Ice is useful stuff. For proof, look no further than the fact there was once a thriving ice trade that lasted until the interwar period when refrigeration rendered the harvesting of natural ice obsolete. Nowadays, ice remains as useful as ever, so it makes sense for cat owners to ask the question, “Is ice bad for cats?” Fortunately, the answer should be “No” in most cases, though interested individuals should still pay close attention to the source of their ice.
What Should Cat Owners Keep in Mind About Feeding Ice to Their Cats?
Here are some things cat owners should keep in mind about feeding ice to their cats, as stated by Cattime and other sources:
You’ll Want to Consult Your Veterinarian
Surprisingly, cat owners should still consult their veterinarian before feeding ice to their cats. That might seem unnecessary. After all, ice is just frozen water, which is relevant because cats need water as much as humans. As a result, it seems obvious that ice would be safe for feline consumption. The issue is the hardness of the ice. If a cat’s teeth are in bad condition, it could hurt itself by biting the ice. Getting a go-ahead from the veterinarian is a sensible precaution under such circumstances.
Ice Is As Safe As the Water It Was Made From
Speaking of which, cat owners need to remember that ice is as safe as the water it was made from. Generally speaking, this shouldn’t be a huge issue. However, if they have reason to be concerned about the potability of the water that went into their ice, they should choose something else.
Avoid Ice Containing Anything that Could Harm Cats
Naturally, cat owners should avoid ice containing anything that could harm cats. Sometimes, the source of concern is obvious. For instance, PetMD says cats can become poisoned by alcohol. They aren’t particularly interested in alcohol, but it isn’t unknown for them to get into alcohol-containing foods and beverages. If people have used ice for alcohol, they shouldn’t reuse that same ice for their cats. It is much easier for cats to become poisoned by alcohol than for humans to suffer the same, not least because cats are so much smaller. Other times, the source of concern is more subtle. More than one flavoring ingredient can pose an issue to feline wellbeing in the long run, so it is best to stick to ice made using plain water.
Experiment with Serving Ice to Cats
Different cats respond differently to the same things. As a result, interested individuals might want to experiment with the best way to offer ice to their cats. Putting the ice in their water bowl is a simple method. Sadly, it isn’t always effective. Reportedly, some cat owners have gotten good results by just giving the ice to their cats to play with, though this isn’t guaranteed to work out either. In any case, experimentation with ice is low-cost. There might be a bit of a mess because of it, but in other respects, ice costs very little because people can just make their own using their refrigerators.
Keep an Eye Out For Signs of Distress
Ice should be perfectly safe for cats. Still, it isn’t necessarily a bad idea to keep an eye out for signs of distress. As mentioned earlier, cats have been known to hurt themselves by biting down too hard on ice when their teeth weren’t up to the job. Furthermore, they can experience other complications for one reason or another. If a cat seems in distress, the cat owner should bring it to their veterinarian to see what is going on. Of course, this doesn’t include short-lived bouts of minor discomfort. Supposedly, cats can experience brain freeze in much the same manner as humans. That is unpleasant, but that isn’t exactly the kind of thing best addressed by seeking out a veterinary professional.
Ice Is One Way to Get Cats to Drink More Water
Cats need water. Unfortunately, they are like cat owners in that they don’t necessarily drink enough water to ensure their well-being. Tufts University says that is particularly true because cats descend from desert-dwelling animals. Thanks to that, they don’t drink as much as dogs because their ancestors would have gotten most of their hydration from their prey.
Ice is one way to get cats to drink more water. However, there are others that interested individuals might want to keep in mind. For starters, it is much more convenient when a cat is willing to eat wet food rather than insistent on dry food. If cat owners feel that their cats still aren’t getting enough water, they can try adding a bit more water to the cat food. They might be able to get away with it if they add more water bit by bit, but they should be very careful because they don’t want to alienate their cats from their cat food.
Other methods range from increasing the availability of water sources to filling up water bowls so that cats won’t experience their whiskers touching the edges of the water bowls. Broth can be a flavorful alternative, but broth needs to be cleared by a veterinarian before serving to cats.
Ice Can Help Cats Cool Down
Ice is also a good way to help cats cool down during the summer. If people need more cat cooling methods, Catster has plenty of other suggestions. For example, they should avoid putting their cats in places with lots of heat and light while also creating places where cats can cool off. Sometimes, this can be as simple as closing their curtains to minimize the amount of sunlight entering their home. Similarly, people can also wipe their cat with a wet cloth, which provides more-or-less the same kind of evaporative cooling as their self-grooming. Waiting to play during cooler hours is another good suggestion to keep in mind. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is easier for cats to overheat through activity when their surroundings are hot and humid, so it is better to wait until later in the day when everything is cooler and more comfortable.