Can cats eat honey?
Honey is not listed as toxic to cats, but we are still reluctant to say yes as there are many caveats involved.
Are you a feline lover who happens to love honey—putting some in your hot and cold beverages? You must know that honey is also beneficial for our overall health in addition to sweetening our beverages. But does that mean honey is good for cats too? Can cats eat honey? And what about baby kittens?
Human Food and Cats
As feline lovers, we want the best for our furry friends. We make sure that the food we are pouring in their bowls meets all their nutritional requirements. But our mischievous cats are not satiated by the food that we pour in their dishes—they want a bite of everything we eat. Cat meowing and begging for human food is not an unusual sight, and neither is cat owners happily sharing what they are eating with their feline fellas.
It is not that our cats prefer human food over their cat food. It’s just the typical feline curiosity that makes our cats meow and begs for the very thing you are putting in your mouth. While we know that as a loving cat parent, it will be hard for you to stop yourself from sharing your food with your cat but please, do not give them any human food unless you are sure that it is safe for them.
There are many human foods that are safe for cats to eat. But still one needs to be careful while offering these human foods to cats as there are many caveats attached.
Let’s get specific. Let’s get into the details of cats and honey. Can cats have honey?
Cats and Honey
Honey is one of Mother Nature’s most delightful and healthy sweets. It is not only used in hot and cold beverages but in many culinary recipes.
Many times, when we are pouring a spoon of honey in our coffee, our feline friends come running, meowing and begging for a hint of honey. At that particular moment, a question pops up in our head: ‘Can cats eat honey?’
Nutrient Profile of Honey
Below we have listed some of the nutrients present in 100 grams of honey as per the USDA Food Central.
|Nutrients||Amount per 100 g|
|Total Sugars Glucose Fructose||82.4 g 35.8 g 40.9 g|
|Dietary fibers||0.2 g|
|Vitamin C||0.5 g|
Can Cats Eat Honey?
Honey is not toxic to cats. So yes, cats can have a lick or two of honey without experiencing any health issues. But honey is not considered the best treatment for cats; rather, most vets and cat nutritionists strongly advise against offering any honey to cats. For many cats, eating even a teaspoon of honey can cause gastrointestinal health issues.
To fully understand this predicament, you should continue reading the article, as there is more to the answer than a simple nod of yes or no.
Can Kittens Eat Honey?
No! Honey is a big no-no for kittens. Where adult cats may be able to digest a few drops of honey without exhibiting any signs of sickness, the delicate digestive system of kittens won’t be able to process even small amounts of honey.
Kittens have very fragile internals. In the initial weeks, they should only feed on their mother’s milk, and if the mother cat is not around, they should be fed Kitten Milk Replacer (KMR) formula. When they are fully weaned, they should be given only kitten food and nothing else—including those human foods that are considered safe for cats.
Giving our baby kittens honey would not be a good idea. It would not only be harmful to their health, causing diarrhea, vomiting, and gastrointestinal pains but would also increase the risk of obesity. You should keep the honey jar out of their reach.
If you have a baby kitten in your home and the mother cat is not around, you must be pretty overwhelmed about how much you should be feeding your kitten. Well, worry not, read our kitten feeding chart to learn how frequently you should be feeding your baby kitten. To keep track of their growth and development, you should refer to Kitten Growth Chart.
Do Cats Like Honey?
Watching their owners enjoying tasty honey, our cats come running for a lick. Watching their cat begging for a few drops of honey, one may think that cats like honey. But do cats like honey?
No, we don’t think that cats like honey as they are sweet-blind. It is just their feline curiosity that makes them beg for a lick.
Cats Are Sweet-Blind
Our feline friends are sweet-blind—they cannot taste sweet. They do not have the receptors for sweetness. This is why eating sweet items, such as honey and watermelon, etc., our cats do not enjoy the same taste as we do. Yet, cats may like watermelon, not because of its taste but its meaty texture.
So if you were sharing honey with your cat for her to enjoy the sweet taste of honey, you should not as she won’t—can’t—appreciate the divine sweetness of honey.
Is Honey Good For Cats?
Honey does not bless only our sweet taste buds but also offers numerous health benefits. Its antioxidant, antibacterial, and antifungal properties make it a healthy treat for humans. On top of that, honey also soothes our sore throats, helps in effective digestion, and accelerates the healing of wounds. Considering all these medicinal benefits of honey for humans, one may wonder can cats eat honey to reap the same health benefits as humans.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case—it does more harm than good to our feline’s health.
