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Can Cats Drink Beer? Vet-Approved Safety Guide

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By Nicole Cosgrove

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Dr. Luqman Javed

DVM (Veterinarian)

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There isn’t any scenario where cats should drink beer. Alcohol in any beverage is highly toxic to cats. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about this beverage’s effects on cats. We’ll also discuss some creative drink alternatives that you can give your cat to keep them hydrated and happy.

Can Cats Drink Beer?

Cats can’t drink beer because of the ethanol it contains. Ethanol is extremely toxic to cats, and consuming too much of it can lead to fatal consequences.

When cats ingest too much ethanol, it will lead to ethanol toxicosis. Ethanol toxicosis will depress the central nervous system, which appears as drowsiness and a lack of coordination. In some cases, they can completely lose consciousness.

Cats with alcohol poisoning will also experience signs similar to humans with alcohol poisoning:

  • Disorientation
  • Lethargy
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Muscle tremors
  • Paralysis
  • Slow and shallow breathing
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness
a homeless cat lying outdoor
Image Credit: Magrig, Shutterstock

What to Do if Your Cat Drank Beer

Fortunately, most cats don’t like the taste of alcohol and won’t get past drinking more than one sip. If you suspect that your cat drank a tiny bit of alcohol, immediately take them to the veterinarian, no matter how much they’ve consumed. The toxic dose of ethanol has not been established in cats, but prompt veterinary intervention increases the odds for better clinical outcomes.

Do not attempt to let your cat “wait it out” – much like how you’d wait out a hangover. Ethanol consumption can lead to respiratory issues in cats, which can be fatal if left unaddressed.

Helpful information for your veterinarian will include the following:
  • What time your cat drank beer
  • The brand or type of beer
  • The suspected amount of beer your cat drank

Is Some Beer Less Harmful Than Others?

Technically, some types of beer are less harmful than others. An average beer will have about 5% alcohol while lighter beers contain 4.2% alcohol. However, since cats are much smaller than humans, the type of beer they drink doesn’t really matter.

a glass of beer on a wooden surface
Image Credit: Frantisek_Krejci, Pixabay

Can Cats Drink Alcohol-Free Beer?

No, cats shouldn’t drink alcohol-free beer for a couple of reasons. First, it still contains traces of alcohol in it. It can have up to .05% alcohol, which gets produced naturally during the brewing process.

Although this small amount probably won’t severely harm cats, alcohol-free beer usually contains double the amount of carbohydrates than regular beer. Breweries often load alcohol-free beer with sugar to compensate for flavor, and sugar is no friend to cats.

Along with being a source of empty calories, sugar can increase the risk of cavities and gingivitis. Cats also can’t taste sweetness, so there’s really no reason for them to eat sugar and other sweeteners.

Can Cats Drink Carbonated Beverages?

Cats should avoid drinking soda altogether because it usually contains high amounts of sugar, caffeine, artificial flavors, and sweeteners.

a cat that feels sick and seems to vomit
Image Credit: chie hidaka, Shutterstock

The 4 Tasty Drink Alternatives for Cats

Cat owners may want their cats to enjoy a treat as they drink some beer. If your cat doesn’t enjoy carbonated water, there are some other safe alternatives that your cat can enjoy so that you two can share a drink.

1. Pet Wine

Interestingly enough, some pet food companies sell “wine” for cats. These drinks don’t contain any alcohol and aren’t made with grapes or wheat. They’re typically some form of animal protein broth packaged in a container that resembles a wine bottle.

2. Broth

One of the safest and most nutritious liquids you can give your cat is broth. Make sure to select broth with an animal protein base, such as chicken broth or beef broth. These types of broth can be great sources of protein and healthy fatty acids. Chicken broth also contains selenium, iron, and other essential vitamins and minerals.

When selecting a broth for your cat, make sure to find a sodium-free recipe that uses organic ingredients. The last thing you want is to expose your cats to any artificial flavors and preservatives that make them feel sicker than drinking alcohol.

Many pet food companies also often sell broth specifically made for cats. These types of broth are very nutritious and are often fortified with vitamins and minerals.

Beautiful feline cat eating on a metal bowl
Image Credit: Krakenimages.com, Shutterstock

3. Soup for Cats

Pet food companies also sell a lot of meal toppers, gravies, and soups that your cat can enjoy. Just place this delicious soup in a glass bowl, and it’ll feel like your cat’s enjoying a tasty treat in a glass pint.

Chicken broth soup in a bowl
Image Credit: LisaRedfern, Pixabay

4. Beer Cat Toys

Many pet toy companies have a sense of humor and sell toys that look like alcoholic beverages. While it’s not an actual drink, it’s still a fun alternative for cats. You can also sprinkle some catnip on them as an additional treat.

Final Thoughts

Beer isn’t safe for cats to drink. It contains toxic elements and doesn’t provide any nutritional value. Fortunately, it’s rare for cats to experience alcohol poisoning because they don’t naturally like the taste of beer.

If you feel like your cats are missing out on some tasty beverages, there are plenty of safe options that you can select. Your cats will much prefer a flavorful broth or fun toy and will love you for adding special treats and entertainment to their day.

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Featured Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay

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