Can I Give My Cat Beer?
When people have something to celebrate, the festivities almost always involve food and drink—after all, if snacks and beverages are not provided, it isn’t really a party. One of the most popular celebratory drinks among adults is beer. Humans have been drinking beer to celebrate and to relax for thousands of years, so many adults will have a drink or two without really thinking about it. Partygoers who encounter cats, on the other hand, get a little more creative with their drinks. Most people who have made it through college know someone who has encountered an intoxicated animal at a New Year’s Eve or a 4th of July party.
Drunk pets may make for funny stories or urban legends, but at what cost to the animal? Was it really harmless fun to get your roommate’s cat a little tipsy? Can cats have beer?
The answer is no, cats should never drink beer. Drunk pets are best left to urban legends and old cartoons. Alcoholic beverages, including wine and beer, are not considered safe for felines in even the smallest of quantities. Your friends may get a kick out of watching your cat turn clumsy and disoriented in the short term, but, if anything goes wrong, you won’t be laughing when you see the resulting vet bill.
Cats are extremely small compared to adult humans, so they can’t tolerate anywhere close to the same amount of alcohol that we can. It is all too easy to give your cat enough beer to result in alcohol poisoning, which can cause permanent organ damage, organ failure, and death. Do not risk your cat’s life for the sake of a few laughs. If you want to include your furry friend in the festivities, scope out the snack table for some feline-friendly options or simply save them some of their favorite cat treats. Junk food certainly is not healthy for your cat, but it will be far safer than alcohol.
There are, of course, no health benefits associated with giving alcoholic beverages to cats—this is probably not a huge shock, because we don’t even consider beer a health-boosting beverage for us humans! Beer, like many alcoholic drinks, is very high in calories and very low in actual nutrition. This is one drink that will offer absolutely none of the vitamins or minerals your cat needs to thrive. Taking the most optimistic perspective on beer, it is nothing more than a source of empty calories.
Even if your cat gets lucky enough to avoid all of the other (potentially deadly) side effects associated with alcohol, giving them beer with any regularity will almost certainly cause them to gain weight. As previously mentioned, cats are tiny. They need only a fraction of the calories that humans do every single day, which means that any empty calories added to their diet will add up quickly. This is especially true for liquid calories like beer, which are notorious for their inability to satiate hunger—even though your cat is taking in energy, they will probably not feel full.
But when it comes to alcohol, weight gain is the least of your cat’s concerns; the biggest risk is alcohol poisoning. Compared to even the tiniest of adult humans, cats have an extremely low tolerance for alcohol. This means that your cat only has to consume a fraction of the beer that you do before they start to suffer from its negative effects. If you give your cat beer with the idea of getting them drunk for laughs, they have a high risk of suffering from symptoms of ethanol toxicosis.
Things to Consider
If your cat does not receive treatment, they may suffer from permanent, severe kidney or liver damage, heart attack, or low blood sugar. One of the complications of low blood sugar is permanent brain damage. It does not take a large amount of beer to cause serious problems, so make sure to wipe up any spilled alcohol if you know your cat is running around the house. If your cat shows symptoms of drunkenness, or if you discover that someone has given them beer, contact a veterinarian as soon as possible. They will be able to reduce the amount of alcohol that your cat absorbs, and they may be able to provide supportive care to improve their chances of recovery.
In conclusion, no, you should not give your cat beer—or any alcoholic beverage. Alcohol is poisonous to cats even in fairly small amounts. The image of a drunk cat may seem entertaining, but in reality, giving your cat beer is the same as poisoning them. Don’t do it!