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Can Cats Eat Sour Cream? What You Need To Know!

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By Nicole Cosgrove

sourcream

Sour cream is a delicious topping on a variety of foods, but is it safe for our feline friends?

Though it’s not recommended, plain sour cream has no specific properties that are toxic to cats. In fact, sour cream has a small amount of protein, vitamins, and minerals. Humans mainly eat sour cream as a topping on other foods, but if your cat does eat sour cream, it should be fed on its own and only a very small amount.

In this article, we’ll look at whether sour cream is safe for cats to eat and the potential disadvantages of feeding sour cream to your feline companion.

Is Sour Cream Safe for Cats To Eat?

While not recommended, sour cream is generally safe for cats to eat. If you are considering feeding sour cream to your cat, though, make sure you only serve a small amount as a treat in moderation alongside their main diet.

Feeding your cat sour cream may have some advantages, as it’s rich in Vitamin K and A (in its most bioavailable form, retinol), riboflavin (Vitamin B2), calcium, and phosphorus.

It is important to check the ingredients on the tub of sour cream first, though, to make sure that it does not contain any chemicals, preservatives, and other harmful ingredients such as xylitol. Sour cream that is full of other unnecessary and harmful ingredients can upset your cat’s stomach.

When it comes to choosing the right sour cream to feed to your feline companion, always check the label and ensure that it is plain/unflavoured sour cream with no harmful additives and spices.

sour cream
Image Credit: Pikist

What Is Sour Cream? Ingredients & Additives

Sour cream is pure, cultured cream, with the main protein content being caseins and whey found in most dairy. Sour cream is made from lactic acid-producing bacteria that are added to dairy cream, resulting in a thick substance with a slightly sour and acidic taste.

Processed sour cream usually contains the following ingredients:
  • Guar gum
  • Sodium phosphate
  • Sodium citrate
  • Carrageenan
  • Calcium sulfate
  • Potassium sorbate
  • Locust bean gum
  • Sweeteners such as xylitol

Now, these ingredients may not look like something you would want to feed your cat, but you may be surprised to know that several of these ingredients are found in cat food.

However, xylitol is toxic to cats, even in small amounts, and should be avoided.

anxious looking tabby cat
Image Credit: StockSnap, Pixabay

When Is Sour Cream Not Safe for Cats To Eat?

Any flavored sour cream that contains added spices (chives, pepper, garlic, onion, chili), or artificial sweeteners like xylitol are not safe for cats to ingest. Most flavorings and spices added to sour cream can cause your cat digestive upset such as vomiting and diarrhea. This is because spices can upset the lining of your cat’s stomach and they cannot properly metabolize these spices as humans do.

Most containers of sour cream have these spices and flavors to appeal to humans, so you’ll want to look for plain sour cream only. Avoid feeding your cat sour cream used as a dip for chips, because this type of sour cream commonly has additives that are not safe for cats.

Since cats are obligate carnivores (meaning that their diet should primarily consist of meat-based proteins), sour cream and other human foods should only be fed as a rare treat. The amount of protein found in sour cream is not enough for their nutritional needs.

Other reasons why you should be cautious to feed your cat sour cream and other dairy:
  • Sour cream is quite high in fat, and you should avoid feeding your cat sour cream often and in large amounts as this puts your cat at risk of obesity.
  • Most cats are lactose intolerant after they have been weaned from their mother’s milk, so feeding them dairy-based foods will only cause them digestive problems.
  • While sour cream is not directly toxic or poisonous to cats, there’s no real nutritional benefit to feeding it to them, especially since they are likely lactose intolerant.

Final Thoughts

Sour cream is non-toxic to cats and you can feed plain sour cream to your cat occasionally as a treat, but moderation is key, though this is not recommended.

Cats have no nutritional need for dairy in their diet, and since it may cause them digestive issues, it’s best to leave sour cream off the menu.


Featured Image Credit: Pikist

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