For us, humans, honey has a plethora of health benefits. It’s one of the best ways to soothe a pesky sore throat. Raw honey is rich in antioxidants and contains some antibacterial properties. This makes it a great addition to your diet for all the right reasons. At this point, we can surely all agree that honey is the sweetest gift from Mother Nature. But is it good for cats too? Or rather, is honey safe for cats?
Is honey safe for cats?
Cats are known to have an inability to taste sweet things. This might be the reason why there is a bit of controversy concerning whether honey is safe for them to eat or not. Well, honey is not on the list of toxic foods for cats. For that reason, it is considered safe for them. Though that doesn’t mean you should let your kitty gobble up a jar of honey. There are several things to consider before feeding honey to the cats. You might discover the risks outweigh the health benefits your cat will reap from this sweet treat.
Why vets don’t recommend feeding honey to your cat
Since honey is not toxic for cats, it’s easy to get carried away and let your cat eat as much as she likes. After all, don’t we all like spoiling our fur babies? Letting your cat lick a little bit of honey from a spoon will most likely not do any harm. But honey can also be a problem for your cat because they are unable to digest it well.
Honey is difficult for cats to digest. Are you wondering why? It’s because our feline companions have delicate and complex digestive systems. The components found in honey that cats cannot digest very well are glucose and fructose. Unfortunately, their digestive systems are not designed to take on these components. Honey is rich in these sugars, making it unsuitable for many cats.
Feeding honey to your kitty is not recommended because their bodies can’t process glucose and fructose. Regardless of the honey, these sugars are still present and are indigestible for the cats. The cat’s livers do not have the enzyme glucokinase. This is the enzyme responsible for breaking down sugars completely.
On top of that, cats are carnivores and hence lack the ability to taste any sweet things, including honey. That’s probably why many cats might not show any interest in eating honey. This is because they won’t enjoy it as a delicious treat. However, some cats still eat honey, even when they cannot taste sweetness. That being said, honey will not provide the vital nutrients your feline companion needs to stay healthy and strong. Honey lacks proteins, fiber, and essential vitamins for cats. The only thing it will offer is sugars, which your cat does not need anyway.
What will happen if my cat eats honey?
While honey is not toxic for cats, it’s safe in only small amounts. As discussed, cats are unable to digest the sugars found in honey. Therefore, feeding it to your kitty often can cause stomach aches and other digestive issues. Some people will argue that there are health benefits of feeding honey to cats. But when you critically think about it, the downsides tend to be more than we can ignore.
For starters, some cats are very sensitive, and giving them foods not part of their natural cat food diet can cause problems. A small serving of honey might be enough to make your cat experience issues in their digestive system. Therefore, always practice-informed caution when thinking of feeding honey to your cat for whatever reason.
If your cat suffers from health conditions like obesity or diabetes, honey should be off-limits. They tend to experience stomach aches quite easily. It can also contribute to weight gain. A tablespoon of honey contains roughly 64 calories. This is actually a significant amount for cats and hence can cause weight issues. For diabetic cats, honey can potentially increase insulin levels.
If your cat ingests honey and you notice symptoms of uneasiness, call your vet for further guidance. Furthermore, for cats that have undiagnosed health problems, eating honey can worsen the condition. Also, keep honey away from kittens, especially since they might have underdeveloped immune systems. The sugar content and calories can pose potential harm. But for an overall healthy cat, a small amount of honey should not be a cause for concern. At most, the cat will experience a little bit of indigestion for a few hours.
How much honey can cats safely eat?
As mentioned, the downsides of honey tend to outweigh the benefits. The calories are enough to make your cat gain weight quickly. But if for any reason you must give your cat honey, the safest amount would be half a teaspoon. You should also talk to a vet before feeding your pet honey, even if it’s for medical reasons. This will help with ruling out the potential health issues that might occur.
Keep an eye on the cat for the signs of allergic reactions such as vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. Another thing to remember is that not all forms of honey are safe for cats. It’s best if you avoid processed honey that might have additives and artificial sweeteners. These are not good for the health of your cat.
The best thing to do is to go with raw honey. This honey is in its purest form and might have some health benefits. On the other hand, processed honey has been stripped of all the health benefits. It’s often left with nothing but empty calories.
Honey is not toxic for cats but can cause stomach distress. At best, avoid giving your cat honey for the one reason that the downsides are way too significant. In spite of the alleged health benefits, honey is not suitable food for your kitty. Opt for other healthy foods that are not only safe for cats but also nutritious. The organic sugars of the raw honey are no good for your furball.