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Can Cats Eat Gummy Bears? Is It Healthy for Them?

Vet approved

	Dr. Lorna Whittemore Photo

Written 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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Gummy bears are a fun treat for a snack or to wind down after a bad day. They’re chewy, sugary, and adorably tasty. If your cat is the sort to always demand a nibble of whatever you’re eating, you’ve probably considered giving them a gummy bear so they can enjoy the treat too.

Unfortunately, gummy bears shouldn’t be fed to cats. They are not toxic, but are not healthy for them either.

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Why Can’t Cats Eat Gummy Bears?

Choking Risk

Gummy bears might be soft, but their chewy stickiness could make them a hazard to our cats. Not only can these sweets get stuck to your cat’s teeth, the roof of their mouth, or even their throat, your cat may accidentally swallow a piece that’s too big and cause digestive problems.

Dental Issues

The sugary nature of gummy bears makes them overly sticky. If you’ve ever gotten one stuck in your teeth, you’ll know how much hassle it is to get it out again. Cats don’t have the same ability to dislodge stuck food that we do and usually resent tooth brushing!

veterinarian checks teeth of the maine coon cat
Image Credit: Ermolaev Alexander, Shutterstock

Nutrition

As obligate carnivores, cats get most of their nutritional needs from animal sources. Their diet should mostly consist of protein, moderate amounts of fat, a small amount of carbohydrates, and all the essential vitamins and minerals that they need.

Gummy bears are essentially sugar. The first two ingredients are glucose syrup and sugar. They don’t contain the nutrition that cats require as part of their diet.

Stomach Upset

Since cats’ bodies don’t process food the same way that ours do, most processed human food can be difficult for them to digest. They’re also not built to process too many non-meat foods. They have different levels of enzymes used to digest sugar than humans do such as amylase and intestinal disaccharidases.

While a small bite of one gummy bear might not cause any issues at all, eating too many could cause gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea.

Sugar Content

Sweet” is the best way to describe gummy bears. They are mostly made from sugar, gelatin, artificial sweeteners, and food dye, which makes them tasty treats but not the healthiest of options. Cats lack the taste receptors for sweet foods and so will not be attracted to the taste alone.

A natural diet for cats would consist of about 0%-12% percent carbohydrate but not glucose such as that in gummy bears.

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Can Cats Eat Sugar-Free Gummy Bears?

You might assume that sugar-free gummy bears are safe for your cat because the sugar content is one of the biggest risks to their health. However, sugar-free recipes use chemicals, additives, and other artificial sugars to mimic the taste of real sugar, which, although they are not usually toxic, are best avoided in the feline diet.

Xylitol is one of the most popular artificial sweeteners, and it’s often used in sugar-free chewing gum, baked goods, and candy.

While it’s harmless for humans and cats reportedly can tolerate it too, xylitol is highly toxic to dogs. If your dog ingests xylitol call your vet and watch for the signs below:

Symptoms of xylitol poisoning are:
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of coordination
  • Collapse
  • Seizures

Sugar content aside, sugar-free gummy bears don’t contain the necessary nutrients to be a healthy part of your cat’s diet.

Cat vomiting
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

Are Gummy Bears Toxic to Cats?

Although there are a range of reasons not to feed your cat gummy bears, fortunately, they aren’t outright toxic to your pet. That isn’t an excuse to feed more of them to your cat, however.

If you’ve caught your cat eating gummy bears, it isn’t likely to cause them a problem. Keep an eye on them to make sure the gummy bear passes through their system without causing an upset tummy.

The biggest issues posed by gummy bears would be caused by your cat eating many of them regularly as it may reduce their intake of nutritious cat food instead.

Do Cats Like Gummy Bears?

If your cat has eaten gummy bears before, whether by accident or not, you might wonder whether refusing to give them more is cruel. Stopping them from eating something that they enjoy can feel a bit mean.

However, while some cats might enjoy the texture and chewiness of gummy bears, cats can’t taste sweet food. The only part of a gummy bear that they’d enjoy is the texture rather than the taste.

We might eat a ton of gummy bears, heedless of the sugar content, because they taste delightfully sweet. Your cat, on the other hand, will only suffer from the consequences. In the end, there’s no benefit to your cat eating gummy bears at all.

gummy bears in a jar
Image Credit: DiamondRehabThailand, Pixabay

What Healthy Treats Can Cats Eat?

Gummy bears might be a no-go when it comes to treating your cat, but there are plenty of safe options that you can choose from.

These include:
  • Fresh, cooked meat or fish
  • Boiled eggs
  • Cat grass

You can even spoil them with commercial cat treats, provided that you don’t give them too many pieces too often. When it comes to treating your cat, moderation is key, aim for no more than 5% of their diet. Not all foods are safe for your cat, though, so make sure you know the food that you choose isn’t toxic before feeding it to them.

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Final Thoughts

Gummy bears might be a sweet treat for us, but they shouldn’t be fed to cats. They’re not toxic, but they do pose some potential health risks to cats.

If your cat sneaks a bite when you’re not looking, watch them carefully to make sure the gummy bear passes through their system without causing problems. Keep your gummy bears out of your cat’s reach to keep their diet as healthy and balanced as possible.

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Featured Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay

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