As mentioned before, there are many potential health benefits of adding honey to your kitty’s diet. However, one cannot assume that every batch of honey is safe for all cats. Some individuals may have allergies or sensitivities to certain components in honey which could cause an adverse reaction.
Some studies suggest that even very small amounts of ingested honey can be harmful to some cat breeds. These include sensitive skin such as those with dry fur and whisker hair who may develop dermatitis from contact with the liquid.
If you notice symptoms like lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, wheezing, trouble breathing, or other changes in behavior, then it is important to seek medical help immediately. Unfortunately, most cases of oral poisoning by honey occur when owners try to give their dog/cat some after a bath or while they are sleeping.
This article will discuss what should be done if your cat has been exposed to honey and how to prevent more exposure.
Honey can cause digestive problems in cats
Many people believe that honey is an ideal food source for your cat, as it may help keep them healthy and lean. However, there are some potential health issues related to feeding your feline friend honey.
Some of these health concerns include nutritional deficiencies, obesity, and gastrointestinal (GI) disorders. Unfortunately, many of these symptoms occur because of how honey makes its way down your pet’s throat.
As mentioned before, most humans cannot easily digest the sugar content of honey. When you feed your dog or cat honey, part of this un-digestible glucose goes into their system and becomes liquid. This allows your furry friend to drink more efficiently and reduce the amount they have to process in their body.
However, when dogs and cats eat too much of the sweet solution, another set of hormones are activated. These hormones promote weight gain by increasing appetite and storing extra calories. Because fat cells are heavier than water cells, they pack tighter which helps preserve space in the body.
That being said, if your kitty or pooch seems like he/she is constantly hungry and eating large amounts of food, try limiting his/her access to honey for a few days.
Honey can be toxic to cats
Many things are considered harmful to dogs, but few people consider honey as such. However, like any foodstuff, there is a risk of toxicity if enough of it is consumed.
Like many other types of sweet substances, honey contains glucose which your body processes quickly for energy. If you don’t give your cat an adequate amount of time to process the sugar before feeding her/him some type of milk or water, she/he may become very ill from ingesting too much glucose.
A small amount of honey in the diet isn’t a problem unless your pet doesn’t eat the rest of the meal or he/she gets hungry again soon. Unfortunately, that sometimes happens when we leave home for several hours at a time!
If your dog has eaten something containing honey and begins acting sick or shows symptoms of poisoning, call your doctor right away so steps can be taken to help him/her recover.
It is important to know what signs to look out for in your pet so you do not mistake something trivial like a stomach ache or diarrhea for pancreatitis or another more serious health condition.
Some of the most common symptoms include vomiting, lethargy, drooling, dry mouth, weight loss, panting, trembling, salivation, urination, and diarrhea.
Too much honey can cause weight gain in cats
Many people believe that adding honey to your cat’s diet is a great way to reward them for good behavior, or even use it as an all-purpose health supplement. Unfortunately, giving your kitty too much of this “healthy natural sugar” may do more harm than good.
Too much honey contains large amounts of carbohydrates which are converted into glucose in the body. Glucose is a simple carbohydrate (or monosaccharide) that most living things require to thrive. For instance, every cell in our bodies requires some glucose to function properly.
When we eat foods with enough carbs, the glucose is absorbed through digestion and consumed by various organs and tissues including the brain. This helps supply energy to make other chemical reactions occur.
However, aside from its role as a source of fuel, there is also growing evidence suggesting that glucose has important non-metabolic functions. These so-called ‘biochemical effects’ seem to be connected to improved overall health and disease prevention.
Some commercial cat foods contain added honey
Although most cats seem to enjoy eating some types of food that contain sugar, there is concern about the amount of honey in those diets. Certain brands of dry cat food and canned dishes have up to 4% milk or cream-based liquid that contains significant amounts of carbohydrates (sugar) and small quantities of fat. These are referred to as “dessert” style recipes because they include the sugar in the form of plain old sweet ingredients such as dried fruit, molasses, and/or honey.
