Here's the Surprising Reason Cats Shouldn't Have Whipped Cream or Any Dairy Products

There are plenty of better options for your cat than whipped cream if you want to offer them a treat.

Kori Williams - Author

May 2 2024, Published 1:27 p.m. ET

A black and white cat tasting a hot chocolate topped with whipped cream.
Source: iStock

If you grew up watching cartoon cats on TV, you may have noticed that they all love getting a saucer of milk to slurp up. For many pets, this trend is true to their real-life experiences, and other dairy treats like yogurt and whipped cream are part of their regular diets.

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While many humans avoid lactose (and the harmful dairy industry) by opting for plant-based milk products, sometimes, cats just want to have what their humans are having.

So, can cats have whipped cream, or is it bad for them? And are cats lactose intolerant, or is that a rumor? Although humans have ways to deal with our digestion issues, you may be surprised to learn that many kitties deal with the same issue.

A black cat tasting whipped cream on a cupcake.
Source: iStock
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Can cats have whipped cream?

Generally, whipped cream isn't good for cats as it can upset their tummies. Daily Paws says a small amount of it could lead to issues including gas, bloating, and diarrhea. Hepper mentions that many brands have artificial flavors and added sugars in their products that aren't good for their health.

However, Renee Rucinsky, owner of Mid Atlantic Cat Hospital and Feline Thyroid Center, told the publication that if your cat's stomach can handle this topping, it's fine to have it as a rare treat.

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A hairless cat tasting whipped cream on fresh cupcakes.
Source: iStock

Unfortunately, whipped cream alternatives may be just as bad, if not worse, for your cat. These products contain different kinds of syrups, oils, and sugars that make them unhealthy. Rucinsky also mentions that xylitol, also called birch sugar, is in many of them. It's a sweetener that is poisonous to dogs and cats.

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If you're looking for something sweet for your pet to eat, consider feeding them fruit. It can be a great snack for any cat, especially in the warmer months. Pumpkins and strawberries, for example, can be fine for them to eat as long as they are not a regular part of their diets since too much fruit can also harm their health.

A black and white cat being fed whipped cream.
Source: iStock
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Are cats lactose intolerant?

Surprisingly, yes. Many cats are lactose intolerant. Any dairy product, including milk and whipped cream, could easily upset their stomachs. Sara Witherell, a board-certified associate veterinarian at Animal Kind Veterinary Hospital, spoke to Chewy, saying that while cats drink their mother's milk in the first few months of life, that begins to taper off when they are just a few weeks old.

"Between weaning and six months of age, they've lost this ability to produce the enzyme lactase and break down lactose," Witherell said. Once the ability to handle lactose starts to break down, there's no way to get it back. There are tablets we can take for humans to lessen the effects dairy has on us, but pets don't have that luxury.

As always, if you want to add something new to your cat's diet, consult your vet first.

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