can cats eat ice cream

Can Cats Eat Ice Cream? How Dangerous Is It?

If you’ve seen YouTube videos of cats getting brain freeze while eating ice cream, you might be tempted to give your cat a spoonful or two.

Unfortunately, all that milk and sugar could cause more than just a brain freeze!

Allowing your cat to eat ice cream is a risk not worth taking, as it can cause adverse reactions.

If you do decide to give your cat ice cream, moderation is key. Only give a little bit so you don’t trigger side effects that cause discomfort to your beloved pet. 

Alternatively, you could buy (or make) specially formulated dairy-free ice cream for cats.

Read on as we answer common questions about cats and ice cream as well as tips on finding healthy ice cream alternatives.

Why Is Ice Cream Bad For Cats?

If you’ve ever Googled “can cats eat ice cream?”, you might see conflicting points of view. While humans are entitled to their opinions, reality has to be backed up by scientific facts.

According to experts, research studies prove that most cats are lactose intolerant. This means that giving them ice cream is a bad idea!

cat having a taste of oblivious mans ice cream

To put it simply, cats have difficulty digesting dairy products including foods made with cream such as whipped cream, milk, cheese, and butter.

Sugar is also something that poses a risk to your cat, especially if they consume a large amount in one go.

There are many reasons why it isn’t healthy for cats to eat sweet human foods for example maple syrup.

It can result in long-term obesity problems if it becomes a regular thing and in the short term you can expect to deal with cat diarrhea and stomach problems from milk and sugar consumption.

Ask a Vet

If you are concerned that your cat may have eaten a dangerous amount of ice cream we recommend you speak with a vet ASAP.

JustAnswer allows you to talk in real-time to veterinary experts for a small fee.

In general, it isn’t advisable to feed animals any human foods – instead, make sure to provide them with a good quality cat food.

Do Cats Like The Taste Of Ice Cream?

Not really; your cat may be drawn to ice cream because of its high fat and carbohydrate content, but this doesn’t mean that they appreciate the flavor!

Surprisingly, cats aren’t big on sugar because their taste receptors don’t aren’t built to recognize sweetness. 

grey cat lying next to chocolate cupcakes

Cats enjoy getting their vitamins and proteins from raw meat more than anything.

Human food may look delicious to your pets, but it’s processed, packed with calories, and unhealthy to consume.

In case your cat has the desire to eat some of your ice cream, try to give them some special kitty ice cream instead.

What Happens If Your Cat Eats Some?

Whether by accident or on purpose, feeding your cat foods with milk and sugars such as ice cream or popsicles has zero health benefits and can cause adverse reactions.

If they consume a big dose quickly, the cold temperatures will cause a brain freeze through the constriction of blood vessels and nerves.

This could be a cause for concern, especially since their eyes will start twitching as they struggle to process the strange sensation.

Some people may allow their pets to consume dairy products, but make sure you don’t do it on a regular basis.

If you don’t feed them with care, cats may experience tummy aches, nausea, a lot of gas, or diarrhea.

ill looking cat

If your cat ends up having a lick of your ice cream for dessert, make sure you stop them before they get carried away!

On the other hand, too much sugar in their diet can cause feline diabetes with symptoms like obesity, dehydration, vomiting, and excess urination.

When you notice your pets gaining weight rapidly, they may be eating plenty of sweets and require a check-up at the vet.

Can Cats Eat Ice Cream And Drink Milk When They’re Kittens?

Kittens are definitely more tolerant of dairy products than full-grown cats!

Lactase enzyme is the compound responsible for breaking down milk in cat stomachs.

Kittens are born with more lactase enzymes as they get milk nutrients from their mother while they’re young.

When a kitten grows up, these compounds decrease as they eat more solid cat food – eventually, they become lactose intolerant.

can my cat drink milk?

However, according to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), you shouldn’t feed your kittens ice cream at all.

Doing so could interfere with their digestive system at an early age.

As adults, their lactose intolerance prevents them from enjoying milk the same way they used to. 

The livers of grown cats lack an enzyme called glucokinase, which helps regulate their metabolism for carbohydrates.

This means that too much of a good thing can be disastrous for cats, which is why it’s crucial to keep them on a balanced and healthy diet.

Can You Buy Purpose Made Ice Cream That Is Safe For Cats?

The good news is that cat ice cream exists!

Instead of using cow milk, some brands use ingredients like skim milk, goat’s milk, or yogurt.

can cats eat ice cream

You can also opt for homemade recipes using goat milk ice cream and greek yogurt to help with the digestion of lactose. 

There’s no shame in buying ice cream formulated for cats, but that doesn’t mean that they can eat as much as they want!

Cats are only meant to eat sweet treats in small quantities, so make sure that you pick products without added sweeteners. 

Vanilla ice cream is a popular choice, but feeding your cat chocolate ice cream is a dealbreaker.

Some chocolate flavors contain a cocoa powder that produces an alkaloid toxin called theobromine.

Consuming even small amounts of it could lead to serious health issues or death in cats and dogs. 


To prevent your cat from experiencing any health issues, it’s important to keep them away from eating human foods.

So, the next time your cat starts begging you for some ice cream, be prepared with an alternative. Your cat will be thanking you in the long run!

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