Cats are independent creatures, but they rely on us humans to take care of their nutritional needs. Commercial cat food is the easiest way to feed a cat, but sometimes, felines get into other types of food due to curiosity or hunger. They are especially interested in meat products, which makes sense because they are obligate carnivores, but they are also often drawn to dairy. So, it may seem okay to feed your cat vanilla pudding as a snack. Is vanilla pudding safe and healthy for them?
There is no reason to panic if your cat happens to eat a small amount of vanilla pudding, but they shouldn’t be doing so. There are a few reasons to keep vanilla pudding away from your feline family member, and there are healthier alternatives to consider instead. Let’s dig into these topics.
The Ingredients Are What Makes Vanilla Pudding Off-Limits for Cats
Cats may be attracted to vanilla pudding because it’s filled with calories and animal protein, but that doesn’t make the treat good for them. Vanilla pudding is filled with ingredients that we humans can handle during the digestion phase, but these ingredients are not as easily handled by our furry feline friends. The ingredients found in vanilla pudding include milk, butter, sugar, and salt, and they can all negatively impact your kitty in one way or another. Let’s examine each of these ingredients.
Unfortunately, almost all cats are lactose intolerant. After being weaned from their mother’s milk, they lose their ability to digest the sugars in lactose. If your kitty is lactose intolerant, they could experience problems like cramping, diarrhea, and even vomiting. Milk also tends to be high in fat, which is something cats do not need any extra of. Too much fat in the diet could lead to obesity and obesity-related health problems.
Leaving butter on the counter can attract your furry family member and become a tasty snack for them before you realize what is going on. However, butter isn’t something that your kitty should be snacking on at any time. Eating butter can cause digestion issues and other serious problems for your cat. There is a chance that they will develop gastroenteritis, which means their intestinal lining has become inflamed. High fat food can also in some cases lead to the development of pancreatitis, which is a serious illness that could potentially lead to death.
Cats can’t taste sweet because they wouldn’t eat sugary foods in the wild. These carnivores are designed to seek out animal proteins, not fruits and cookies. So, sugar is nothing more than empty calories for your cat because they should be getting all the carbohydrates and nutrition that they need in their regular meals. Eating sugar can lead to the consumption of too many calories, which can lead to problems like obesity and heart disease. Therefore, it’s a good idea to keep sugar out of your cat’s diet.
Both dogs and cats are sensitive to salt intake. If your kitty ingests enough salt, they could end up dealing with problems such as vomiting, tremors, seizures, lethargy, and even coma. While there typically is not much salt in vanilla pudding, it will be in addition to their daily requirements, so it’s safest just to avoid it altogether.
With all these ingredients combined in one food, it is risky to offer your cat any amount of vanilla pudding, even if it’s just the leftovers in the container that you couldn’t scrape out with your spoon.
Healthier Alternatives to Vanilla Pudding for Your Cat
While vanilla pudding is a no-go for your kitty, there are plenty of other human foods that are safe to offer in moderation. The key is to choose foods that offer nutritional value and include no toxic ingredients. Here are a few options to consider:
No human food should be offered as anything more than a snack or a treat. The more human foods that your cat eats, the less room they will have for their nutrition-packed commercial food.
Just because your cat shouldn’t eat vanilla pudding doesn’t mean they cannot enjoy human foods with you. When cooking yourself chicken for dinner, cook a small piece with no seasonings just for your feline friend. If you’re cutting up a banana for your cereal, share a slice with your kitty. They will appreciate these offerings without the risk to their health.
Featured Image Credit: Brent Hofacker, Shutterstock