Honey is both delicious and nutritious for us humans but what about our feline friends? Can cats eat honey safely?
If so, how should we best serve it to them?
Can Cats Eat Honey?
The short answer is yes, cats can eat honey but, does raw honey have the health benefits or necessary nutrients that our cats need?
Honey is not on the official list of toxic foods for cats. But, just because a food isn’t toxic for cats does that mean we should feed it to them?
Well no, not always. What it likely means is that your cat is able to consume non-toxic human foods in small amounts without doing much harm.
While you can give this sugary treat to your feline friend, there are many things that you should consider before feeding honey to your cat.
Let’s take a look at some of those things below.
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Can Cats Digest Honey?
A cat’s digestive system is far more complex when compared to ours. Their digestive system is not optimized to digest glucose and fructose.
Although there are enzymes in honey that make it easier to digest than sugar, it’s still rich fructose. Cats will have to work harder to digest honey and in some cases it can cause digestive issues.
In other words, honey is made of sugars that are problematic for a cat’s digestive system. This is because their livers lack glucokinase, the enzyme for breaking down sugars properly.
In addition, cats are unable to taste sweets. This means that they won’t get any benefits from honey or the crucial nutrients needed in their diet.
However, it’s interesting to note that while cats cannot taste sweetness, they can taste things that humans don’t, such as adenosine triphosphate (ATP).
What Can Happen If My Cat Eats Honey?
Feeding honey to your cat may cause interference in its digestive system, and this can result in a variety of problems. Some negative side effects include weight gain, diarrhea, and vomiting.
In rare cases, some cats may experience problems with their digestive system from just a small serving of honey.
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Cats who suffer from diabetes or obesity are more susceptible to stomach aches or even weight gain from eating honey.
Honey will increase a cat’s insulin levels, so diabetic cats should never eat honey. Also, a tablespoon of honey contains around 64 calories. An average cat will need about 250-350 calories a day.
This means that one tablespoon of honey already comprises more than 25% of a cat’s average daily caloric requirement. Similarly, a cat’s organs are just around 3% of its body weight while it’s around 11% for humans.
Another thing that you should look out for is the bacteria botulinum. Honey may contain this bacteria and it can cause botulism, which usually results in complications in a cat’s respiratory systems and muscles.
This is a serious medical condition and cats with weak immune systems are easily affected.
How Much Honey Can They Eat?
As mentioned before, honey contains enough calories that it can cause your cat to gain weight very quickly.
For whatever reason, you want to feed your cat some honey the safest amount at most is ½ teaspoon per day.
Diabetic cats are very prone to more complications when eating honey, even just a small amount can cause a spike in their insulin levels.
Also, if your cat begins vomiting or having diarrhea, you have to stop giving them honey immediately.
Some smaller cats or cats with weak digestive systems may not be able to ingest 1/2 teaspoon of honey safely. It’s best to always consult with your vet before introducing any new foods to your cat’s diet.
Does Honey Have Any Benefits For Cats?
The only time that honey can have any significant benefit for cats is when using it to help alleviate allergic reactions. Other than this, there really isn’t any compelling reason to feed honey to cats.
Honey has some anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, and it contains antioxidants.
But there are better alternatives that do not bring risk to your cat’s health. In fact, it can actually do more harm to cats when you consider the negative side effects and risks associated with it.
Any changes in a cat’s diet can greatly affect it given their sensitive digestive systems. This is why it’s not advisable to risk your cat’s health by using honey for its very minimal benefit.
Besides, the benefits of using honey can be done through other treatments and foods that are better because they don’t have any unpleasant side effects like honey.
Some of these are decongestant sprays, antihistamines, immunotherapy, and many others that your vet may recommend.
Can Honey Help My Cat With Allergies?
Honey can slightly limit the immune system’s reaction to allergens, and this helps relieve your cat’s allergies.
But make sure that you only give a minimal amount (at most ½ teaspoon per day) because giving your cat more than this can lead to negative side effects.
And although some symptoms may be relieved with honey, this relief is only temporary and you still have to seek further aid from a vet or expert.
There are many antihistamines that are available over-the-counter, and you can also ask for immunotherapy.
These are the ones that are recommended by vets to help with your cat’s allergy, not honey.
Do Vets Recommend Giving Honey To A Cat?
Most vets don’t actually recommend honey (1). They would usually recommend other alternatives that are more reliable and have less or no side effects.
Honey is not a part of a cat’s natural diet, so feeding honey to your cat is not necessary.
To put it bluntly, honey shouldn’t be fed to cats at all, especially if you just want to feed your cat with something sweet.
There are many possible side effects of eating honey, and it isn’t wise for a pet owner to risk the life of their pet for something that their pet wouldn’t enjoy anyway.
Also, keep in mind that you should always consult your cat’s veterinarian regarding medical concerns, and this means that you should consult with your vet before feeding your cat honey.
Your vet is the best-qualified person to diagnose the condition of your cat and can tell you what the best course of action is.
Conclusion On Can Cats Eat Honey
So there you have it, cats can indeed eat honey as it’s not toxic for them. The same could be said for cats eating mango and other fruits.
But as it should be made clear there isn’t any real reason to give your cat honey.
They won’t benefit from it in real way at all and you could be putting them at risk of other health problems by doing so.
I’d avoid it and look to stick with high quality formulated cat treats specifically designed with cats in mind like the one below.
- Contains one (1) 30 oz. tub of...
- Your cat can’t wait to get their paws...
- Under 2 calories per chicken flavor cat...
Can Cats Eat Yogurt?
Cats become lactose intolerant as they get older. Although they can eat yogurt it’s not recommended. Read more about can cats eat yogurt in the article linked.
Is Honey Safe For A Cat?
Honey is not on the list of toxic foods for cats, so it is okay if they ingest some honey. However, vets wouldn’t recommend feeding a cat any honey.
Last update on 2023-10-04 at 05:25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API