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Can Cats Eat Sherbet? 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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Have you ever wondered, as you were enjoying a cold bowl of sherbet on a hot day, whether or not it would be ok to share a bit of your yummy dessert with your favorite feline companion? Most cat lovers have seen their cats enjoy a lick or two of ice cream, so it’s reasonable to wonder if it’s ok for cats to eat sherbet. So, will eating sherbet harm your cat? The answer is pretty simple. In most cases, and when we’re talking a lick or two, kitties can enjoy a bit of this delicious icy treat without you having to worry about an emergency vet bill. If your question, on the other hand, is if it’s healthy for them, the answer is not really. There are tons of treats that are better for your cat to enjoy.

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What Is Sherbet?

Sherbet is a frozen treat made of water, milk fat, and sugar. It usually features a fruit-based flavoring, but you can find brands featuring wine and liquor flavors. As a general rule, the fat content of the desert comes from either cream or milk and tops out at 10% fat. It often contains either egg whites or gelatin to bind the ingredients together into the creamy soft treat. Fun fact: the word sherbet is related to the Persian term sharbat used to describe an iced fruit drink. Sherbet and sorbet are totally different deserts, in case you were wondering. Both are icy, delicious, and tend to have fruit flavoring, but sorbet doesn’t contain milk or cream. You might be familiar with sorbet as a between-course palate cleanser!

So Why Isn’t It Healthy for My Cat To Eat Sherbet?

Cats Eating a Popsicle
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

After looking at the sherbet ingredient list, you might be thinking, that doesn’t seem too unhealthy? The desert includes things like milk or cream and eggs. How can that be bad for cats? Let’s review the most common sherbet ingredients with regard to their impact on your cat’s health.

Milk

Believe it or not, milk and cream are not actually good for cats. If your four-footed friend gets too much milk, butter, or cream, it can cause gastrointestinal distress. Cats can’t digest the lactose in cow’s milk, so there’s a good chance you’ll end up having to clean up a bit of diarrhea if you let your cat indulge in too much milk or cream.

Fruit

Most cats are fine eating fruits such as watermelon, strawberries, apples, bananas, and blueberries. Although most cats will probably ignore any raw fruit you offer them, kitties don’t have taste receptors that pick up on sweet flavors, so fruit is often of little interest. Citrus fruits, on the other hand, are toxic to cats and need to be avoided. Any sherbet containing lemon, orange, or limes should be avoided.

Alcohol

It should go without saying that it’s utterly inappropriate to feed your cat or allow them to get into anything containing alcohol. One small teaspoon of alcohol is toxic enough to put an adult cat into a coma. Kitties that get into booze sometimes end up with liver function problems or central nervous system deficits.

Sugar

Cats, much like humans, don’t really need added sugar in their diets. Excess sugar often leads to weight gain, resulting in obesity if you’re not careful. Overweight cats often suffer from various preventable health conditions, including arthritis and high blood pressure. It also puts them at a higher risk of developing diseases such as cancer, and giving your cat sugar can be harmful if your cat has a condition such as diabetes. Diabetic cats have trouble regulating the amount of insulin their bodies produce and end up with blood sugar levels so high that it can cause tissue damage, blood vessel problems, and neuropathy.

Eggs

Cats can eat eggs, which are a common ingredient in many cat foods. In fact, it’s totally fine to give your cat a bit of cooked egg as a treat now and then. When it comes to sherbet, commercial products containing eggs will have been subjected to pasteurization, which kills any potentially harmful bacteria like salmonella that could harm your cat. If you’re making sorbet or ice cream at home and using raw egg whites as a stabilizer, it’s best not to let your cat get into your homemade dessert.

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What About the Temperature?

black and white cat eating ice cream
Image Credit: NicO_l, Shutterstock

There’s nothing harmful about allowing your cat to have a lick of a cold treat if they seem to enjoy it. In fact, giving your buddy a protein-based, cat-friendly frozen treat is a great way to help your feline friend cool off on a hot day!

Is Ice Cream Any Better?

Ice cream has a higher percentage of milk fat, which contains cat-unfriendly lactose. Sherbet, on the other hand, often has more sugar than ice cream. Ultimately, neither of these desserts is good for your cat to eat. But if your cat is overweight, opt for the option with less sugar.

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Are There Cat-Friendly Alternatives?

Yes. There are tons of yummy cat-friendly frozen alternatives out there that will give your cat something nice and cool to enjoy on hot summer days. You can always freeze commercial pureed cat treats and give them to your four-footed buddy on a hot day. Or you can make your own! All you need is an ice tray, some dolphin-friendly tuna in water, and filtered water. Drain the water from the tuna, add the filtered water, pour it into the ice cube tray, and freeze.

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Featured Image Credit: jyliagorbacheva, Pixabay

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