Honey is considered a super food due to its numerous benefits. However, can cats eat honey?
If we are referring to the effects of toxicity on your feline, then honey is definitely safe for cats. An occasional small amount of honey will not do any harm.
Nevertheless, we would not recommend giving honey to your feline, as it can still cause your feline to have stomach problems.
Typically, cats are not fond of sweets, and it's highly likely that they would stay away from anything sweet. However, felines are curious animals.
Let’s start looking at the fact that felines are obligate carnivores.
Obligate carnivores thrive on a diet consisting of at least 70% meat. While they might be able to consume small amounts of plant-based food, their psychology isn’t capable of digesting it.
With that being said, obligate carnivores such as cats should rely on a strict meat-only diet.
This natural and beneficial sweet seems to be a safe and healthy treat for our kitties. However, that's not exactly the case.
Honey in its liquid or crystallized form is non-toxic to felines. Does this mean that it is safe for cats to eat?
Yes, cats can eat it since this natural food is considered not toxic to them. However, don't be too hasty in giving this sweet treat to your kitty.
Unfortunately, felines cannot properly digest foods other than meat. Unlike us, feline bodily functions are designed to absorb all essential nutrients from meat.
This means that they can survive on eating meat alone without the need to consume plant-based foods.
Although bees mostly produce honey, it is initially nectar of a flower which is then collected by bees. Therefore, it can be considered as a plant-based product.
Just like any other foods derived from plants, honey is not easily digested by felines. Moreover, felines lack natural enzymes to absorb the nutrients from these foods.
In other words, all the nutrients from plant-based foods are not beneficial to felines.
Is Honey Safe for Cats?
This natural food is safe for cats to eat, but only in moderation and in small amounts.
Remember that felines thrive on a protein-rich diet consisting of meat.
Unfortunately, honey lacks protein and other nutrients necessary for felines.
Furthermore, this natural liquid is highly abundant in fructose and glucose. Sad to say, felines have a sensitive digestive system that is intolerant to these simple sugars.
Carnivores don't require sugar and carbohydrates in their diet.
Can Cats Eat Raw Honey?
Raw honey is rich in antioxidants and provides anti-bacterial properties. It is even used in some hospitals as a medical treatment for wounds.
Raw honey contains some traces of pollen and small particles of wax that may trigger allergic reactions and digestive upset in felines.
Whether it is raw or processed, your feline pet may not easily digest it. While this sweet treat is not strictly considered as toxic to felines, it is not recommended as cat food.
Honey for Cats with Sore Throats
What if a kitty has a sore throat? Can cats eat raw honey to soothe sore throats?
While it's true that this excellent food is an effective remedy for sore throats in humans, the same can’t be said to felines.
The digestive tract of felines is smaller compared to ours. Not to mention, felines also have smaller mouths and throats.
Raw honey has a very thick and silky texture, and it could cause severe problems in the digestive process.
Feeding your kitty with a spoon of this sweet liquid may do more harm than good.
Antioxidants for Felines
Raw honey is an excellent source of powerful antioxidants called phenolic compounds.
For humans, these polyphenols can help protect the body from cell damage caused by free radicals. Can cats eat honey to get these potent antioxidants?
For felines, however, phenolic compounds are considered toxic to them and may cause potential poisoning if ingested in high concentrations.
Where do cats get their daily dose of antioxidants then?
Astaxanthin, for example, is a powerful antioxidant that can be obtained from salmons and krill.
Mackerel and halibut are excellent sources of taurine, an antioxidant that blocks the toxicity caused by oxidative stress.
Last but not least, lean chicken meat contains selenium, another antioxidant that helps defend the body from diseases such as cancer and heart problems.
So, you see? Our feline friends have abundant sources of antioxidants without the need to consume honey.
What Happens If a Cat Eats Honey?
Some pet owners would attest that feeding honey to their kitties is entirely safe. However, the effect of this food will depend on the pet's immune system, digestive system, and overall health condition.
In some cases, consumption of this sweet liquid can cause vomiting and diarrhea in cats.
If you're serious about giving this sweet treat to your kitty, make sure that your pet is not suffering from diabetes and obesity.
Due to its high sugar and high-calorie content, it can generate a sudden spike in insulin levels which can pose potential harm to your pet.
However, probably the most alarming threat of honey to felines is the possibility of botulism.
This is a rare but dangerous type of poisoning that adversely affects the nervous system.
Honey contains botulinum spores that release a toxin that can paralyze the diaphragm of a human infant.
If these toxins can fatally harm a human infant, it could also do the same to cats.
So, if your kitty accidentally ingests even a small amount of honey, observe it.
Symptoms associated with gastrointestinal upset are the most common adverse reactions manifested by felines after eating this sweet food.
Bring your pet to the vet right away if there are any symptoms of discomfort after ingestion.
How Much Honey Can Cats Eat?
A minimal amount should be fine if given in moderation. Just for the sake of satisfying their cravings, give them about half a teaspoon of it.
Do not allow them to swallow the thick liquid in one go. Instead, let them lick the sweet food until consumed.
Watch carefully and observe your pet's reaction to the food. Responses may not occur instantly so you'll have to be vigilant for some time and wait for any occurrences of symptoms.
If your pet doesn't show any adverse reactions or symptoms, then you may consider giving it as an occasional treat.
Some honey products contain thicker liquid, so you also need to check the texture before you give it to your pet.
You can dilute the thick liquid with water to avoid it from sticking to roof of their mouths or in between their teeth.
Besides, thick liquid is a potential choking hazard that may block their throats.
Can Kittens Eat Honey?
Not! You already know the danger of botulism to human infants. Therefore, you might already know by now that feeding honey to kittens is a fatal idea.
It is safe to give this natural food to adult, healthy cats that have no medical conditions or allergy towards pollens.
Kittens, senior cats, and those kitties with diabetes and high blood sugar levels should stay away from this high-sugar food.
Felines are meat-eaters and honey doesn't have any room in their diet.
A feline's digestive system cannot properly break down sugars and carbohydrates, which are the main components in honey.
High concentrations of undigested sugars can lead to chronic health problems that are way beyond high blood sugar and diabetes.
If you’re looking for a tasty, healthy treat for your kitty, there are other safer alternatives to use instead of honey.
More importantly, choose foods that are appropriate for obligate carnivores.
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