Once in a while, you’ll see videos circulate the internet showing a cat eating a marshmallow and acting really silly. It’s cute and all, but are marshmallows really something that cats should be eating?
You may enjoy them or even finding them in your cereal, but for cats, they may not be the treat you think they are!
Short answer: cats shouldn’t eat marshmallows – mini ones or otherwise. They probably won’t even show much interest in marshmallows and you should definitely encourage that disinterest. There are a few reasons why marshmallows are not the best thing for cats to eat, but bottom line: No.
Do Cats Like Marshmallows?
It’s fairly unlikely that cats will go after marshmallows. Marshmallows are sweet, provides nothing that would attract them in the odor department, and have a weird texture. You’d stand a better chance of cats treating it like a toy than food!
That being said, you just never know with cats. There is always that oddball which will go after cereal marshmallows or mini ones, for example. I’ve never had a cat show the slightest interest in marshmallows of any shape or size, but that’s not to say they aren’t out there.
Do Cats Hate Marshmallows?
Most cats probably don’t feel much of anything about marshmallows. They don’t tend to eat them, and they don’t even tend to beg for them.
One could suppose this means most cats ‘hate’ marshmallows, but more likely, they simply aren’t attracted to them. Cats cannot taste sweet food and so they will not crave it or chase it down.
Can Marshmallows Kill Cats?
Here’s where things get problematic for cats and marshmallows. There are a couple of ways in which marshmallows can be fatal to cats, both indirectly and directly.
The first thing to keep in mind is that marshmallows are a choking hazard which is why young children aren’t allowed to have them either.
Soft marshmallows in particular are easy to choke on since they are hard to chew and mold themselves on the top of mouths and in throats. And of course, choking can be fatal.
The first thing you should check when you notice a cat eating a marshmallow is in fact whether they are choking on it and if so, call the vet right away and follow their instructions.
Indirectly speaking, marshmallows are high in sugar and not much else. Sugar has a very detrimental effect on cats over the long term, causing obesity, lethargy, and diabetes. Diabetes, in particular, can lead to cats dying a lot earlier than they otherwise would have and often in a lot of discomfort.
Cats cannot process sugar the way humans do so it simply builds up as fat. Sugar is also bad for a cat’s dental health, leading to cavities, rotten teeth, and gum disease.
Marshmallows are also a weirdly high source of sodium. Sodium is just as bad for cats as it is for humans, leading to heart issues.
Marshmallows simply have nothing good in them for cats and as far as treats go, they are also lousy compared to actual cat treats or things like a bit of cooked meat or a bit of cooked vegetable.
On the other hand, marshmallows aren’t toxic to cats either. They only have a few ingredients:
- Corn syrup
- Gelatin or another whipping agent
Obviously, colored marshmallows will also have food coloring in them. Homemade marshmallows may also have vanilla, salt, or other flavorings. And no, homemade marshmallows aren’t better for cats than commercial ones. Again, it’s the sugar that causes the most issues, aside from the squishy texture.
None of these things are overtly toxic to cats of course. It’s more about the potential long-term damage than anything immediate.
How Many Marshmallows are Safe for Cats?
None. Cats derive nothing beneficial from marshmallows and they can be a choking hazard. That being said, if you catch your cat nibbling on one, it’s highly unlikely that anything bad will happen to them (unless they choke) so you probably don’t need to go running to your vet.
Just make sure to keep the marshmallows someplace where your cat cannot get to them and it’s pretty unlikely they’ll bother searching too hard.
Can Cats Eat Marshmallow Fluff?
Marshmallow fluff probably won’t cause a cat to choke (probably), but it contains all the same ingredients as big marshmallows.
Therefore, it’s just as problematic, but in a long-term way. Plus most cats would turn up their noses at it anyway. Cats cannot taste sweet things, so offering them sweet treats is an exercise in futility.
Can Cats Eat Mini Marshmallows?
Oh sure, they are easier to chew up and swallow, much smaller (and therefore less sugar than a big one) and they are far less likely to choke on them, but mini marshmallows are still a no-go for cats.
This also includes mallow twists, marshmallow candy, chocolate-covered marshmallows (for several reasons), mini ones, colored ones, and so on. No marshmallows for kitty!
What About Marshmallow Root for Cats?
Marshmallows used to be made from an extract of marshmallow root before that was replaced with the more stable gelatin and corn starch. Funnily enough, the marshmallow root is something that can be beneficial for cats to have, but only once in a while.
Marshmallow root is used to help get rid of urinary tract infections in cats and as a source of calcium, iodine, iron, pantothenic acid, sodium, vitamin A and Vitamin B-Complex.
Marshmallow root can also be used to reduce inflammation and can help the kidneys flush out fluids from the bladder.
Finally, the mucilage in marshmallow root provides a barrier that can help the lining of the bladder.
In short, while marshmallows aren’t very good for cats at all, marshmallow root can be very beneficial, though it’s best to talk to your vet first about dosage amounts and what to watch out for while using it.
Marshmallows aren’t very good for humans, but they are definitely not good for cats. They have no nutritional benefits, they are high in sugar, and they can present a choking hazard.
Most cats probably won’t go for them anyway since cats are designed to crave and consume a diet of meat, not sugars. But if you do catch your cat nibbling on one, don’t worry.
A nibble won’t hurt your cat, though you should make sure to put the marshmallows somewhere curious noses cannot reach.
Does your cat go for marshmallows?