Popsicles are an amazing treat in the summer. They’re frozen, sweet, easy to make at home, easy and cheap to buy just about anywhere, and even the most finicky kid usually likes them! But are they a good treat for your cat?
It would seem like something that would at least be attractive – cats can lick them or chew on them, they’re nice and cold for hot days, and they usually have quite a bit of water. Can cats eat popsicles?
It may or may not surprise you: No. Cats really shouldn’t eat popsicles, particularly those you buy in a store. The closest they should get are feline popsicles made from things like frozen tuna mixed with water and put in cubes or ice cubes.
Do Cats Like Popsicles?
Thankfully, most cats probably won’t care much for popsicles anyway, beyond being curious about what you’re up to. There’s nothing in a popsicle that will be appealing to cats.
But I won’t be the one to say ‘never’. There are plenty of photos online of cats licking popsicles, so clearly there are always Those Cats who will go after anything. In this case, your cat is probably more attracted to the cold and the water in the treat than the sugar or the fake fruit flavor since they can’t taste any of that anyway.
Some cats may also like the ice cream popsicles (like creamsicles), but this will depend on whether your cat likes ice cream. They really shouldn’t be eating that either as the dairy can make cats uncomfortable or even sick since most cats are lactose intolerant.
I’ve never had a cat go after popsicles, not even the ones that my toddler (when he was a toddler!) was eating. They didn’t appreciate the sticky fingers after either.
Do Cats Hate Popsicles?
It’s unlikely that any cat will literally hate popsicles, though they probably won’t like the fact that they tend to be sticky. For cats, popsicles is usually a matter of complete indifference.
Can Popsicles Kill My Cat?
If your cat just took a huge lick of a popsicle, do you need to go running to the vet?
Probably not. Popsicles are definitely not healthy for cats, but they aren’t usually fatal either. There’s nothing in a popsicle that will kill a cat since they are mostly made up of water, sugar, and various artificial flavorings.
That being said, popsicles probably will make your cat feel a bit sick and if they try to eat too many of them, they will end up with long-term health problems. The big issue is the sugar found in commercial popsicles.
Cats cannot taste sweet foods and too much sugar can lead to stomach problems in the short term, such as vomiting and diarrhea, and obesity and diabetes in the long term.
Obesity causes issues with the joints and makes it harder for cats to stay mobile while diabetes causes a range of other problems, including liver damage, and can kill a cat if left untreated.
Popsicles also tend to be high in artificial sweeteners. These can cause all sorts of digestive issues for cats including vomiting, diarrhea, and in the long term, obesity.
Remember that cats didn’t grow up eating sweets like us humans did and with their much smaller bodies, it doesn’t take much of anything to affect them.
In short, while a lick of a popsicle won’t kill your cat, it’s also not something you want to encourage over the long term.
How Many Popsicles Are Safe for My Cat to Eat?
Having a lick or two of your popsicle once in a while is probably not going to hurt your cat or cause any issues. But we are talking once in a while here, like once every few weeks or even less. It’s honestly best to just keep your popsicles away from your cat altogether and make some homemade frozen treats for your cat instead.
What Are Some Good Cat Popsicle (Catsicle!) Alternatives?
If you want to give your cat a nice frozen treat on a hot day, you absolutely can, but make sure it’s a cat-friendly treat! There are a number of things you can give your cat to enjoy and cool off with:
- Ice cubes. Straight-up ice cubes made with fresh, clean water, are perfectly safe for cats and may encourage them to drink more water. Some cats also like playing with them. Beyond hydration, if an ice cube ‘gets lost’, you don’t have to worry about finding smelly, rotting food months down the line since the water will just evaporate.
- Frozen tuna snacks. Take a can of tuna, add more water to it and then mix it all up into a mush and freeze it into cubes. It’s probably best to give this to your cat somewhere open so that you don’t find bits of old tuna weeks later!
- Frozen cat kibble. Cat kibble frozen in small bite-size pieces of ice is perfectly safe and can be fun for your cats to work out how to get to the food.
- Cat ice cream. There are varieties of cat ice cream on the market that are made with completely safe ingredients for cats (lactose-free, sugar-free, etc). Your vet will probably have recommendations on brands
- Completely homemade popsicles. If you’re making them yourself, you know they’re safe. Make sure they have no sugar or milk in them, lots of water, and choose a flavor base that is safe such as strawberries. Avoid grapes as grapes are toxic.
As you can see, your cat most certainly does not have to miss out on having cold treats in the summer!
Can Cats Get Brain Freeze from Popsicles?
Since cats cannot tell us if they are getting the infamous brain freeze from their treats, studies are out on whether it happens. Certainly, something can make cats uncomfortable when they eat food that is frozen, but whether this is brain freeze, tooth sensitivity, or simply being unaccustomed to the idea of frozen food, we just don’t know.
It’s not something you want to constantly do to your cat in any event since they don’t understand what’s happening and it can be quite scary for them. Let cats enjoy their frozen treat on their own timeline and don’t let them have too much at a time to help prevent discomfort.
When it’s hot out, it’s hard not to feel a bit bad for cats. They can’t exactly take off their coat and despite blistering heat, they sometimes still bake themselves in a sunbeam! (My cats are the worst for this and then they end up a bit ‘sun drunk’ after and have to lie down in a dark room for a while).
I certainly understand the impulse to share our cold snacks with them. But it’s far better to either give them their own cold snacks, give them some ice, or at least encourage them to doze somewhere cooler because popsicles and ice cream snacks are going to do more harm than good in the long run. And cats won’t even enjoy the ride since they can’t taste sweet foods anyway.
Cats won’t drop dead if they eat a bit of a popsicle, but it’s really not good for them either and it’s far better to encourage a cat to eat their own food, perhaps in a frozen form.
Does your cat go after popsicles?