cat licking a cream but can cats eat whipped cream?

Can cats eat whipped cream?

As a vet, I get this question A LOT!. Whipped cream is a dairy product. It is cheap, sweet, and incredibly delicious.

No wonder why cats may be tempted to eat it!

However, is it suitable for our felines to eat? 

Find out!

READ MORE: Is Arugula Bad for Cats?

Is Whipped Cream Harmful to Cats?

whipped cream on a ceramic bowl

Unfortunately, the answer is yes. We know that whipped cream comes from human foods that contain a lot of fat and high protein content.

Notably, our pets have digestive system issues and lactose intolerance to human food. Sweet foods and milk products can cause upset stomachs in a cat’s digestive system.

Cats have food intolerances and generally should stick to a list of foods, that are nutritional and healthy in the natural diet. Of course, occasional treats excluding harmful ingredients are fine.

Keep in mind that cats are carnivores, and their diet should concentrate on these types of foods.

Why Shouldn’t Cats Eat Whipped Cream?

cat reaching the plate with piece of cake

“Is whipped cream bad for cats?”  Yes, whipped cream or any other type of dairy product can upset a cat’s digestive system and even be painful for them.

Even though whipped cream has a creamy, sweet, and delicious taste to both cats and humans, it is not particularly good for our pets. A cat’s digestive system differs from a human’s.

So let’s take a closer look at why it is best to avoid giving your cat this tempting ‘treat’.

Lactose Intolerant

Cats lack lactase enzymes; even kittens have very few of them and show not have dairy products.

Contrary to what is easy to assume, a cat mother’s milk does not contain much lactose. This means that they are lactose intolerant. Some people also suffer from this and also have to avoid dairy.

Milk and other dairy products include lactose. It is present in dairy products such as whipped cream and ice cream.

This video does a good job of explaining lactose intolerance in cats.

Sugar

Whipped creams can have high sugar content. The amount will vary from product to product, but it is still there. As cats are designed to eat a meat-based diet, their digestive system does not cope well with sugar.

In fact, it can cause all kinds of health issues, including diabetes, vomiting, stomach pain, and weight gain.

Vanilla Extract

Many creams include vanilla extract, which contains a high amount of ethyl alcohol.

It is best to completely avoid giving cats vanilla extract as even a tiny bit too much can lead or alcohol poisoning. It can even have a severe effect on the liver.

Artificial Sweeteners

It is best to avoid artificial sweeteners in any part of your pet’s diet. At best, they will cause digestive upset; at worst, if it contains xylitol, it can cause liver failure and even death.

Xylitol also has a major effect on blood sugar levels, causing them to drop significantly, trigging severe health problems.

High Fat Content

Whipped cream is high in fat, which is not ideal for your kitty. Even a small amount gives your cat too many calories and can lead to weight problems.

Whipped cream has around 51 calories per spoonful. Assuming that the typical feline weighs 10 pounds, the average kitty would require 120 calories each day.

It would be equivalent to roughly half of their daily calorie intake if you gave them merely one spoonful of whipped cream. So, eating whipped cream can cause obesity in your feline friend.

Due to its high calorie and sugar content, whipped cream can be particularly hazardous to cats that are overweight or have diabetes.

There are safer treats for cats that won’t cause any stomach discomfort or other health issues to your furry friend.

Corn Syrup

Some whipped creams will contain corn syrup which is terrible for everyone, including cats. It is similar to giving your cat sugar; some even contain xylitol.

Carrageenan

You might not be familiar with Carrageenan; I didn’t know what it was until recently. It is used in food products to create a creamy texture and helps stabilize them. And is most types of whipped cream.

However, there is controversy about whether it is safe for pets or if it causes harmful inflammation and even cancer.

Though it is not thought to be a carcinogen. It is even found in some pet foods, so if it concerns you, you might want to investigate it further.

Nitrous Oxide

While it is unlikely your cat will be exposed to much nitrous oxide if you use whipped cream from a can, you should still avoid it. It isn’t a natural part of a cat’s diet and is just another chemical they don’t need.

Now that we know why cats can’t have whipped cream, let’s look at some other foods that are bad for them  Does this apply to other dairy products?  Yes, absolutely. Let’s take a look.

READ MORE: Is Cinnamon Okay for Cats?

Check more toxic foods cats can’t eat!

What Happens if Your Cat Eats Whipped Cream?

cat licking a cupcake with whipped cream but can cats eat whipped cream safely?

My pretty cat has only licked a small amount of fresh cream at a time and as a result, has never shown any adverse reactions. A tiny bit here and there is probably ok unless it contains xylitol.

However, if your cat eats a lot or is very sensitive, it might have the adverse effects I discussed above.

The adverse effects of lactose-rich foods have two main unpleasant results. One of these is a cat’s colon often produces a foul mixture of fluids due to fermentation caused by bacteria and unprocessed lactose sugar.

It also produces unstable fatty acids. This all results in an unpleasant situation for your cat and you! And it means that your cat may vomit in the next 8 to 12 hours, have diarrhea, or both.

The other main effect is pain. With all of the above going on in their digestive tract, you can see why it is pretty uncomfortable!

What Should You Do If Your Cat Eats Whipped Cream?

Please see your veterinarian if you are frightened that your cat will get sick after eating whipped cream.

If your cat eats too much whipped cream, he may experience:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Decreased appetite

These symptoms appear within 8-12 hours due to this undigested lactose. 

Your vet will be able to diagnose what’s wrong with your cat based on his symptoms. They may recommend an antibiotic to treat the infection.

Your vet may suggest that you feed him a special diet formulated for cats who have lactose intolerance.

This diet includes lactose-free food, such as dry kibble, canned food, and so forth.

