Can cats eat sweets a guide for caring owners

Cat Food

Many owners try to pamper their favorite pets with all kinds of treats. But what about sweets: should we give them to cats, are they good for their health? We all cringe when we see a cat licking the cream of a cake or gnawing on chocolate with pleasure. We think that they are just as sweet as their owners. But this is not the case: it is not sugar that attracts cats, but other substances. 

A cat’s sensitivity to sugar

Cats are natural predators and lack the gene for sensing sweetness, so their receptors do not recognize sugar. So why, then, do cats like sweets and won’t turn down a tasty bite of cookie or chocolate? 

Why cats don’t discern the taste of sweets

A cat likes sugar is a myth invented by pet owners with no veterinary training. Members of the feline family are genetically incapable of understanding what a sweet taste is.

Can cats eat sweets a guide for caring owners
cats eat sweets

A 2005 study by the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia proved that the Tas1r2 gene is non-functional in cats. However, it is the gene responsible for the perception of sweetness.

Mutations appeared familiar to the entire feline family, but it was not clear whether this was a random feature or had to do with diet. After all, sugars are predominantly found in plant foods, and carnivores have no interest in the grass – hence, they don’t need the ability to sense sweetness either.

Zoologists concluded that because cats can’t feel sugar, they can’t control the amount they consume. Carbohydrates, harmful to the animal, enter the body unnoticed, leading to severe consequences for the animal’s health.

Why do cats still eat sweets?

A cat’s receptors don’t discern sweetness, but they sense other constituents: plant fats, milk protein, and amino acids. Hence the love of creamy and dairy-containing desserts and baked goods. Here’s what experts say to justify animals in their cravings for sweets:

  • All carnivores need protein in large doses: they recognize it in “delicacies” that are made with milk and vegetable fats (ice cream, condensed milk), and sugar is a byproduct that is useless for cats;
  • Many desserts contain synthetic additives with a pleasant appetite-enhancing smell;
  • The cat’s diet is not correctly formulated, and there is a lack of carbohydrates;
  • The pet is deficient in vitamins and minerals;
  • The habit of eating from the table or the hands makes the pet respond to any treatment.

Owners should be aware: an overabundance of simple carbohydrates can lead to severe poisoning. Is it worth exposing your pet to this risk and giving cats sweets?

Can cats eat sweets a guide for caring owners
cat eats chocolate

Should I forbid it or allow cats to eat sweets still?

The main reason cats should not eat sweets is because of the sugar content of the treats. As the famous saying goes, sugar is a sweet poison, which works one hundred percent for cats.

Can cats be given sweets, at least in small amounts?

This is a question to which each owner answers himself, based on many factors: the veterinarian’s recommendations, the overall health of the pet, its character, and personal relationships with it. After all, everyone knows that cats remember rejection, are offended, and the most characteristic can even take revenge. 

It often happens that the animal strongly begs for sweets. In this case, veterinarians recommend giving your pet a microdose of a treat. It is unlikely that a drop of condensed milk or yogurt will do anything terrible to him. The main thing is to do it in doses, better as a reward. 

Another way to limit sweets is to outsmart the pet by switching his attention to a healthy treat designed with all his needs in mind. There is now a vast selection of such “desserts” for cats. They are available in different flavors and a wide variety of formats and textures: straw, cream, filet, mashed potatoes, rolls, and more.

If you suddenly didn’t keep track of your furry friend and he ate too much-condensed milk, chocolate, cookies, or ice cream, it’s essential to take him to the vet for a checkup, a blood test, and a blood glucose test. This will help prevent dangerous diseases.

How Sugar Can Do Harm cats

All sugary goodies pose severe risks to cats of all ages, but pregnant and lactating females, young kittens, and older cats and kittens are the most brutal hit. Even the healthiest animals develop diseases when consuming sugar-containing foods for long periods.

Can cats eat sweets a guide for caring owners
The cat is trying to taste the sweet Nutella

Gastrointestinal disorders

Too much sugar can provoke stool disorders (diarrhea or constipation), gastritis, various types of colitis, and even pancreatic inflammation. These troubles are treated long, complex, and the animal will have to sit on a strict diet.

The development of diabetes

When a cat eats sweets, even small quantities, the pancreas gets the strongest overload. If this happens regularly, inflammation develops, leading to the destruction of the organ. As a result, the production of insulin stops, and the blood sugar in the cat rises. By the way, sweeteners (such as xylitol) added by manufacturers to sweeten foods also contribute to the development of diabetes. Without supportive therapy, the life of a diabetic cat is shortened.

Kidney and liver damage

If a cat likes sweets, the risk of urolithiasis increases – the load on the kidneys increases, the acid-alkaline balance is disturbed. IBC manifests itself by frequent painful urination and sometimes requires surgical intervention.

Irreversible changes occur in the liver – working tissues are replaced by useless fatty layers. This means that the organ will not be able to excrete toxins and breakdown products as well as it used to. 

Weakening of the immune system

When sugar enters the intestines, the number of protective cells decreases many times, harming the animal’s immune system. As a result, the cat becomes unresponsive to bacterial and viral attacks, even if he is vaccinated. In severe cases, endocrine system failures occur.

Fat deposits

Pets don’t expend as much energy as outdoor pets. As a consequence, fat deposits accumulate, both subcutaneous and internal. The latter envelops the organs, and as a result, their performance is reduced.

Obesity leads to a host of health problems: from diseases of the internal organs to arthritis and arthrosis.

Dental and Oral Diseases

Sugary foods cause tooth enamel microcracks. It also provokes tooth decay, tartar, bleeding gums, and tooth loss. The main trouble is that sugars flush out calcium in the body, which is terrible for teeth and bones. And treating dental problems in animals is complicated, complex, and very costly.

Allergies

The body’s processing and utilization of carbohydrates are engaged in the liver and pancreas. In the case of heavy consumption of harmful pet treats, these organs do not have time to process sugar, and, as a consequence, a lot of glycogen is accumulated in reserve. As a result, the body begins to react to excess carbohydrates as an allergen at one point. So, if the cat starts to itch or has eye discharge – immediately stop giving her harmful yummy treats. 

When and in what form sweets are allowed cats

It is difficult to refuse a pet when he asks for dessert. You want to pamper him sometimes, and it’s a natural manifestation of love. What do veterinarians recommend in such a case? What sweets for cats are allowed without health risks and are the least dangerous:

  • homemade ice cream with no sugar content;
  • fruits: pears, apricots, apples, plums;
  • very rarely: apricots, figs, dates;
  • in the absence of allergies – honey in small quantities;
  • a piece of watermelon or melon;
  • fresh carrots, beets, turnips, rutabagas, pumpkins;
  • nuts, sprouted oats.
Can cats eat sweets a guide for caring owners

Observe the measure, treating your pets with vegetables or fruits, do not overfeed with fiber – predators do not need it in large quantities. 

How should I give my cat vegetables? 

The tough ones need to be cooked, but the softer ones can be raw. Another option: a special dessert from the pet store will please your pet even more than a piece of cake. 

Still, sugar is necessary for the pet in rare cases – the veterinarian can make such a prescription. For example, blood sugar levels are unacceptably low due to severe illness or after surgery. The veterinarian prescribes glucose or sweetened water but in a strictly calculated dose. The consumption of other sweet delicacies, in this case, remains under a ban. 

To keep your beloved pet healthy and increase its life expectancy, eliminate all foods containing glucose.

This article is only a recommendation. Talk to your vet!

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