Sour cream may not seem like the sort of thing that a cat would be attracted to. It’s a milk product for sure, but the texture and the flavor should seem off-putting to many cats.
Then you see your cat steal a lick from your nachos or your baked potato and now you have to wonder if it’s time for a visit to the vet! Can cats eat sour cream?
The short answer is that while sour cream is not toxic to most cats, it’s also not something they should eat too often. And in this case, it’s not because of too much sugar or indigestible things in it – it’s because most cats are lactose intolerant! This means that eating too much sour cream will probably make your cat have some pretty disgusting visits to the litter box later on, not to mention, quickly become rather uncomfortable.
Do Cats Like Sour Cream?
This will really depend on your cat. I don’t think any of my cats have shown any particular interest in sour cream, but then they’ve not shown particular interest in any human food unless it’s meat (my new cat recently discovered ham for example…) I’ve certainly heard of other cats who will happily sneak sour cream every chance they get. Just like humans, cats have their own taste preferences, and what one cat ignores, another loves.
If you offer your cat a small taste, and your cat eats it, then you’ll know your answer!
Do Cats Hate Sour Cream?
I would imagine that for some cats, the texture of sour cream might be off-putting, as might the aftertaste. And the fact that sour cream is a bit sweet won’t mean much to cats since they can’t taste sweet foods anyway. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if many cats turn up their nose at sour cream and cannot be bothered with it.
If this is your cat, don’t worry about it. While sour cream does have some very minute benefits for cats (protein and fats), it’s not something that cannot be easily made up by a proper diet of cat food. And since many cats are lactose intolerant anyway, if your cat would just as soon steer clear of sour cream, at least you won’t have to worry about a messy litter box later.
Can Sour Cream Kill Cats?
Sour cream is considered to be non-toxic to cats.
That being said, it’s not something they should eat very much of. There are a couple of big issues with sour cream:
- Most cats are lactose intolerant and sour cream has a lot of lactose in it. A lactose-intolerant cat will have stomach and digestive issues if they ingest too much lactose which is quite uncomfortable for them.
- Sour cream is high in fat. A small amount of fat is fine for cats, but it doesn’t take much to tip over into the unhealthy side. Cats that ingest too much fat will become obese and have further health issues like diabetes, joint problems, and other issues.
- Aside from a small amount of protein, there’s really not much of any nutritional benefit to sour cream for cats. It really is just an occasional treat.
If you catch your cat with its nose in the sour cream, you probably don’t have to do an emergency rush to the vet. But you might not have a pleasant litter box change next time!
How Much Sour Cream Can my Cat Have?
Some owners like to use sour cream as a way to entice their cat to take medication and others may simply want to share a bit with their pet. If your cat has never had sour cream before, only offer a very small amount (like a teaspoon or less) for your cat to lick, and then monitor your pet for a few hours after to see how their digestive system handles it. If nothing untoward happens, then offering your cat a few licks once in a while should be fine.
You really shouldn’t offer more than a teaspoon or so a week (or even less). There’s not much that is of nutritional value in sour cream for cats and it could cause them to gain weight or have stomach problems (or both!) Sour cream should never be used as a meal replacement and if it’s going to be a treat, it should be the only treat of the day since it is so high in fat.
The Benefits of Sour Cream for Your Cat
While sour cream isn’t the healthiest thing for a cat to eat, it does have a bit of a benefit. Sour cream contains proteins, which cats require in order to stay healthy, and fats which cats also need. Sour cream is a good way to get cats to take medications too, assuming your cat likes sour cream, as it will mask most pills fairly easily. It’s also easy for cats to swallow and lick at, making it attractive on that count.
If you’re going to let your cat have some sour cream, here are a couple of ways to do it as safely as possible:
- Low fat sour cream is generally easier on cat stomachs than high fat.
- There should be nothing else in the sour cream. Seasonings and other toppings with sour cream hold a fairly good chance of making your cat a lot sicker than it otherwise would have been.
- Monitor your cat after it has any sour cream for any signs of digestive issues
- Talk to your vet if you’re not sure about anything in a cat’s diet
Kittens should not have sour cream as they need more specific nutrition in order to grow up. Old cats may also have a lot more trouble with sour cream than healthy young adult cats, so it’s best to avoid it with your senior cats too.
Cats tend to be quite curious about what their humans are eating, and this extends to foods like sour cream. If your cat got into the sour cream, you probably don’t have anything to worry about (Though lookout for digestive issues a few hours later) and if your cat really likes it, you may have a way to deal with medications later on!
But sour cream should really only be used as a small treat once in a while, not as part of the usual meal rotation. In this way, your cat can stay healthy and enjoy a treat while you have your baked potatoes or nachos.
Does your cat like sour cream? Let us know in the comments!