Can cats eat sherbet? Or sorbet? Or even ice cream? These are questions a lot of cat owners ask as they peer over the top of their dessert to see those big feline eyes staring back at them.
Even though cats cannot taste sugar and sweet things as we can, it’s no secret that they love most desserts. Especially those that contain milk, cream, or any other dairy products.
You’re right to question whether or not your kitty can lick the bowl after you’ve had your dessert, however. Cats have complex dietary needs and their stomachs are easily upset.
If you’re wondering whether or not you should share your sherbet (or sorbet as I’ll explain), here’s everything you need to be aware of:
Can Cats Eat Sherbet?
The answer to this question is the same as it is for most human treat foods – Yes, cats can eat a tiny amount as a treat and they shouldn’t show any ill effects.
The moral dilemma is this; there’s no nutritional benefit for your cat eating sherbet, so should you give them some?
If you have a sweet tooth as I do, we both know how hard it is to indulge in a dessert that also doesn’t have any nutritional benefit to us. But sweet desserts to give us some psychological satisfaction, which is why we eat them.
Cat’s, at least as far as we know, do not get the same satisfaction. Sure, they clearly enjoy eating puddings and foods with dairy in, but it’s not good for them. With this in mind, I don’t share sherbet and other similar desserts with my cats.
If you want to treat your kitty and see them happily purring away as they eat something other than their regular food, buy them cat treats. That’s my two cents on it.
The Difference Between Sherbet and Sorbet
Just so we’re on the same page, I want to clear up the difference between these two similar desserts. Sherbet and sorbet are two words that are often used interchangeably, but there is a difference between these two desserts.
Sorbet contains no dairy. The three main ingredients used to make sorbet are;
Sherbet contains more ingredients than sorbet. To make sherbet, you need:
- Cream (Check out if cats can eat whipped cream or not here)
- Egg whites
- Sorbet mixture
The result is a frozen dessert that tastes a lot richer than sorbet (to me, sorbet always tastes like flavored ice). It’s a lot creamer, while being a lot lighter than ice cream and has to be 2% or lower in fat to be classified as a “Sherbet”.
Cats are much more likely to be drawn to sherbet for this reason.
Not to Be Confused with Sherbet Powder (UK)
Sherbet is one of those words that has a very different meaning in UK English as it does in US English.
In the UK and many other European countries, sherbet is a fizzy powder that’s usually used to dip lollipops and other sweets into. It’s made from sugar, flavorings, and acid such as tartaric, citric, or malic acid.
The acid-carbonate creates a fizzy reaction when eaten, which kids love. It’s not the healthiest option, however, and is certainly much worse for cats than the US sherbet.
If you were looking for an answer to whether or not cats can eat fizzy sherbet, keep this well out of the reach of your cats.
Can Cats Eat Sorbet?
I can imagine a lot of cats will lick sorbet as they do enjoy cold foods. But, as I’ve already explained when talking about sherbet, there’s really no reason to let them eat sorbet.
There is no nutritional value for cats in a sorbet. It’s not going to do them any harm to have a lick now and again if they really enjoy it, so I’ll leave it up to you to decide.
Can Cats Eat Ice Cream?
I explained above that sherbet contains 2% or lower fat. Ice cream, on the other hand, is typically around 11% fat.
Ice cream contains a lot more milk, cream, sugar, and other ingredients that are bad for cats. Not to mention that brain freeze is a real thing that affects cats as well as humans!
You should not give your cat any more than a small amount of ice cream on a special occasion. Even doing that is likely to create an ice cream craving fluff ball that harasses you next time you open a tub of Ben & Jerry’s, so think it over.
Don’t Forget – Cats Are Lactose Intolerant
Like many of us, cats are lactose intolerant.
This is one of the biggest surprises for new cat owners. It doesn’t help that cats are often portrayed as enjoying a bowl of milk in illustrations and on TV. Well, they do enjoy a bowl of milk, it’s just not good for them.
They aren’t intolerant as kittens, of course. Kittens consume milk from their mothers before they’re able to eat solid foods. But as cats age and move on to solid foods, their digestive system also changes.
To digest lactose, a cat’s digestive system must contain the enzyme lactase, which is present while they’re kittens. They produce less of this enzyme as they age, just as many humans do, making it harder to digest lactose.
Every cat is different, and some are able to digest dairy products better than others. But as a general rule, you should avoid letting your cats eat milk, ice cream, and other dairy products.
As you can probably guess – Eggnog is bad for cats – here’s why.
In Summary – Cats and Sherbet, Sorbet, Ice Cream, and Other Desserts
If you’re on the fence about giving in to your cat and letting them have a little nibble or lick on your sherbet, sorbet, or even ice cream, then it’s fine if it’s a small amount as a treat. Much like how we should handle our sweet desserts, right?
The difference is that cats have much more complex dietary requirements than we do, and we’re the ones giving them their food.
So, please keep the sweet treats like sherbet to a minimum. It’s for the best. You don’t want your cat to have an upset stomach, this could lead to a cleanup job for a bout of diarrhea or vomiting.
Never a pleasant task!
What sweet desserts and treats does your cat like? Don’t worry, I’m not going to judge you! Feel free to share what foods your cat loves having a taste of below. Thanks.