Other Dairy Products That are Bad for Cats

As you saw above, cats can’t digest lactose.  Whipped cream isn’t the only dairy product to contain lactose. 

Even your cat sneaking a taste of your Starbucks coffee will expose your cat to lactose, sugar, caffeine, and other ingredients it should not have. 

So, let’s take a look at what other dairy products your cat shouldn’t have.

Cheese

  • A considerable quantity of lactose is present in cheese, as it is in other dairy products. On the other hand, cheese tends to be lower in lactose than other dairy products.
  • Even though it has a high fat and protein content, and cats enjoy cheese, it is not part of their natural diet.
  • Lactose intolerance can cause diarrhea as it causes more water to enter the intestines. It also creates gas which can lead to digestive pain.

Yogurt

  • Cats benefit from yogurt due to the digestive issues it causes. Lactose is present in yogurt, even though it contains beneficial living cultures that are excellent for your cat’s stomach.
  • In the absence of lactose-free yogurt, you should avoid this dairy product.

Cow Milk

  • Cow milk is pretty similar to whipped cream in terms of consistency. Cream and milk both include lactose that your cat cannot digest.
  • It is more common to give milk to cats as a treat as they love it and it is a mistake many cat parents unknowingly make. However, it can also lead to many of the same problems as whipped cream. Milk also contains emulsifiers that can be hazardous.
  • Cow milk is sweet and contains lactose, glucose, and so forth. All bad for your cat’s health.

To learn more about why milk is bad for cats check out this video from a vet.

Chocolate

  • Chocolate is toxic to cats, just like it is for dogs
  • It contains milk products and sugar, as you saw above, are pretty bad for cats
  • Chocolate also contains theobromine and can also contain caffeine. Theobromine is toxic for cats, and eating chocolate can make your cat very sick and even cause death.

Ice Cream

  • Not only does ice cream contain dairy, making it unsuitable for cats, but it is also high in fat and sugar.
  • Chocolate ice cream is particularly bad.
  • Even sugar-free ice cream should be avoided as it contains artificial sweeteners, which might be the very toxic xylitol.

Watch this video explanation:

Check more toxic foods cats can’t eat!

Other Foods That Are Bad for Cats

Dairy products aren’t the only foods that are bad for cats. There are several other types of food that can make your cat sick or worse.

Garlic and Onions

This includes scallions and shallots. These foods have a bad effect on your pet’s red blood cells. This can cause anemia. They are also very toxic if your cat eats too much, which will require an emergency trip to the vet.

Grapes

Raisins are included in this unsuitable food group for cats. Avoid letting your cat have these at all costs. Even eating a small amount can lead to severe illness such as kidney failure, which happens quickly.

Raw Eggs

Cats should not eat raw eggs due to the risk of E. coli and salmonella. If affected, your can will have vomiting, lethargy, and diarrhea. The same risk applies to your cat eating raw meat.

Fat Trimmings

While it is tempting to give your cat trimming, and they probably will like them, it can cause an upset stomach.

Liver

Liver contains too much vitamin A which can lead to toxicity. This will have a negative effect on your pet’s bones, some severe. It can even lead to death.

Check out this video to learn more about dangerous foods for cats.

Alternative Foods to Whipped Cream That Are Safe for Cats

You might be now wondering what you can replace whipped cream with that is a safe treat for your pet? Here are a few alternatives.

Note that dairy alternatives are not a good option as even though they might not contain lactose, they are likely to have some of the other ingredients mentioned that are unhealthy for cats.

Cooked Eggs

Cooked eggs are full of good nutrition for your cat. Just remember to prepare them plainly with no extras such as herbs, salt, or pepper. You can scramble or boil them. Either is ok.

Chicken

A couple of pieces of cooked chick is a great treat for your cat. My cat loves it!

Fish

As you probably know, cats are big fans of fish. It makes a nice treat for your pet; just make sure it is cooked and doesn’t contain any bones.

FAQs

Conclusion

Whipped cream is not a portion of healthy cat food. Cats cannot digest, whipped cream includes sugar, which can induce weight gain and other potentially dangerous substances.

I know this article helped you in caring for your feline, even in the event of accidental whipped cream consumption. 

whipped cream on a bowl

Can cats eat whipped cream? Let us know your opinion on this topic below!

References

  • 1. Coughlin FE, Johnson B. Gastroenteritis Outbreaks from Cream-Filled Pastry. American Journal of Public Health and the Nations Health. 1941;31:245–50.
  • 2. Can Cats Eat Sweets: What You Should Know About Cats and Sugary Treats . Bond Vet. . Available from: https://bondvet.com/b/can-cats-eat-sweets-what-you-should-know-about-cats-and-sugary-treats#:~:text=If%20your%20furry%20friend%20eats
  • 3. chris. Artificial Sweeteners and Pets . West Park Animal Hospital. 2019 . Available from: https://www.westparkanimalhospital.com/blog/artificial-sweeteners-and-pets/#:~:text=The%20Bottom%20Line
  • 4. Fries WC. Cats and Dairy: Get the Facts . WebMD. . Available from: https://pets.webmd.com/cats/features/cats-and-dairy-get-the-facts#1
Linda
Linda

Dr. Linda Simon MVB MRCVS is a locum veterinary surgeon who has worked in London for the past 8 years. She graduated top of her class in small animal medicine from UCD, Dublin. She is currently a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.
Linda is the resident vet for Woman magazine and a frequent contributor to People’s Friend Magazine, the Dogzone website, Vet Help Direct and Wag! Linda also writes content for the CVS veterinary group, Vetwriter and a number of other establishments.

As well as working in clinic, Linda is an online vet for www. JustAnswer.com where she has been providing online advice for thousands of owners since 2018.

In her spare time, Linda enjoys baking, yoga and running around after her young son!

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