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Can Cats Drink Alcohol? What You Need to Know!

As humans, most of us look forward to a nice drink to wind down for the evening. Grabbing a drink with a friend or cracking a cold one on the couch seems like a dream after a hard day’s work. It’s only normal to wish we could extend the invitation to our furry friends.

But what can it really do to your cat if they ingest alcohol of any kind? Does it matter? Yes, it does. Hard beverage sharing with your feline is off the table.

cat face divider 2The Dangerous Reality of Alcohol for Cats

Cats are very different from humans in nearly every way. As much as we find them relatable, they can’t handle the same diets we have. Cats are strict carnivores, meaning they only eat meat. The good news is, things like alcohol rarely appeal to a cat’s appetite.

brown bengal cat sniffing at an open wine bottle_steve heap_shutterstock
Credit: Steve Heap, Shutterstock

You may be curious about whether a cat can have beer, wine, or liquor — or they may have already drunk a bit by accident. If you suspect your cat may have had a good swig from your glass, you must contact your vet for further advice.

Cats and Ethanol Don’t Mix

Ethanol is a grain-based clear liquid compound, also referred to as alcohol. This is a very harmful substance that can shut down your cat’s system.

Imagine what too much does to you — and then think of your cat. Their bodies are much smaller, and alcohol is much harder on their system. Even just a taste could have a very negative impact, including ultimately dying from alcohol poisoning.

Are Spirits, Beer, and Wine All Bad?

Your cat will probably agree that any alcohol is bad — and not just from a medical standpoint. The taste is unpleasant for most felines, so it’s a relatively uncommon issue for owners.

If your cat is so finicky that they won’t eat their latest bag of chow, they probably won’t bother with your cold brew on the counter.

But if they do test the waters — or the wine, rather — it matters what they drank. While the type of alcohol says a lot, the quantity matters much more.

  1. Beer, hard cider, wine coolers
  2. Wine, champagne
  3. Mixed drinks
  4. Liquor, Everclear

Even a tiny bit of hard liquor can have lethal effects. While they may recover from beer or wine consumption, you should remove the risk altogether.

Side Effects of Alcohol in Cats

There are some very noticeable changes relatively soon after your cat consumes alcohol.

Visual Cues:
  • Lack of coordination
  • Confusion
  • Loss of consciousness

If your cat ever drinks alcohol, even the smallest amount can cause a broad spectrum of side effects. Your cat will have a specific bodily reaction, which could range from mild to severe. To err on the side of caution, keep paws out of your pilsner.

Even a small amount of ethanol can cause issues such as:
  • Kidney failure
  • Liver failure
  • Respiratory failure
  • Death

If you think your cat came in contact with any alcohol, don’t wait for symptoms to show up before you head to the vet. This matter is very time-sensitive.

drunk cat_sandyman_shutterstock
Credit: sandyman, Shutterstock

Keeping Your Cat Safe

Always remember to be a responsible pet owner. Intentionally giving your cat alcohol is not funny or safe. There is never a time where giving your cat alcohol is advisable. It is not appropriate or harmless to offer your pet even the smallest amount.

So, just remember:
  • Ethanol is extremely deadly to cats
  • Every drink from, beer to hard liquor, is dangerous
  • Your cat can have severe side effects on alcohol, including death

Cats must say no to the bottle. But that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy time with you while you’re indulging in a nightcap.

Cat Wine — A New Alternative

You know the whole concept of if you can think of it, it probably exists? That’s very true in this instance. Cat wine is a thing—and some felines are loving it.

Certain companies make cat-specific wines with clever names to include them in our good time. Cat wine is non-alcoholic and specially formulated for your feline. So, if you’re winding down with a glass of chilled wine, your cat can join in. Most recipes have catnip included.

Always monitor any new addition to your cat’s diet. While these wines are created for your cat, that doesn’t mean every kitty system will take kindly to the concoction.

The content in these wines may cause an upset stomach, so watch for side effects. If your cat has any vomiting or diarrhea, continuing to give them cat wine may not be the wisest choice.

But if you want to share a relaxing treat with your best bud, it’s something to consider.

cat paw dividerAlcohol for Cats — Final Thoughts

Alcohol is a strict no for cats, and that’s final. Any amount of alcohol can react differently with your cat, ending in even death.  Losing your pet isn’t worth a taste of beer. But if you think your pet may have taken a sip or two, get a hold of your vet so you can address the situation.

And, if you want your cat to feel like they’re part of the party—you could always surprise them with a splash of catnip cat wine.


Featured image credit: PhotoMIX-Company, Pixabay