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Can Cats Eat Vanilla Ice Cream? Vet-Reviewed Facts & FAQ

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on June 10, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Can Cats Eat vanilla-ice-cream

Can Cats Eat Vanilla Ice Cream? Vet-Reviewed Facts & FAQ


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.

Learn more »

During the hot dog days of summer, cat owners may be tempted to treat their feline friends to a spoonful of yummy and refreshing vanilla ice cream. It is a popular notion that kitties love lapping milk, so why would ice cream be any different? While vanilla ice cream does not contain any toxic ingredients for your cat, it is not considered a healthy treat, and you should avoid feeding it to them.

Let’s dig a little deeper into can cats eat vanilla ice cream. Here’s everything you need to know about your cat and vanilla ice cream.

divider 1 paws

Is Vanilla Ice Cream Safe for Cats?

While vanilla ice cream does not normally contain toxic ingredients for your cat, you should never serve them vanilla ice cream. Your cat should be fine if they lick some from your empty bowl or the ground; however, too much ice cream can cause severe digestive upset, causing your kitty to suffer from vomiting and diarrhea.

Vanilla ice cream may contain artificial sweeteners instead of sugar. One type of sweetener is highly toxic to dogs, and even though its toxicity is not fully proven in cats, it’s recommended to avoid it at all times. The good news is that a sweet-tasting treat won’t be a huge temptation for your kitty. In fact, felines lack the ability to taste sweet favors and, therefore, will not appreciate sweet-tasting ice cream. If there is any chocolate ice cream mixed in with the vanilla, avoid offering it to your cat. Any type of chocolate is poisonous to cats and may be fatal.

Moreover, most cats are lactose intolerant, and this is another reason to avoid feeding them ice cream. Just like humans, some cats aren’t able to properly digest the lactose found in dairy products.

Why Do Cats Like Vanilla Ice Cream?

While cats can’t taste sweetness, some may still love vanilla ice cream. They might be attracted to the high carb and fat contents of dairy products, such as vanilla ice cream and whole milk.

ginger cat next to ice cream cone
Image Credit: khanfus, Shutterstock

Why Is Too Much Vanilla Ice Cream Bad for Cats?

While the old adage claims that you can’t have too much of a good thing, that isn’t true when wondering can cats eat ice cream. Any sweet treat fed to a cat in excess won’t leave much room for them to dine on their cat-specific, nutritious food. This can lead to health problems. Additionally, vanilla ice cream is packed with unhealthy fat, which cats don’t need.

Can Cats Get Brain Freeze?

You’re probably well aware of the throbbing headache you can get when you eat too much ice cream. But can cats get brain freeze too?

Surprisingly enough, the answer is probably yes. That is because your furry friend has similar kinds of vascular and nervous system pathways as you. Since brain freeze causes changes to the blood vessel size, your cat can probably suffer from the same piercing headache as you.

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divider 2 cats

Final Verdict

While vanilla ice cream does not contain any toxic ingredients for your cat, you should avoid feeding it voluntarily. Your cat may love this yummy treat, but considering it contains lactose and it is high in fat and carbohydrates, it’s better to stay away from it. You can, however, make your own cat-friendly ice cream and feed it to your cat if they love a cold treat. Avoid giving them any ice cream at all since most cats are lactose intolerant. And if you prefer chocolate over vanilla ice cream, remember that a cat should never, ever consume any chocolate products.

So, you can allow your kitty to lap up some vanilla ice cream the next time you enjoy a bowl!

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Featured Photo Credit: ponce_photography, Pixabay

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