Can Cats Have Honey?


Honey is produced by honey bees as well as some of the other bee species out there. The human fondness for honey is very old. There is evidence that prehistoric humans had started taking both honey and honeycombs from wild bees at least 8,000 years ago. Similarly, there is ancient Egyptian art showing that humans started beekeeping at least 4,500 years ago. Nowadays, honey remains very popular. It is sweet; it preserves well; and it is believed to have health benefits. As such, it is no wonder that cat owners often wonder whether their cats can eat honey as well.

Can Cats Eat Honey?

Cats can eat honey? It isn’t one of the human foods that will kill cats when consumed by our feline companions. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a good idea to feed honey to cats. Simply put, cats are obligate carnivores, meaning that their digestive system isn’t very suitable for digesting honey. For that matter, even if cats can get benefits from eating honey, chances are very good that they can get those same benefits from other sources with fewer complications. Combined, this mean that cat owners shouldn’t be feeding honey to their cats.

Honey Contains Sugars that Cats Don’t Digest Very Well

Chances are good that interested individuals can guess that honey contains a lot of sugars. Specifically, it contains both glucose and fructose, which is a huge problem because cats aren’t very good at digesting either one of those two sugars. Thanks to this, if cats eat too much honey, they can suffer a wide range of issues. In the short term, they might experience diarrhea, vomiting, and other gastrointestinal issues; in the long term, they might experience obesity, diabetes, and tooth problems. Speaking bluntly, high blood sugar levels are no better for cats than for humans.

Honey Doesn’t Taste Sweet to Cats

A cat’s senses aren’t the same as a human’s senses. To name an example, cats don’t have the taste buds needed to taste sweetness because their ancestors lost the relevant gene at some point. In fact, it has been speculated that this is the reason that cats became obligate carnivores rather than facultative carnivores, though providing that is rather challenging for obvious reasons. As such, cats just don’t taste sweetness in the same way that we do, which is important when that taste of sweetness is one of the biggest reasons to eat honey. In any case, some cats do behave in a way that seems as though they enjoy the taste of honey. However, that could be because they are attracted to something else in the honey because there is more to honey than just sugars. There doesn’t seem to have been any research into this issue. Even so, cats are famous for having excellent noses, so it is possible that they might be picking up on those other ingredients through their nose.

Honey Isn’t a Good Source of Nutrients For Cats

Honey isn’t a good source of nutrients for cats. Primarily, it is made up of sugars, which are bad for them. The iron and the potassium are useful. However, there are much better sources of both nutrients for cats, particularly since honey contains so very little of them. Similarly, honey does contain a small amount of protein. Unfortunately, it contains so little of it that this means either nothing or next-to-nothing for a cat’s necessary nutritional intake. In any case, since honey is neither very tasty nor very nutritious for our feline companions. There isn’t much point to feeding honey to cats.

The Claimed Benefits of Honey Can Be Gotten Elsewhere

Sometimes, cat owners want to feed honey to their cats because they want to provide the latter with its claimed benefits. One example would be honey’s ability to hinder microorganisms. Another example would be honey’s ability to fight inflammation. On top of this, honey is said to be rich in antioxidants, which is important because those can counter free radicals. The thing is – none of these claimed benefits are unique to honey. Instead, every single one of them can come from other sources than are much better for cats than honey. If cat owners want their cats to get better from whatever it is that is ailing the latter, they should consult their veterinarian, who can point them in the right directions. After all, said professionals are excellent sources of nutritional information for cats as well as other pets, which is one more way that they can play a critical role in ensuring the well-being of said animals.

Some Cats Are More Sensitive to Honey Than Others

The more honey that a cat consumes, the higher the chance that said animal will experience some kind of negative reaction. Due to this, interested individuals should keep a watchful eye on any cat that has eaten honey so that they can seek out either their veterinarian or veterinary emergency services if that proves to be necessary. This is particularly important because some cats can be more sensitive to honey than others, meaning that the severity of their reaction can come as a surprise.

Further Considerations

Summed up, honey isn’t poisonous for cats. However, it is neither tasty for cats nor nutritious for cats. As such, there is no point to feeding honey to cats, particularly since every potential benefit can come from a better source elsewhere. For that matter, honey can cause health issues in cats in both the short run and the long run, both of which should be avoided because they can come with serious complications. If cat owners aren’t sure what foods they should use as snacks for their cats, there are plenty of resources out there that can help them find suitable options. Their veterinarian is one of those.

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