I love whipped cream. Who doesn’t? My cat loves it too, I know this because she has stolen a lick more than once, but can cats eat whipped cream without having an upset tummy or any other issues?
Because that’s the question we should ask ourselves every time our cats steal a crafty lick (or we share) any human foods.
The good news is – I’ve done some solid research into the subject and left no stone unturned.
The bad news is – whipped cream is firmly off the menu for your cat in any shape, form, or volume. (sorry kitties).
It’s actually an interesting topic though, so I urge you to read on. You’ll find out some interesting facts about cats and milk, cats and cream, and some stuff I bet you never knew about whipped cream.
You’ll end the article better informed about what foods are potentially harmful for cats. That can’t be bad.
What Exactly Is Whipped Cream?
Whipped cream, also called squirty cream and Chantilly cream, is formed when heavy cream, which is normal liquid-form cream, is whipped until it’s light and fluffy.
Basically, when you’re whipping the cream it becomes more stable and loads of tiny bubbles of air gets trapped inside forming that cloud-like appearance.
I mentioned at the beginning of the article that I love whipped cream. I’ve made it countless times as a filler or topper for cakes and sponges. As well as topping off a coffee or hot chocolate when I have a little left over.
Which is why I know my cats likes it. As I’ve left bowls and spoons out that she’s helped herself too on more than one occasion.
So, Can Cats Eat Whipped Cream?
Unfortunately not, no. By ‘can’ obviously we know they can eat it, but the problem is that they really shouldn’t be eating it.
One of the most common, and potentially dangerous misconceptions about cats is that they can eat dairy products. They love eating dairy products, but the issue is that they are actually lactose intolerant and dairy products can cause some serious health issues!
But Kittens Feed off Their Mother’s Milk, Right?
That’s right, kittens do feed off their mother’s milk for the first few weeks of their lives.
A mother’s milk is vital to a kitten’s healthy development. It contains just the right amount of fat, protein, and nutrients to help them develop and grow into healthy cats.
Kittens are able to digest the main sugar in their mother’s milk, lactose. As much like many other mammals it provides some important nutrients and is a source of energy for them.
As they are weaned off milk and onto other foods however, the enzyme that helps them digest lactose starts to disappear. By time a kitten has become an adult they no longer have the ability to digest lactose.
What Happens If a Cat Consumes Whipped Cream (And Other Foods with Lactose)?
My cat has only ever had a little lick of cream at any one time, and hasn’t shown at any effects as it was such a small amount.
Talking to a friend before writing this however, they told me they had given their cats some whipped cream before without knowing it was bad for them. And, well, it was bad for them.
He described a combination of vomiting and diarrhea. Two very unpleasant side-effects of consuming a lactose-heavy food. As to why you can expect similar ill-effects if your cat gets their hands on your cream, Webmd explains it best;
When cats consume cream, milk, or any other dairy products with lactose in, they are unable to digest the lactose and it simply passes through their intestinal tract while taking water with it.
Bacteria in the cat’s colon also ferments with the undigested lactose sugars and this causes a pretty nasty cocktail of fluid that needs to come out. So your cat will either vomit, have diarrhea, or both within 8-12 hours.
You might find this article interesting – can cats eat Greek yogurt? Greek yogurt is much lower in lactose than normal yogurt, and therefore safer in small amounts.
Does This Mean Cow’s Milk Is Bad for Cats?
Yes, that’s absolutely what it means. Despite what you may have seen characterized in programs on TV, giving a cat a bowl of milk is not a good idea.
There are some other milks and dairy products that are better for cats. It really just comes down to how much lactose is in the product.
If you really want to give your cat milk, there are specially formulated milks that are designed for cats. Like this Kitten Milk Replacer Formula (available on Amazon);
Hartz Powdered Kitten Milk Replacer Formula
It’s 98% lactose reduced, so it’s targeting the issue that cats have with digesting normal milk while still tasting the same.
You can also try The Honest Kitchen’s Instant Goat Milk – it’s made for both cats and dogs.
The Honest Kitchen’s Instant Goat Milk For Cats
Either of these cat milks makes for a great alternative to whipped cream and should give your cat their dairy fix without any of the associated health issues.
Do remember however that these are still to be treated as occasional treats. A shallow saucer a day for a few days until you’ve finished the carton should be fine.
TL;DR – In Summary
For those who like to skim, the bottom line is that whipped cream, heavy cream, normal cream, and even milk for that matter, are all bad for cats and will almost certainly cause vomiting or diarrhoea.
Soon after weaning off their mother’s milk, cats start becoming lactose intolerant (almost all dairy products have lactose in). This is the reason why they get sick eating cream, which is very heavy in lactose.
Even when your cat is staring at you, bothering you, and begging you to let them have some of that whipped cream you’re putting on top of your coffee or spreading on a cake – don’t give in.
It’s in you and your cat’s best interest not to let them eat whipped cream. If we look at the positives, that means there is more for you!