Whipped cream seems to make any type of dessert just a little better, so lots of people like to have it on occasion. But is whipped cream safe for cats? Should you give your cat any amount of it or not?
We’re answering both of these questions in today’s post, so keep on reading!
Is whipped cream safe for cats?
Technically, no. If you have been a cat guardian for several years now and you might have done some research on the feline diet in general, you might have found out that most cats become lactose-intolerant once they reach the age of 3-4 months.
But they become lactose-intolerant to lactose coming from milk varieties such as cow’s milk or other traditional types of dairy.
There are plenty of cat milk options available for sale these days, and they do not cause symptoms of lactose intolerance even in adult cats. But they are made specifically for this species, so that’s why they are safe.
Usually, the vast majority of whipped cream you are likely to encounter at your local store is made with regular dairy milk/cream.
While most cats are indeed lactose-intolerant, the same rule does not apply to all.
There are exceptions, but the amount of whipped cream or dairy products that even these pets should receive should always be limited – as they can produce various digestive imbalances, mainly consisting of diarrhea.
So, while it’s difficult to tell if your cat does indeed have lactose intolerance or not and if whipped cream is appropriate for them, the safest answer to the question in the title of this article would be ‘No.’ No, whipped cream is not healthy for cats.
Are there any risks to giving whipped cream to cats?
Yes, and there are several dangers you are exposing your feline companion to when giving them whipped cream.
Sugar & too many calories
Even if you make your own whipped cream at home, chances are that it is also made from milk or cream, whether plant-based or not, and sugar. And as you probably know, cats are not supposed to have sugar added to their diet in any way, shape, or form. This is another reason why ice cream, for example, does not make a safe snack for cats.
Excess sugar can sometimes lead to dangerous glycemic levels, especially in senior cats who might already have some form of diabetes in development and might be obese, too.
Because of the sugar and fat in it, whipped cream is also not the lightest type of food to give to cats, particularly calorie-wise. It just doesn’t supply them with any healthy nutrients, it is not species-appropriate, and it is too heavy and rich in sugar, too.
An episode consisting of diarrhea and even vomiting is not uncommon in cats that are lactose-intolerant, and despite being so, they find whipped cream and other dairy products appealing.
Normally, if the animal is completely healthy besides this mishap, the symptoms will subside in less than 48 hours. However, certain cat categories, such as those that are expecting, seniors, as well as kittens, should never be given dairy products (including whipped cream) to eliminate this risk.
Preservatives and other additives
Store-bought whipped cream is not really healthy for humans, let alone cats.
These days, manufacturers add a lot of strange and potentially dangerous ingredients to their recipes, either because they want to make the products more palatable, low-fat, low-sugar, or diet in general, or because they need to ensure that whipped cream remains shelf-stable for a long period of time.
When you’re giving your cat store-bought whipped cream, you’re giving them these chemicals, too.
And while most additives might not cause concerns immediately, some of them can be carcinogenic, so they may lead to your cat developing cancer later on in life.
Some whipped cream varieties can contain vanilla extract instead of real vanilla (and let’s face it, most do these days, given how much real vanilla actually costs), but the problem with the extract is that it contains ethyl alcohol, which is just unsafe for cats.
While cats might not necessarily get drunk because of you giving them whipped cream, that remains a possibility. Some can have toxic reactions to this ingredient, so why take the risk?
What to do if your cat ate whipped cream
Ideally, you should call your vet as soon as possible. Even if your cat is a completely healthy adult, your vet can give you useful advice on what symptoms you should be on the lookout for.
If you have no means of getting in contact with a veterinarian and you think your cat is healthy, make sure you pay attention to their behavior over a period of 24 to 48 hours. See how often they go use their litter box, and don’t be afraid to check out the consistency of their feces, either.
If your cat has had a large amount of whipped cream (perhaps they ate it off the top of the cake you just prepared and that you left unattended), go to the emergency veterinary clinic in your area.
Do cats even like whipped cream?
It is a matter of personal preference. Some cats never like the taste of any dairy product whatsoever, and they will do their best to avoid it all throughout their life.
However, whipped cream can somewhat appeal to cats because of one main reason – its fluffy, luscious, creamy, and fat consistency.
Cats don’t taste as we do, so they do not distinguish salty, sugary, or other types of taste that we may like.
However, they certainly do like their fatty consistencies because, in their minds, they not only taste good or interesting, but they’re also nutritious. In the wild, feral cats do not remove the fat from the meat of their prey – specifically because it supplies them with valuable energy.
On the other hand, your cat might be smart enough to sense the chemicals that might be present in the whipped cream, whether that be the ethyl alcohol from the vanilla extract or something different – so they might refuse to try it altogether.
Can whipped cream still make an occasional safe treat?
Whipped cream is not species-appropriate. It doesn’t even contain any antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber, or anything else of value for cats, not to mention that it hardly has any useful protein for a species that is a true carnivore.