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Can Cats Eat Sour Cream? Vet-Approved Nutritional Facts & Safety Tips

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on February 15, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Can Cats Eat sourcream

Can Cats Eat Sour Cream? Vet-Approved Nutritional Facts & Safety Tips


Dr. Luqman Javed Photo


Dr. Luqman Javed

DVM (Veterinarian)

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

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Many people love to use sour cream on their favorite foods, particularly tacos, fajitas, burritos, and chili. Sour cream is dairy, like milk, and milk is commonly given to cats. So, you might surmise that sour cream is a perfectly safe treat to serve 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 are 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 from this condition. In fact, most adult cats are lactose intolerant, so any type of dairy is bad for them. That doesn’t mean that a small dollop of sour cream or a saucer of milk will kill them; it almost certainly won’t. But depending on your cat’s intolerance, certain amounts of dairy could cause digestive problems for your feline.

Can Sour Cream Benefit Your Cat?

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

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

Is Sour Cream Bad for Cats?

The truth is that each cat can react to sour cream and any dairy product in a completely different manner. As humans all have their tolerances and allergies, so do cats. Still, most felines are lactose intolerant, so there’s a likelihood that your cat won’t respond well to dairy.

However, if you only give your cat sour cream in very small doses, it might not have any adverse effects, even if your cat is lactose intolerant. If your cat is not intolerant to lactose,  it might not hurt them to eat moderate amounts of sour cream.

Nonetheless, sour cream lacks any meaningful nutrition for your pet, therefore, even if they don’t react adversely to it, the food itself isn’t healthy for them. Therefore, it’s still recommended that you limit the amount of sour cream to very small and occasional doses.

Sour cream contains a lot of fat. Cats are not well equipped to digest the fat found in sour cream, as it is different from natural animal fats their bodies are used to handling. In some cases, eating a large meal of fat, such as a large portion of sour cream, can even cause hyperlipidemia, where there’s too much fat in the bloodstream.

The other side effect won’t happen from a single meal, but offering fatty treats to your cat too often can easily lead to them becoming overweight and obese. This will inhibit your cat’s physical ability and lower their overall quality of life. Furthermore, overweight cats are more likely to deal with severe 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 occasionally 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 feed your cat.

We recommend never feeding your cat more than a teaspoon of sour cream at a time. It’s also best if you only give your cat sour cream once in a while; remember that even if it doesn’t cause digestive problems, it’s not healthy for them.

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

Featured Image Credit: Welikodub, Pixabay

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