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Can Cats Drink Beer? What You Need to Know!

If any animal species on the planet seems like it would benefit from a nice cold beer, it’s a cat. Unfortunately, though, sharing beer — or alcohol of any kind — with your kitty is an extremely bad idea.

Fortunately, most cats don’t care for the taste of beer, anyway, so it shouldn’t be hard to keep them away from your stash. For more information on why alcohol is so bad for cats — and how to make sure it never becomes a problem for you — read on.

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Is Beer Safe for Cats?

Most of the ingredients in beer are fairly innocuous for cats, with one big exception: the alcohol.

Alcohol is extremely toxic for cats, and it can cause alcohol poisoning, a potentially fatal condition. It’s potent too, as only a few tablespoons of alcohol can be deadly to some animals.

Not all beer has the same amount of alcohol, of course, so if your cat drinks some, the severity of the issue will depend on how potent the beer is; light beer is generally less dangerous than the darker stuff. Also, the amount that’s been consumed is important, but most cats won’t drink too much, anyway.

Hops can also be dangerous to cats, but that’s usually only an issue if you’re brewing your own drinks. They can cause a condition called malignant hyperthermia, which is just as bad as it sounds.

What Does Alcohol Poisoning in Cats Look Like?

cat and beer
Image Credit: Gladkova Svetlana, Shutterstock

Since beer is relatively low in alcohol, taking a few laps out of your glass shouldn’t hurt your cat too much. If you catch your cat drinking some of your beer, just watch them for a little while to make sure they’re fine.

In particular, you should be on the lookout for the following symptoms:

  • Lethargy
  • Lack of coordination
  • Vomiting or retching
  • Excessive drooling
  • Weakness or collapse
  • Decreased respiratory rate
  • Low blood sugar
  • Low blood pressure
  • Low body temperature

You may also notice your cat experiencing seizures and respiratory failure; at that point, the disease is fairly advanced, so you should immediately seek out emergency medical treatment.

My Cat Just Drank Some Alcohol. What Should I Do?

As mentioned, the first thing you should do is determine what they drank and how much. If it’s just a little taste of light beer, you should probably be fine; just monitor your cat for a bit. Anything more than that — or anything stronger than that — and you should start to worry.

Look for the symptoms mentioned above, but if you know your cat has had a large amount of alcohol, it’s probably wise to take proactive steps instead of waiting around to see how your cat will react. Calling poison control is a good start, and you should look up emergency vets in your area, in case you need to rush your cat to the doctor.

While you’re waiting for more information, try to get your cat to drink water. This can stave off dehydration and limit the damage, but it can be hard to convince an unwilling cat to drink. You should also gather up everything that you might need to take your cat to the vet, like a carrier, leash, or whatever else you feel is necessary.

If your vet tells you to bring your cat in, don’t waste any time, as the longer your cat goes without treatment, the worse their odds will be. Once you arrive at the clinic, be sure to give them all the information you can, like what they drank, how much, and when.

Your vet will likely want to perform blood tests to get a sense of your cat’s vitals, and they may want to put your cat on artificial ventilation, IV fluids, cardiac therapy, or specialized medication to lower the alcohol levels in your kitty’s bloodstream.

How Can I Prevent My Cat From Drinking Beer?

Beer mugs
Image Credit: Engin_Akyurt, Pixabay

Most cats aren’t interested, so you don’t need to go to extremes to hide your beer. Still, keeping any alcohol out of reach of your pets is the most important step that you can take to prevent an accident.

As you’re likely well aware, many cats love to knock things off counters — and the more breakable the item, the more cats love to swat at it. Beer bottles can be especially enticing, so don’t leave them out on counters or tabletops.

Watch where you set open containers as well. Your cat may just come by and help themselves to a sip out of your glass if you’re not careful, and again, the urge to push it onto the floor may be more temptation than they can handle.

If you’re especially fanatical about keeping your cat safe, then the most effective way to do so is never to bring alcohol home in the first place. However, sometimes alcohol lurks in strange places like cooking ingredients, so even staying sober may not be enough to keep your cat from getting into some alcohol.

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So, What’s the Verdict? Is Beer Safe for Cats?

Cats should never be given beer, as the alcohol inside can cause serious issues for them, up to and including death. As a result, you should be extra careful whenever you have beer in the house.

Beer is one of the less-dangerous alcoholic beverages, but even so, you should keep it away from your cats. While it may be delicious for you, it’s not worth it if it ends up costing your pet their life.

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Featured Image Credit: Engin_Akyurt, Pixabay