No doubt, there is a lot in honey that our feline friends could benefit from, such as:
- It is loaded with antioxidants.
- It helps ease their allergies.
- Its antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties are useful as well.
But still, vets advise that we keep honey jars away from our cats’ reach.
How Is Honey Bad For Cats?
Reading useful benefits that honey has to offer, you must be wondering how it is bad for our cats.
Why Honey is Bad For Cats?
- Stomach upset
- Loaded with sugars
- Increased risk of diabetes
- Increased risk of obesity
- Risk of Botulinum
As obligate carnivores, cats have specific nutrient requirements that can only be met with conventional cat food. Honey lacks most of these crucial nutrients required by cats to thrive. In addition to not having much nutritional value for cats, honey is loaded with sugars—fructose and glucose. Where the human body can easily digest these sugars, our feline friends cannot do it effectively. Therefore, giving them sweet treats, be it honey or chocolate, is never a good idea.
Chocolate is Toxic to Cats!Chocolate is toxic to cats as it contains caffeine and theobromine, both of which are toxic to cats. Darker the color of chocolate, the greater the toxicity to cats.
What Will Happen If Cats Eat Honey?
Loaded with sugars, honey is very unhealthy for cats. So it can lead to the development of many serious health issues.
Cats process food very differently from humans. Cats’ stomachs are not designed to digest fructose and glucose sugar present in honey. Therefore, the consumption of honey could lead to the development of gastrointestinal pains. Keep in mind that even humans have a hard time digesting honey. So after eating honey, your cat may experience diarrhea and vomiting, etc.
Increased Risk for Diabetic Cats
The sugary content of honey can be deadly for our diabetic cats. A lick of honey can result in a spike in blood sugar level—diabetes going out of control.
Honey is loaded with calories but does not have much nutritional value to offer our kittens. Giving honey to cats increases their chances of growing obese. In particular, it exacerbates the condition of obesity in already obese cats.
Risk of Botulinum
Raw honey often contains spores of the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, which can cause botulinum poisoning in cats, leading to permanent paralysis. This condition is quite rare, but comparatively, the risk is higher in young kittens.
Can You Give Honey to Cats for Allergies and Sore Throat?
While honey is known to help humans with allergies and sore throats, we should not give honey to cats for sore throat or allergies. It may further aggravate their conditions or give rise to no new health issues. Instead of treating cat sore throat at home by offering them honey, you should take your cat to the vet.
Can Cats Eat Honey Nut Cheerios?
Are you having breakfast—a bowl full of honey nut cheerios, one of American’s favorite cereals? Has your cat been pawing at your leg, asking for honey nut cheerios? Did this get you wondering what do cats like to eat for breakfast? And can cats eat honey nut cheerios?
Well, honey nut cheerios are not toxic to cats, and you may share some with your cat, but you have to be careful.
- To begin with, make sure that you do not add any milk to it, as most of our feline friends are lactose intolerant. If your cat has a thing for milk, maybe you can use almond milk. Cats can drink almond milk but only sparingly and as a treat.
- Cats can only have honey nut cheerios occasionally and that too in small amounts—as a treat.
- Cheerios have little to no beneficial ingredients for our cats, so probably you should choose a better treat for them, such as store-bought mushrooms, cucumbers, and avocado, etc.
- Feeding your cat cheerios for a long period could prove deadly for the cat as you will be depriving your cat of many necessary nutrients—leading to weakness.
- Always keep in mind that cats are obligate carnivores—they require meaty proteins to survive and thrive.
Final Verdict: Can Cats Eat Honey?
Though honey is not toxic to cats, it is deemed an unhealthy snack for cats. While honey has some benefits to offer to our cats, its deleterious effects outweigh the benefits. Honey is brimming with sugars—fructose and glucose—which would instantly cause stomach upset and a spike in the blood sugar level, which could be life-threatening for diabetic cats.
Plus, cats eating honey would be at a greater risk of growing obese in the long run. Last but not least, eating raw honey, our cats—especially kittens—are prone to picking up botulism. So don’t offer honey to your cat. As they say, “it is better to err on the side of caution.”