cat eating from metal bowl at home
Image Credit: Jaromir Chalabala, Shutterstock

Is Sour Cream Bad for Cats?

The truth is, each cat could react to sour cream, and any dairy product for that matter, in a completely different manner. Just as humans all have their own tolerances and allergies, so do cats. Still, a large percentage of cats are lactose intolerant, so there’s a high likelihood that your cat won’t respond well to dairy.

That said, if you only give your cat sour cream in very small doses, it might not have any negative effects, even if your cat is lactose intolerant. If your cat is not intolerant to lactose, then it might not hurt them to eat moderate or even copious amounts of sour cream. Even in this case, it’s still recommended that you limit the amount of sour cream you offer your cat to very small and occasional doses.

Sour cream contains quite a lot of fat. Cats can only handle fats in small amounts; their digestive systems aren’t built for dealing with large doses of fats. In some cases, eating a large meal of fat, such as a heavy dose of sour cream, can even cause hyperlipidemia, where there’s too much fat in the bloodstream.

The other side effect of eating too much fat won’t happen from a single meal, but offering fatty treats to your cat too often can easily lead to them becoming overweight and even obese. This will inhibit your cat’s physical ability and lower its overall quality of life. Furthermore, overweight cats are more likely to deal with serious physical disorders, including osteoarthritis, hip dysplasia, and diabetes mellitus, as well as poor cardiovascular health.

How Much Sour Cream Can You Feed Your Cat?

Sour cream isn’t toxic for your cat, so feeding it to them, even in a moderate amount, won’t cause them any illness. Still, as we’ve demonstrated, sour cream isn’t an optimal food for cats, so you should always limit the amount and frequency that you offer it to your cat.

We recommend never feeding your cat more than a spoonful or two of sour cream at a time. After you see how your cat reacts, it’s up to you whether you want to feed them more than this or not.

It’s also best if you only give your cat sour cream once in a while; probably no more than once each week. Again, this is up to you as a discerning pet owner, but overfeeding sour cream to a cat can have many consequences that aren’t in your cat’s best interest.

himalayan persian cat eating hepper nom nom bowl

Learning about what your cat can and cannot eat is a crucial part of keeping them happy and healthy! Choosing a bowl to serve cat-friendly foods in is another important decision pet owners face. Satisfy the specific needs of your cat with the innovative design of the Hepper NomNom Cat Bowl. Learn why it’s our (and our cats!) favorite food and water dish here.

At Excited Cats, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!

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Since sour cream isn’t poisonous for your cat, it’s not bad to offer it to them as a treat. However, many cats are lactose intolerant, so you should only give your cat a small amount and see how they react. Even if they don’t have any negative effects from eating sour cream, you should still limit how much and how often you offer this treat to your feline. Overeating sour cream can lead to an overweight cat, which brings along a host of detriments with it as well.

Featured Image: Welikodub, Pixabay

About the Author

Christian Adams
Christian Adams
Christian is the Editor-in-Chief of Excited Cats and one of its original and primary contributors. A lifelong cat lover, now based in South East Asia, Christian and his wife are the proud parents of an 11-year-old son and four rescue cats: Trixie, Chloe, Sparky, and Chopper.

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