Fruit jelly (As opposed to something like petroleum jelly or candy ‘jellies’) is a staple in many households, particularly at the breakfast table. (Peanut butter jelly time!) Naturally, if you’re eating it, your cat may be wondering what you’re eating and if it’s anything that they should be having as well. And since cats really believe that anything you can have, they should have, it’s not uncommon for one to sneak a lick or two of your toast. But is this something you should worry about? Can cats eat jelly?
There really is no easy answer to this because it depends on the type of jelly, how much sugar is in it (and how much sugar alternative is in it), and how much your cat tries to eat. Broadly speaking, a small amount of most jellies will be harmless to your cat as long as they don’t try to make a habit of it. As always, when dealing with what cats can and cannot eat, there are always caveats to keep in mind. In the case of jelly, we’re concerned with ingredients, namely the sugars and what type of fruit it is made from.
Do Cats Like Jelly?
There’s not much in particular in jelly that would attract a cat to it – after all, cats are designed to eat meat, not fruity, sugary gels. So, if your cat is going after it, it’s probably mostly borne out of curiosity. That being said, there are always cats that break the norms of cat behavior and may genuinely like to eat some jelly when they can get to it. Personally, I’ve never had a cat be particularly interested in my morning toast, but I’m sure I will meet the cat that will like it one day. I’ve certainly heard stories of cats stealing jelly or going crazy at the smell of it! Other cats will try to nibble at it simply because they see you do it and want to be part of the group.
Do Cats Hate Jelly?
Cats probably don’t really hate jelly anymore than they would love it. They might try a lick out of curiosity and then wander off and not bother with it again. If this is the case, you really don’t have to feel like you’re depriving your pet of anything since jelly isn’t good for them and they get nothing out of eating it, nutritionally speaking. If you have a cat that turns up its nose at your jelly, then just be grateful that you have one less thing to chase it away from.
Can Jelly Kill My Cat?
It’s highly unlikely that jelly will kill your cat, so you don’t have to worry about that too much. However, there are exceptions that can cause your cat more difficulty, and there are long-term health problems to consider.
First of all, cats should never have grape jelly. Grapes contain antioxidants that are toxic to cats and a small amount can make them quite ill or even kill them. Now, the amount of actual grape in most jelly is minuscule, so if your cat stole a lick, you probably don’t have to race to the vet right away (though you will want to monitor your cat for about two days after to make sure it suffered no ill effects), but of all the jellies, grape is probably the most dangerous.
Second, jelly contains a lot of sugar which cats cannot process properly. A diet that is too high in carbohydrates and sugars can easily lead to obesity and diabetes, both of which probably will kill your cat in the long term – or at least greatly shorten its life expectancy.
A diet high in sugar is also bad for a cat’s teeth and gums, making them more likely to get cavities and tooth decay which will lead to a lot of discomfort later in life. Jelly also has nothing in it which is nutritionally good for cats to eat – fruit is useless to cats as is sugar, so you’re really just letting your cat have junk food.
The final thing to note is, as always with new foods, keeping an eye on your cat for allergic reactions. Allergic reactions in cats often present as:
- Excessive scratching
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Abdominal discomfort
More serious reactions can include trouble breathing, heart palpitations, and seizures, though it’s unlikely your cat will suffer an allergy that bad to jelly. And of course, if you know your cat is allergic to something like strawberries, don’t give it the associated jelly!
How Much Jelly is Safe for My Cat to Eat?
Cats really shouldn’t eat jelly since it doesn’t provide anything nutritional and it’s not something that they are really built to be able to digest. That being said, cats are sneaky, and you may have found a cat tongue on your food before you could chase your pet away! Should you worry?
Probably not. While jelly isn’t healthy, it also isn’t usually harmful. A lick or two of jelly probably won’t do much of anything to your cat, though if you’re concerned, monitor it for a day or two after to be sure that your cat isn’t having a negative reaction to it. Otherwise, a bit of theft of jelly won’t do much to your cat. But you shouldn’t let your cat have it very often and it should never replace a proper meal.
Jelly isn’t good for cats and if they tried to live on it, they would quickly become malnourished. And in any event, it won’t be very enjoyable for your cat since they can’t really taste it anyway!
For myself, my cats have never been particularly interested in jelly. They go crazy enough for things like turkey, gravy, or beef, but when it comes to jelly, they completely ignore it.
This is likely typical for most cats since there’s nothing in jelly that would attract them and even if they do go for it, it’s more out of curiosity and wanting to see what you’re up to than actually craving it. And considering how much sugar is in jelly, this is just as well since cats can’t handle sugar anyway. But if your cat stole a bit of your jelly, you probably don’t have to worry too much. Just don’t encourage it!
Does your cat like jelly?