If your cat likes to hang around when you’re eating treats, or tends to go right for your plate when you set it down, you may find them begging for, or sneaking bites of your cake. But should they eat cake? Even if it’s just a few crumbs or a treat once and a while? Let’s find out.
CAN CATS EAT CAKE?
A cat should never eat cake. There typically isn’t a single ingredient in cake that’s beneficial for a cat to consume, and some cakes may even have ingredients that are toxic to cats.
Cats are carnivores and should eat a high protein, medium fat, low carb diet, while sugar has no place in their diet. Cake is high sugar, high carb, high fat, and low protein and isn’t suitable for a cat’s digestive system.
Not to mention, cats don’t have the tastebuds to taste sweet flavors. So while it may be a treat we like to enjoy, your cat, and their health, will appreciate a meat-based treat more.
If your cat has stolen a few bites of cake off your plate, they should be just fine, as long as the cake doesn’t contain any ingredients that are toxic to cats (covered below).
However, if you’re wondering if it’s okay to give your cat cake once and a while as a treat, the answer is no, you shouldn’t, and this article will cover why.
WHY CAT’S SHOULDN’T EAT CAKE
The ingredients in cake varies, depending on what kind it is. Although most basic cake ingredients aren’t toxic to cats, they’re not beneficial either. Let’s take a look at each ingredient that shouldn’t be consumed by cats.
Flour isn’t toxic to a cat, but it is harder for them to digest since they’re carnivores. Their bodies are designed to digest meat; flour is a grain. Flour is also high in carbs and adds calories without providing your cat with the nutrients they need.
Yes, some cat foods do contain grains, which has more to do with lowering the cost of cat food and extending its shelf life than adding nutritional value. There’s speculation that these types of high-carb cat foods are linked to diabetes in cats; something to be aware of.
A cat’s digestive system is not built to digest sugar, so they may experience indigestion after consuming it. If your cat sneaks a sugary snack off your plate often enough, it can lead to weight gain, which comes with a variety of health issues.
If you have a diabetic cat, it will be even more important to keep them away from sugar as it can cause a spike in their blood sugar and their body can’t produce the insulin to properly regulate it.
When a cake is sweetened with the sugar substitute, xylitol, you should especially keep the cake away from your cat. Although there is a study suggesting xylitol is not toxic to cats, it is a known toxin to dogs, and the study was only conducted with six cats (not enough to be conclusive). So in my opinion, it’s better to be safe than sorry and keep the sugar substitute out of your cat’s body.
MILK & BUTTER
Most adult cats are lactose intolerant, so any dairy in cake can cause indigestion for your cat. Although butter is low in lactose, it’s high in fat. Too many high-fat treats in your cat’s diet can lead to weight gain. A little piece of bacon at breakfast, a nibble off your plate at lunch, a few crumbs of cake after dinner…the calories start to add up.
CAKES THAT ARE TOXIC TO A CAT
A basic cake typically isn’t toxic to a cat, but some ingredients that are often added to cake, are. Here are a few types of cakes that can be toxic to cats if they consume enough of it.
All types of chocolate contain theobromine and baking chocolate contains some of the highest levels of theobromine, which is toxic to cats, even in small amounts. If your cat has eaten any chocolate cake, call your veterinarian immediately.
Chocolate also contains caffeine, which is toxic to cats, and covered under the next point…
Most coffee cakes aren’t actually made with any coffee. However, I put this one on the list because there are cake recipes that do use coffee, to help intensify the flavor of chocolate.
Be especially careful if the cake includes both chocolate and coffee. A few drops of coffee is unlikely to cause harm, but if your cat was left alone with the cake and consumed large amounts, it could cause serious toxicity. (source)
Carrot cake often contains raisins and even a small amount of raisin can make your cat sick. Grapes and raisins are known to cause kidney failure in cats. (source)
Alcohol poisoning is common in pets and alcohol can come from sources such rum cake. If the rum is mixed with the batter and baked, most of the alcohol cooks off. However, if rum is poured over the cake after it’s done baking, the alcohol content will be high.
A cat wouldn’t typically like the taste of alcohol, but when it’s mixed with other high-fat ingredients they enjoy, they may consume more alcohol than their body can handle. Your cat is much smaller than you and it will require much less alcohol to get them tipsy, or to cause alcohol poisoning.
Many cakes and frostings use extracts; vanilla extract, almond extract, etc. Extracts have high alcohol content and just a few drops can be dangerous to your cat.
Although most of this alcohol is burned off when the cake is baked, it’s important to keep the extracts away from your cat when you’re making the cake and before baking it. It’s unlikely your cat will have an interest in the extract on its own, but it doesn’t take much to cause an issue.
IS IT OKAY TO GIVE MY CAT CHEESECAKE?
You should not feed your cat cheesecake as a treat. This type of cake is made with cream cheese, and other ingredients that aren’t ideal for a cat to eat, as mentioned above.
Adult cats produce less lactase and typically become lactose intolerant after the kitten phase. Although cream cheese isn’t considered toxic to cats, it will likely cause indigestion, due to them being lactose intolerant. They can’t reach for the Pepto Bismol like we can, and you may not even notice that they’re uncomfortable after eating cheesecake, but the likely are. So it’s best not to feed your cat cheesecake.
CAN CATS EAT CHOCOLATE CAKE?
Cats should never eat chocolate cake. As mentioned, chocolate contains theobromine, which is toxic to cats, even in small amounts. If your cat has eaten any chocolate cake, call your veterinarian immediately.
CAN CATS EAT FROSTING?
Cats should not eat frosting. For most of the same reasons they should not eat cake. Frosting provides no nutritional value to your cat, will likely cause indigestion due to being high in sugar, high-fat, and containing dairy. Frosting may also contain toxic ingredients such as cocoa or extracts such as vanilla extract, almond extract, etc.
Do not let your cat eat frosting.
WHY DO CATS EAT CAKE IF IT’S NOT GOOD FOR THEM?
Just as humans crave foods that aren’t good for them, so do cats. Even though cats don’t have the tastebuds to taste sweet, are lactose intolerant, and have a hard time digesting grains, they’ll still dig into a piece of cake if given the chance.
They’re more likely attracted to the higher fat content in the cake than anything else.
Although cats may like to eat cake, they shouldn’t. And we’re their parents who know what’s best for them and who are responsible from keeping them away from foods they shouldn’t eat.
I hope this article has helped answer “can cats eat cake” and made clear why they shouldn’t 🙂