Many people think that cats and dogs can eat the food that we eat, but this is wrong. Our pets can’t metabolize the foods the same way as we do, even if they look like they enjoy that tasty piece of bacon. Furthermore, veterinarians have found that many foods that we eat can be dangerous for our pets. There is a question if sugar can be harmful in cats’ diets.
In this article you will find out more about sugar and its influence on cats’ health.
Is Sugar Good for Cats?
We all know that cats are adapted to use proteins and fats as main sources of energy. But, although cats don’t have the ability to taste sweet stimuli, they can metabolize sugars very well. Some studies have shown that cats actually need sugar in order to transport cellular energy and that even a small amount of sugar is enough for this metabolic process. Good news is that sugar is not toxic to cats. This means that cats can eat this food, but you should be careful when you are giving it to your pet.
Health Risks of Eating Sugar
Even if sugar is not toxic, it usually leads to the obesity of the cat. Eating too much sugar can also cause diabetes mellitus, also known as sugar diabetes. This is a chronic disease in which a carbohydrate metabolism is affected and the blood glucose is high. Cats can be at risk of hyperglycemia, especially middle aged and older cats. Some of the symptoms of hyperglycemia can be obesity or weight loss, increased thirst and increased urination.
Also, common symptoms are dehydration, depression and cataract. If your cat has diabetes, you should give her insulin shots every day, but it is very important to give your cat food before insulin shot. That way you will prevent hypoglycemic shock. If you don’t start treating your cat immediately, it can lead also to vomiting and lowering sugar levels in the blood. In that case the sugar levels are lowered and the animal can lose coordination and become inactive and lethargic. Sometimes cat can also fall into a coma. Even if cat’s blood sugar returns to normal, the liver can be damaged and sometimes the consequences can be fatal. In other words, sugar in cats has almost the same effects as with humans. But, there is one difference. Although sugar consumption in humans has been linked to dental caries, it is not found that sugar can have a bad influence on dental health of a cat.
How Much Sugar Should be Given to Cats?
Although cats are carnivores, they are also able to metabolize carbohydrates and dietary sugar. But, the most important is to give only small amounts of sugar to your cat. In cat foods, which you can buy at animal stores, you can see that the total sugary content is very low, even less than 1 % . In wet cat foods there is usually lesser sugar than in dry cat foods. If glucose or fructose appears in urine, it means that you have given too much sugar to your cat. Salt which is also present in treated meats like ham is a much bigger concern.
You have seen some of the risks if cats eat too much sugar. If your cat likes sugar, then you can give her occasionally a small portion of it. But, our recommendation is not to feed your cat with sugar, if you want to keep her healthy. Although sugar is not toxic, it can lead to many health problems with your cat. Not only sugar, but also all sugar foods can be dangerous for cats. Researches have shown that sometimes only one bar of chocolate can be fatal for cats.