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Can Cats Eat Mint Ice Cream? Vet-Reviewed Health Facts

Written by: Misty Layne

Last Updated on June 20, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Eat Mint Ice Cream

Can Cats Eat Mint Ice Cream? Vet-Reviewed Health Facts


Dr. Karyn Kanowski Photo


Dr. Karyn Kanowski

Veterinarian, BVSc MRCVS

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

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It’s funny that cats are often portrayed lapping at saucers of cream or a dish of milk, because the fact is, cats shouldn’t have dairy. While kittens can handle milk, most cats begin to become lactose intolerant after they reach the age where they stop nursing. And that makes dairy products something you want to avoid giving your kitty.

That includes mint ice cream, too. While a couple of licks of this ice cream won’t harm your cat, eating too much of it could cause problems—and not only because of the dairy! Mint ice cream is unhealthy for your cat for a number of reasons.

divider 2 cats

Cats & Dairy

Why can kittens drink milk safely but not older cats? Kittens are fine drinking milk because when they are born; their bodies contain the enzymes required to digest the lactose found in dairy. But once kittens are weaned onto solid foods, their bodies start losing these enzymes that digest lactose. That means that by the time kittens reach one year old, they are essentially lactose intolerant. And consuming dairy after that point can result in symptoms similar to those of a lactose-intolerant person, such as diarrhea, stomach upset, gassiness, and bloating.

So, if your kitty has more than a couple of licks of ice cream, there’s a good chance they’ll experience these symptoms.

Image Credit: Couleur, Pixabay

Why Else is Mint Ice Cream Bad for Cats?

You might have looked at the word “mint” in this article’s headline and thought, “But isn’t mint toxic to cats”? Technically, yes, mint is toxic to felines, but only in large amounts. Mint ice cream typically only has 2% or less of mint extract, so even if your kitty has managed to steal a scoop or two of mint ice cream, they are unlikely to suffer from mint toxicity, the signs of which are very similar to the symptoms of lactose intolerance (vomiting, diarrhea, bloating). If you notice any of these signs occurring for an hour or longer, it’s time to head to the vet!

Why else is mint ice cream a bad idea for a cat? Ice cream (of any kind) is high in calories, fat, and sugar, none of which is healthy for your cat. Obesity in felines is one of the most commonly seen nutritional disorders, so extra calories and fat aren’t things your pet needs more of in their diet. Sticking to their regular cat food and the occasional cat snack will give your cat all the calories they need, and anything extra can lead to weight gain, resulting in health issues like diabetes.

Then there are other ingredients often found in mint ice cream, specifically chocolate. Mint chocolate chip is a favorite of many people, but those chocolate chips are toxic to your cat. And if you’re eating sugar or fat-free ice cream, you might find xylitol as an ingredient, which may be highly harmful to your cat, as well.

Mint Ice Cream
Image By: nblx,Shutterstock

What About Dairy or Lactose-Free Ice Cream?

Ice cream that doesn’t contain lactose or dairy may seem like a safer bet for your cat—and it is, slightly. But even lactose-free ice cream has small amounts of lactose, so there’s still a chance it could upset your pet’s stomach. Whether an ice cream has dairy or lactose, it will still be unhealthy for your kitty due to its fat, calories, and sugar.

It really is best to avoid any kind of ice cream altogether for your pet and instead keep them on their regular diet so they stay as healthy as possible.

divider 2 catsConclusion

Mint ice cream isn’t a food you should give your cat; however, if they have managed to get a lick or two of it, they’ll most likely be just fine (at most, they might experience a bit of stomach upset). Ice cream isn’t a wise treat for kitties because felines are lactose intolerant, plus it contains way too many calories and other unhealthy things to justify feeding it to your pet.

If your cat is really craving a treat, set them up with some delicious cat treats instead. While these treats should still be given in moderation, they’re a much safer bet for your pet.

But, if you would like to treat your cat to a treat on a warm summer’s day, check out these Vet Approved Homemade Cat Ice Cream Recipes!

Related Read:

Featured Image Credit: Anna_Pustynnikova,Shutterstock

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