Some individuals believe that this slight increase in carbohydrate intake is what makes it possible for very young or overweight cats to achieve weight loss by serving them these dessert type diets. Because adults require more glucose to fuel muscle activity, dieters also claim that their cats can suffer from ketoacidosis, a potentially fatal condition caused when body tissues lack enough glucose for proper function.
Ketoacidosis occurs when blood becomes too rich in ketone bodies–a chemical compound that acts similarly to acetylcholine in our nervous systems. When we get hungry, we normally break down stored fat to produce ketones so that we can use them for energy. Ketones are actually used in some medicine as an effective brain and nerve blocker called beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB). However, excessive levels of ketones can cause problems in other areas of the body due to imbalance of electrolytes and glucose.
Some cats may develop a taste for honey
As mentioned before, some dogs love eating things such as peanut butter or milk. Unfortunately, this sweet craving can sometimes carry over to other foods. The same is true for some cats!
A few individual cases of cats developing a chocolate or sugar craving have been reported. However, like with the dog food recipes, if you notice your cat acting nervous or seem depressed when they are feeding him/herself, then it’s best to take them out for an hour so that they can calm down and feel more relaxed.
Also make sure that their water bottle is not empty, nor is there very little liquid in the pan in which they were cooking them. This could be signs of dehydration- something to always watch out for!
Once they are both feeling better, try introducing one kind of sugary food such as table sugar (or white sugar) or glucose gel cubes while keeping the other kind of sugar away until later. Repeat this process several times to see if it works!
General tips: If your cat seems overly hungry or thirsty after a meal, do not give them any more food or drink than they are asking for. They will probably eat or drink less at their normal rate once they are used to having extra.
Never force feed your cat, even if they look very hungry. In fact, it is possible to cause vomiting or choking if you do.
Some cats may get into honey containers
Although tempting, don’t let your cat access the contents of the container you have stored honey in. If you do decide to give your kitty some honey, make sure it is not exposed to light or air where it can oxidize and spoil.
That being said, even if your cat doesn’t eat the whole thing right away there are still health risks involved with giving them honey as an oral treat.
Some studies show that when kittens and young cats ingest small amounts of raw honey, they can develop a condition called pancreatitis. Pancreatic inflammation leads to fluid buildup and possible infection which, if left untreated, can be fatal.
For dogs, research shows that eating too much sugar (honey includes plenty of glucose) can cause tooth decay and gum disease. This can affect their overall health and quality of life.
Tips: Try using sunflower or coconut oil instead of buttery-style honeys.
Honey can be expensive
While some people believe that honey is a harmless sweetening agent, most do not! Most veterinarians agree that feeding your cat too many or ingesting excessive amounts of honey can cause health problems.
Many things contribute to this risk including:
The type of sugar in the honey
The amount of sugar in the honey
Whether the sugar is pure glucose (“white”) or mixed with other sugars such as fructose (“brown”)
When the cats stomach cannot break down these carbohydrates properly, they may remain undigested which can result in gastrointestinal (GI) issues like gas, diarrhea, and weight loss.
If you notice changes in your cat’s behavior or symptoms such as vomiting, lethargy, and oral/digital ulcers, it is important to rule out GI diseases by having your cat undergo an appropriate test.
It is very difficult to tell whether your kitty will develop food allergies after being exposed to honey, but if you are able to prevent exposure then this would be our biggest concern.
Some cats may reject honey
Although most cats enjoy eating honey, there are some instances where it is not appropriate to give them so much of it. If your cat seems reluctant to eat or show signs of vomiting after consuming honey, you should probably limit their intake until they seem more receptive to it.
For one, as mentioned before, some older cats may have digestive issues that prevent them from processing sugar well. This could result in diarrhea, stomach pain, or even an acute life-threatening situation if enough food is consumed too quickly.
As another potential problem, some people believe that allergies can be triggered by ingesting bee products such as pollen or royal jelly. If your dog has these type of allergies, then limiting honey might help reduce any negative effects it could have on your kitty.
However, like dogs, cats are hypersensitive to external factors (like allergens) just about every part of their bodies. So while we cannot say with certainty that giving your cat honey will cause health problems, we do not think it is safe for them under the right circumstances.