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Can Cats Eat Chocolate Ice Cream?

Updated: August 11, 2022 by Kristen Chapple

As a person who’s been in love with cats for all my life, I completely understand human frailty when it comes to those whimsical creatures. I am the first to fall for that look in their eyes when they spot a piece of food in my hands. But experience has taught me how to resist and say no. It’s never been easy, but that’s the burden a good parent has to carry!

Chocolate ice cream has long made its way to the top of the list of forbidden things for my cats. If it’s not on your list, make room for it right away.

And I mean it! Resist the temptation and never feed chocolate (or chocolate ice cream – or any ice cream!) to your pet. The reasons why it’s extremely detrimental and even dangerous to their health are numerous, and all of them have to do with the ingredients.

It’s hard to even enlist all the toxic components that your pet would be ingesting if she ate some chocolate ice cream. Cocoa is bad. Sugar is bad. Different additives are bad. Hell, even milk is bad! To put it in the mildest terms, chocolate ice cream just wasn’t meant to be eaten by pets. So, the answer to can cats eat ice cream would be to keep that treat to yourself and give your cat something else, tailored to his nutritional needs and delicate digestive system.

Why Is Chocolate Ice Cream Bad for My Cat?

Cocoa is one of the reasons why chocolate is so yummy to us. It’s also probably the sole reason why it is actually good for us. And the more cocoa it contains, the better. The Mayas and Aztecs had done their homework and even had a cocoa god, and used cocoa beans in their marriage ceremonies! They knew what was what. (Not that I can’t understand this attitude, as an ardent fan of chocolate.)

However, cocoa isn’t friendly to cats. In fact, it is downright toxic, due to an alkaloid substance named theobromine. This substance acts as a diuretic. For you and me, it only means we’ll be hitting the restroom for number one soon after devouring some chocolate.

For our cats, however, theobromine can cause poisoning and, in most extreme cases, even death. They can’t metabolize it easily, so it can quickly build up to a deathly amount. Its processing goes through the cat’s liver instead of kidneys, and that tiny little liver just can’t manage to break down the substance like ours would.

That’s why I went nuts when I spotted my cat feasting on my chocolate bar a while ago. She sneaked into my room, sniffed out my secret stash and decided to give it a shot. Luckily, I had already eaten most of it, so the episode just suited to remind me to pay more attention into hiding my valuables.

And cocoa is far from being the sole reason why cats shouldn’t eat chocolate ice cream.

Sugar is the reason number two – and not less dangerous. Everybody knows that sugar is bad for us. To cats, it’s even worse. It can cause obesity, poor dental health, diabetes – just like with us humans, only much faster. But even if it weren’t bad for them, they wouldn’t get anything from it, not even the taste as the most addictive component. They just don’t have receptors for sweets, so we don’t really know how they would perceive it.

And now to the third ingredient of our favorite summer treat, milk. Throughout the whole 20th century, cat owners from all over the globe took for granted that milk was natural food for cats. And that was based on the fact that most cats actually love it. In fact, milk is probably the sole reason why your cat is attracted to that ice cream pint.

Nowadays, we know better than to feed milk to cats. Most felines are actually lactose intolerant, which means milk will upset their tummies and possibly cause diarrhea and other issues.

So, now you understand my cruel attitude when the little lady bows and scrapes to me after spotting a pint and a spoon in my hands.

Maybe it sounds like a huge injustice. Maybe you will suffer along with Fluffy at the sight of that creamy, crunchy, aromatic bowl of sweetness. But don’t despair – for your cat, ice cream would never have the same allure it has for you. Her eyeing it doesn’t mean she would enjoy it. It just springs out of curiosity and that special wish to share in one more activity with you.

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