Are you thinking about sharing this sweet, fluffy topping with your kitty? Let’s find out if whipped cream is safe for cats and if there are any possible health effects.
We, humans, love our whipped cream on pie, ice cream, cake, lattes, and other sweet treats. And it can be too cute to swipe a dab of whipped cream on your cat’s nose (Instagram moment!) and watch her lick it off. Most of us grew up believing that cats and a saucer of milk go together like dogs and bones, but is it okay to give your feline friend whipped cream and other dairy products? If you’ve been giving your feline friend whipped cream, should you worry?
Can Cats Eat Whipped Cream?
Even though it is now toxic, it’s not a good idea to give your cat whipped cream. For some kitties, a little dab of whipped cream may be okay once in a while, but it’s still best to keep your cat away from this topping most of the time. Cats also don’t have a sweet tooth — they can’t taste sweet flavors at all. So whipped cream isn’t nearly the treat it is for them as it is for you.
Why Is Whipped Cream Bad For Cats?
While whipped cream isn’t toxic for cats, most of the ingredients in whipped cream aren’t healthy for cats to consume. First, whipped cream’s main ingredient is milk sugar (lactose), and many cats are lactose intolerant.
You’re probably wondering how cats can be lactose intolerant since they drink their mother’s milk after birth. Newborns and young kittens have plenty of the enzyme lactase that helps the body break down and digest lactose. However, as they age, many cats no longer produce this enzyme, so their digestive tract can’t break down lactose.
Other ingredients commonly found in whipped cream are also unhealthy for cats.
- Felines have similar intolerance to sugar.
- Sugar, corn syrup, vegetable oils, and similar ingredients have no nutritional value. Over time, they can cause obesity, diabetes, tooth decay, and other health problems.
- Vanilla extract, a common ingredient in whipped cream, contains high concentrations of ethyl alcohol, which is unsafe for cats. While a small amount of whipped cream on rare occasions may be okay, consuming large amounts of whipped cream could potentially cause alcohol poisoning in your cat.
- Some whipped cream brands may also contain artificial ingredients that aren’t healthy for cats.
What Happens When Cats Eat Whipped Cream?
When cats ingest foods containing lactose, the undigested lactose sits in their digestive system and starts to ferment and produce gas. This leads to bloating, an upset tummy, and sometimes vomiting roughly 10 hours after consuming dairy. And as the lactose passes through the intestines, a lot of water gets drawn in with it, creating a perfect storm for diarrhea. If your cat gets into some whipped cream keep your eye out for signs and symptoms that they may not feel well. They may need a trip or a call to the veterinarian for advice on how to treat these symptoms.
One ingredient to look out for is the artificial sweeter xylitol. This substance is toxic to kitties and can cause a severe reaction if they ingest too much. Always read the ingredients of anything you buy, and avoid feeding any feline artificial sweeteners.
What Other Foods Should I Avoid Giving My Cat?
Some common human foods that you should never give your cat include:
- Raw meat, fish, eggs, & bones
- Yeast dough
- Onions, garlic, & chives
- Grapes & raisins
- Baked goods like donuts
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Cool Whip safe for cats?
Yes, technically, Cool Whip is safe for cats, meaning it’s not toxic. But that doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Cool Whip contains hydrogenated vegetable oil, high fructose corn syrup, and other high-sugar and fat ingredients.
Can cats have whipped cream from Starbucks?
Starbucks whipped cream doesn’t contain any toxic ingredients for cats, so a little lick on occasion is probably fine. But if you treat your dog with a Starbucks Puppuccino, don’t get your kitty her own Puppuccino — it may be too much dairy and sugar for her tummy to handle.
Can cats have heavy whipping cream?
Heavy whipping cream is also not healthy for cats. Although not all cats are lactose intolerant, it’s best to avoid all dairy products to be on the safe side. And heavy whipping cream is very high in fat (up to 40%), which can lead to obesity down the road.
Giving your cat a little dab of whipped cream (about half a teaspoon) once in a while is fine as long as it doesn’t upset her stomach or cause diarrhea. If you think your kitty is lactose intolerant but loves a whipped cream treat, you could go with a dairy-free, almond-milk-based whipped cream, which is safe for cats. But again, give only small amounts on rare occasions.
Still, there are many healthier treat alternatives for your furry friend. Since cats are carnivores, a little piece of cooked fish, chicken, or egg, will probably be a bigger hit than whipped cream. Just remember to give any treat in moderation. Added calories can quickly turn into unwanted pounds.