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Can Cats Eat Maple Syrup? Vet-Approved Risks & Recommendations

Written by: Melissa Gunter

Last Updated on June 14, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

maple syrup in glass bottle on wooden table

Can Cats Eat Maple Syrup? Vet-Approved Risks & Recommendations

VET APPROVED

Dr. Karyn Kanowski Photo

REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Dr. Karyn Kanowski

Veterinarian, BVSc MRCVS

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

Learn more »

Cats can be unpredictable creatures that aren’t big on abiding by the rules. If your cat wants to investigate something, they will. If your cat sees something they think could be tasty on the counter, they’ll most likely go for it. That’s just how cats are. This leaves kitty owners constantly trying to learn what’s safe for their cats to eat and the things that aren’t good for them. What about maple syrup? Can cats eat maple syrup? While maple syrup isn’t toxic to cats, it doesn’t benefit them, and is high in sugar, which your kitty doesn’t need.

Let’s take a deep dive into the relationship between cats and maple syrup so you can better understand why it’s best not to give this tasty syrup to your kitty.

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What Is Maple Syrup?

Maple syrup was first made by the Indigenous People of North America, out of the sap of a maple tree. To prepare for winter, maple trees store starch in their trunks and roots. This starch then becomes sugar that will rise into the tree’s branches during the later part of the winter and early spring. The maple tree is tapped and holes are drilled into the trunk so the sap can be collected. Once it is heated, the water evaporates and what is left is concentrated syrup.

Canada is responsible for the majority of the maple syrup found around the world – even their flag features the maple leaf! The syrup features a dark amber color and is rich in flavor. There are 90 different varieties of maple syrup; the flavor is based on the age and variety of tree it comes from. Even how the syrup is tapped and made can affect how it tastes. And if that’s not enough, ingredients like caramel, vanilla, and nuts, have also been added to various recipes.

Pail used to collect sap of maple trees to produce maple syrup in Quebec
Image Credit: Marc Bruxelle, Shutterstock

Can Cats Eat Maple Syrup?

If your cat has a taste or two of maple syrup, it won’t hurt them. Maple syrup is not toxic to cats. However, your cat may experience an upset stomach if they eat large amounts of maple syrup, because it’s not something they usually eat so their bodies may not be able to digest it properly.

So if you are wondering if you can offer your kitty some maple syrup, it’s not really a good idea. Interestingly, most cats aren’t big on sweets; they taste receptors that allow them to taste sweet foods. This doesn’t mean they won’t enjoy maple syrup if it is offered to them, but they won’t necessarily seek out a sweet treat like this. However, there isn’t much found inside maple syrup your kitty needs as part of their normal diet.

The Sugar in Maple Syrup

One of the biggest reasons your cat shouldn’t have maple syrup as part of their diet is the sugar content. Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they get most of their nutrition from the meat they eat. With your kitty unable to taste the sweetness of sugar, and sugar offering them no nutritional benefits, there is no reason to give your kitty a sweet treat like maple syrup. They are simply consuming calories they don’t need. Eating sugar in large amounts can cause your kitty to suffer from gastrointestinal upset in the short term, weight gain and obesity if they consume it regularly, which can increase their risk of developing feline diabetes.

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What Your Cat Should Be Eating

If you want your kitty to have a healthy diet, you should focus on providing them with high-quality cat food that is formulated for their life stage. Kittens should eat food that is specially formulated for them, as their protein requirements are even higher than those of adult cats. Once a kitty is old enough, they can be switched to adult food. You’ll find lots of food brands and options available for your kitty. You can even opt to make their foods yourself or look into feeding a raw-food diet. The key is to ensure you carefully read what’s in your cat’s food and ensure all their dietary requirements are being met. If you have questions about those needs, you can reach out to your veterinarian for suggestions and assistance.

grey-british-cat-sitting-near-food-bowl
Image Credit: TarasBeletskiy, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

As you can see, maple syrup, no matter how tasty it is, isn’t the best treat to offer your kitty. However, it isn’t toxic to cats. If your kitty happens to steal a taste of maple syrup, they should be just fine. If they eat quite a bit, you should keep your eyes open for a bit of stomach upset. If in doubt, simply reach out to your veterinarian for assistance.


Featured Image Credit: showcake, Shutterstock

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