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Can Cats Drink Ensure? Is It Healthy for Them?

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	Dr. Lorna Whittemore Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lorna Whittemore

Vet, MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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When your cat isn’t feeling well, you want to make sure they stay hydrated. Since a loss of appetite can strike humans and animals alike when they’re sick, it’s essential for your cat to get the nutrition they need so they can become happy and healthy once again.

Yes, cats can drink Ensure, but there are better options. But is it healthy for them? While going a couple of days without eating may be okay, keeping your cat hydrated is crucial to their recovery.

What should you do to keep your cat hydrated when they’re sick? Is it okay to give them Ensure?

We’ll answer these questions and more in our article below.

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Can Cats Drink Ensure?

While cats can drink Ensure, it’s best to only give the drink to them in emergency situations and only as a last resort. It is not toxic to them (avoid the chocolate flavors) but is not good for them either.

Now that we know that they can safely drink Ensure, we’ll go into a few of the reasons to give it to your cat, if it’s healthy for them, and more in our next sections.

Is Ensure Healthy for Cats?

Cats need to stay hydrated and drink a lot of water in order to stay healthy. However, if your cat is sick or not eating and drinking for some reason, you could give them Ensure to entice them to drink.

Ensure does provide hydration and energy but not from ideal sources for cats.

The problem with Ensure comes in when you consider the amount of sugar and other ingredients it contains, which aren’t good for your cat. It contains water, milk proteins, corn maltodextrin, sugar, soy protein and canola oil. The milk proteins, maltodextrin and sugar are not advised in cat diets.  It is also relatively high in salt which can be a problem for cats too.

You should never include Ensure as a part of your cat’s daily diet. However, if you’re having problems with them drinking and eating, you do need to consult your vet for diagnosis and treatment options, which could include Ensure if it is the only suitable thing you have at home.

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When Should You Give Your Cat Ensure?

Many pet parents aren’t sure when they should give their feline friend Ensure. As we previously said, it’s best to only give them Ensure as a last resort in an emergency.

If your cat refuses to drink water or can’t keep it down, then you can give them Ensure to keep them hydrated, but only temporarily.

The Ensure could give your cat the boost required to keep them stable until you can get them to the vet.

If your cat has gotten to this point in their sickness, however, you need to make an appointment with your vet for them to be seen as soon as possible. You also should never feed your cat Ensure without first getting the approval of your vet—just to be on the safe side.

cat and glass of milk
Image Credit: Thiskoon, Shutterstock

What Other Options Are There?

While you could give your cat Ensure if there are no other options and they are sick, there are other options out there.

While the best thing to give your cat is water, you can also feed them homemade soups, just as you do yourself when you have a cold, the flu, or are dehydrated and sick.

You can feed your cat homemade beef or chicken broth or even homemade bone broth. However, avoid feeding them any of these out of a can because there’s too much salt and artificial fillers in them, and they’ll just upset your cat’s tummy even further. Cat pet food options are available.

Do not add any herbs, seasonings, salt, garlic, or onions to the broth you make your sick kitty. The seasonings can upset their digestive system, and garlic and onions are toxic to cats and should be avoided entirely.

Recovery supplemental feeds are also available with all the right nutrients made especially for cats such as Virbac Rebound.

If you’re still unsure of what to give your cat when they are sick and unable to eat or drink, contact your vet, and they’ll help you come up with a plan.

What Is the Best Thing to Feed Your Cat?

When your cat isn’t sick, a balanced diet is the best thing to feed them. Cats need protein, carbohydrates, and fat in their diets.

You always want to have high-quality, protein-packed food on hand for your feline pal and plenty of fresh water at all times.

If you’re unsure as to whether your cat is eating and drinking the way they should, make an appointment with your vet for a checkup to see if there are any underlying problems that need to be addressed.

Russian Blue Cat Eating
Image Credit: Simon kadula_Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

In conclusion, cats can drink Ensure, but only in limited situations and only as a last resort. Make sure that you contact your vet and ask them if it’s okay to give your cat Ensure.

It’s best to give your cat another option if at all possible, but Ensure will work if your vet approves it, until you can get your cat to them, to diagnose and treat the issue the right way.

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Featured Image: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

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