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Can Cats Eat Popsicles? What You Need to Know!

Chelsie Frasier

By Chelsie Frasier

Cat Eating Popsicle

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Dr. Tabitha Henson (Vet)

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Popsicles are wonderful summer treats. They’re sweet and cold, and you can make them at home with little effort. Popsicles will satisfy even the pickiest of children, but are they good for your cat? It seems like they would be attractive treats for your cat to lick or chew on in the summer heat, but sadly, cats shouldn’t eat popsicles.

Store-bought popsicles should especially not be fed to cats, as they contain a whole host of ingredients that aren’t healthy for them. However, you can make “feline popsicles” from things like frozen tuna and water if you really feel that your cat needs a cool treat.

Do Cats Like Popsicles?

Most cats probably won’t like popsicles designed for humans. Beyond their curiosity about what you’re licking, there’s nothing about a popsicle that would be appealing to your cat.

That said, there are plenty of Instagram photos to be found of cute cats licking popsicles, so there are some cats that like them. In this case, it’s probably the cold ice that attracts the cats. They can’t really taste any of the fruit flavoring or sugar.

If your cat likes ice cream, they may also take a liking to ice cream popsicles, such as creamsicles. Even so, cats shouldn’t eat dairy because it can make them sick. Most felines are lactose intolerant, so when they’re fed dairy products, they get an upset stomach.

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Do Cats Dislike Popsicles?

Popsicles are cold and full of water, so it’s highly unlikely that any cat would truly hate them unless they are turned off by the stickiness (which is likely). Popsicles are often treats that most cats are completely indifferent to.

popsicles
Image Credit: Aline Ponce, Pixabay

Do Popsicles Harm Cats?

If your cat just took a lick of your popsicle, you can relax. You probably don’t need to go running to the vet just yet. While popsicles aren’t healthy for cats, they aren’t fatal or poisonous. Since a popsicle is made up of mostly sugar, water, and artificial flavoring, there aren’t any ingredients that will cause harm to your cat if ingested in a small amount.

Popsicles might make your cat feel sick if they try to eat the whole thing, and your cat may develop health issues if they eat a whole bunch of popsicles, but a small lick won’t hurt them.

The biggest danger of popsicles is the amount of sugar found in them, especially in commercially prepared popsicles. Cats can’t taste sweetness, so they will overeat sugar to the point that they develop digestive issues, like vomiting and diarrhea. In the long term, excessive amounts of sugar will contribute to obesity.

The artificial flavors contained in popsicles also have the potential to cause digestive upset in cats. Keep in mind that cats don’t eat sweet foods as humans do. Since their bodies aren’t used to sweetness, even a small amount can upset their tummies.

In short, a small lick of a popsicle won’t hurt your cat, but you don’t want to encourage the behavior for the long term.

blue tabby maine coon cat licking homemade ice cream treat popsicle
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

What Are Popsicle Alternatives for Cats?

If you want to feed your cat a nice, cool treat on a hot day, there’s nothing wrong with that. There are several cat-friendly treats that you can feed your cat to help them cool off:

  • Regular ice cubes made with fresh water are not only safe for cats but will encourage hydration on hot days. Many cats like to play with ice cubes, and if they lose it, the worst mess that you’ll end up with is a puddle of water.
  • Frozen tuna. Adding water to a can of tuna, mixing it into mush, and freezing it in an ice cube tray makes a great frozen cat treat.
  • Cat ice cream. There are many brands of cat-friendly ice cream available at pet retailers that are safe for cats to eat.
two cats are licking ice cube sweets
Image Credit: THMEYA, Shutterstock

Can Cats Get Brain Freeze From Eating Popsicles?

Whether cats can get brain freeze from eating icy treats is unknown because cats can’t tell us anything. Eating frozen foods can certainly make some cats uncomfortable, but whether this is brain freeze or something else, like tooth sensitivity, it’s hard to say. It could just be a reaction from cats that aren’t accustomed to eating frozen food.

Don’t fret if your cat isn’t used to getting frozen treats and reacts oddly. Let them enjoy or refuse the treat. Some cats will learn to enjoy them, and some won’t. Both reactions are perfectly normal.

Conclusion

As pet owners, it’s natural to want to help our cats cool off with an icy treat on a hot day. While it’s tempting to share your popsicle with them, it’s best not to. It will only end up causing them harm in the long run, and they can’t enjoy the sweet taste of the popsicle, anyway. There are numerous options for cat-safe icy treats to feed your cat.


Featured Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

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