Can Cats Eat Vanilla? (Solved & Explained!)

Sharing our snacks with our furry friends is one of life’s simple pleasures. The biggest problem, however, is sometimes simply knowing what is safe for them. Can cats eat vanilla?

A teaspoon-sized serving of vanilla ice cream is okay for the occasional treat, but you need to be careful with other types of vanilla. Vanilla extract, for instance, is quite toxic, while cakes, puddings, and other human favorites simply aren’t suitable for consumption by your cat.

Today we’ll take a look at some vanilla foods to give you a better idea of what’s going to be safe and what should be best avoided. Let’s talk about vanilla, your cat, and what you need to know!

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Can cats have vanilla extract?

No, cats can definitely NOT have vanilla extract. It’s not about the vanilla, however, but rather the high alcohol content of the extract itself. Vanilla extract is required by law to have an alcohol content of 35% and typically falls in the 35%-45% range. That means this delicious vanilla flavoring is 70 proof or more.

This content can vary with different types of vanilla extract as well. While most vanilla extract is made with vodka, alcohols of about 80 proof are also quite good for making vanilla extract. This can intoxicate your cat to dangerous levels and excessing panting, vomiting, and even organ failure may occur.

As most of us keep it high in the pantry, there’s not a lot of chance of your cat getting it, but you’ll want to make sure that you don’t let them have any of the stuff as flavoring on another food which you’ve prepared.

Watkins All Natural Original Gourmet Baking Vanilla, with Pure Vanilla Extract, 11 ounces Bottle, 1 Count (Packaging May Vary)

Can cats eat vanilla ice cream?

Vanilla ice cream, in small amounts, is okay for your kitty – provided that they are not highly lactose intolerant. Different cats will have difference levels of lactose intolerance, and many can still eat a little ice cream with no ill effects.

Just remember that ice cream is full of fat and sugar and keep serving amounts down to 1 teaspoon. Too much sugar is not good for your cat, so this kind of excessive treat should only be given on rare occasions and not as a regular thing.

Plain, low-fat yoghurt is a good alternative that you can chill first for your cat, just make sure that it doesn’t contain any artificial sweeteners such as Xylitol. This sweetener in known to be toxic to cats and dogs alike, but provided that it is plain, low-fat yoghurt with no artificial sweeteners then your cat may certainly have some.

Just stick to plain, however, as vanilla yoghurt is sometimes made with ethanol and this is definitely toxic for your kitty!

Frostline Vanilla Soft Serve Ice Cream Mix, 6 Pounds

Can cats have vanilla pudding?

We really don’t recommend that you feed vanilla pudding to your cat. Remember, most cats are lactose intolerant to some extent, and pudding is going to contain both butter and milk – and lots of it!

There’s also going to be a lot of sugar, a little salt, and eggs, and the combination of these ingredients are probably going to be uncomfortable for you kitty to digest. It’s possible that your cat may end up with a case of diarrhea or even require veterinary attention if they’re older. It’s best to just play it safe.

There’s also the possibly of an ethanol-based flavoring, depending on the brand, so it’s really going to be best to avoid vanilla pudding altogether. As with out examples before, the vanilla itself is fine, it’s just high dairy content and the potential of vanilla extract that make some of these products dangerous for your cat.

Can cats eat vanilla cake?

No, cake is best avoided when it comes to your cat. While they might like it, regular intakes of high sugar foods can increase their chances of diabetes in the future, but the biggest problem is that you don’t always know the ingredients.

Even if you know all of the ingredients, cats and cakes are kind of a slippery slope. Your average 8-pound adult cat needs about 221 calories daily to maintain their current weight, and eating cake of any kind is going to take up a lot of that in one go.

Just a single 71 gram slice of vanilla cake might has as many as 240 calories – already more than your cat’s daily recommended amounts. Sadly, this is one of those cases where you’re going to have to disappoint your cat a little but hang in there – it’s definitely for their own good.

Good news – your cat probably just likes the textures

We believe that cats actually can’t taste sweetness, but rather they are attracted to certain foods because they can DEFINITELY taste the proteins and the fat. This makes substitutions easier and your cat still enjoy cold, fatty treats from time to time.

According to a study cited by NPR, cats lack a certain taste receptor that would allow them to taste and fully appreciate sweets. They still definitely enjoy their meals, as every cat owner can tell, but they just enjoy them a little bit differently from you and I.

Just be sure to practice moderation, of course, as you don’t want your cat eating ice cream every week!

In closing

While some cats like vanilla, most vanilla products are not going to be a good fit This is due to ingredients such as artificial sweeteners, high sugar content, or even extracts that can give your pet alcohol poisoning.

Thankfully, a small amount of vanilla ice cream is perfectly fine to give to your cat, just keep the serving size down to a teaspoon and once every 2 weeks should be fine. You can also consider plain, lowfat yoghurt as an alternative – just avoid Xylitol or other artificial sweeteners.

Cats really seem to love the stuff and it’s really better for them, but as with all delicious snacks it’s still best not to overdo it with the treats. That way, your cat will have a better chance of spending many more years sampling yummy meals with you!