Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Can Cats Drink Ensure? What You Need to Know!

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

By Rachael Gerkensmeyer

bottle feeding a tabby kitten

Cats sometimes get ill and don’t feel like eating the wet or dry food you would typically offer them at mealtime. Going a day or two without food won’t be life-threatening to your cat; however, drinking water for proper hydration is crucial. So, what should we do if our pet cats feel ill and stop eating and drinking water?

Some people feel that giving their cats Ensure will help them get through an illness or period of fasting more easily. Cats can consume some Ensure without any problems, but it should be offered only as a last resort and emergency basis.

In this article, you will learn more about offering your cat Ensure if they fall ill or decide for some reason to refrain from food and water.

Is Ensure Healthy for Cats?

Ensure provides a variety of vitamins and minerals, protein and fat, and carbohydrates for energy. However, this product is also filled with sugar and artificial ingredients to make it taste good. As humans, we can digest and process the extra fat, sugar, and additives in Ensure.

Ensure is designed as a supplemental product, not a lifestyle product. So, we don’t consume it enough to cause any serious health issues. On the other hand, cats are much smaller and cannot digest all the same ingredients easily. The flavorings, extra sugar, and added supplements are not the best choice for your furry family member.

Never should your cat consume Ensure as their main source of calories and nutrition unless it is necessary – and your veterinarian will let you know if the necessity arises.

When to Offer Ensure to Your Cat

The only reason you should be offering your cat Ensure is to temporarily keep them hydrated when they won’t drink water and to make sure that they have the nutrients necessary to fight off an illness when necessary. The amount should be minimal to keep your kitty afloat until you can see the vet or health is regained. You should always consult with your veterinarian before feeding your cat some Ensure.

Other Options to Consider

There are options other than Ensure that you can give your cat while recovering from an illness or major surgery. You can always let your cat ride it out if it is just going to be a day or two. Like us humans, sometimes cats need nothing more than rest to recover.

Options to consider before giving Ensure:
  • Bone broth (no seasoning or salt)
  • Homemade chicken or beef broth (no seasoning or salt)

As you can see from the list, do not add seasonings, herbs, or salt to the broths. Those ingredients could cause digestive issues in your cat. In addition, do not add garlic or onions as those are toxic to cats, even in powdered form.

If you are not sure what to offer your kitty, your veterinarian should be able to point you in the right direction.

homemade organic beef bone broth in a bowl
Image Credit: Brent Hofacker, Shutterstock

Making Homemade Nutritional Broth for Sick Cats

If you want to make a homemade broth for your cat to drink while recovering from an illness or injury, the process is not hard. You can follow the steps here or check out recipes online.

  • Start by filling a stockpot with water, chicken or beef, veggies like carrots, celery, and kale, and even a little commercial cat food.
  • After bringing the water to a boil, turn the heat down and let the water simmer for about an hour.
  • Once the simmering session is complete, use a cheesecloth or fine strainer to separate the solid ingredients from the liquid. All that should be left is the broth flavored with animal protein and infused with lots of nutrients.
  • You can offer the cooled broth to your cat once or twice a day.

Remember to use a recipe that the cat-specific. Broths and soups for humans will have ingredients that are harmful or even toxic for cats. Make sure the broth has cooled before giving it to your cat. Hot broth can hurt its mouth.

Some Final Thoughts

Cats can drink Ensure in emergencies, but the drink is not a good replacement for real food and water. Ensure contains many additives and lots of sugar that cats never require in their diets. Always make sure to consult with your veterinarian before deciding whether to give your cat some Ensure as they work to recover.

Have you ever fed your cat Ensure before? We would love to hear all about your experiences with this product. Let us know what you think in the comments section below!

Related Reads:

Featured Image Credit: Adina Voicu, Pixabay

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Authored by

Rachael has been a freelance writer since 2000, in which time she has had an opportunity to research and write about many different topics while working to master the art of fusing high-quality content with effective content marketing strategies. She lives off the grid in Hawaii with her husband, her garden, and her rescue animals including 5 dogs, a cat, a goat, and dozens of chickens. She is an artist at heart and loves...Read more

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database