Can I Give My Cat Cake?
Though everyone loves dessert, many people argue about their preferred desserts. Some people love to indulge in decadent, fancy desserts such as tortes, custard eclairs, macaroons, and mousses. Others prefer the classic, homey desserts that defined our childhoods, like chocolate chip cookies, brownies with chunks of walnuts, apple pie, and vanilla bean ice cream. But the one dessert that both camps can agree on is the one we eat every year to celebrate our own birthdays: cake. Cake can be as simple or extravagant as you want, and you will be hard-pressed to find a person at a birthday party who does not want a slice. Kids, adults, and dogs alike will fall over themselves scrambling for a bite of birthday cake.
We don’t worry so much about our dogs—as long as it isn’t rat poison, they seem able to handle a bite or two of just about anything. But what about our tiny, more delicate four-legged companions? Should they get to partake in the festivities, too? Can cats have cake?
It probably comes as no surprise that cake is not a recommended food for cats—after all, it isn’t exactly a recommended food for humans either. Cake is typically full of unhealthy ingredients like fat, sugar, and dairy, which means that it isn’t great news for your cat’s health. However, if your cat eats a forkful of birthday cake once or twice a year, it will not necessitate an emergency trip to the vet’s office. If you want to sneak your cat a bite of your cake to include them in the festivities, you shouldn’t feel too careful. Just make sure their portion size is very small—they do not need a whole slice—and do not let it become a habit. Your cat should not get cake as a treat every day, or even every week.
There are no pluses to giving your cat cake. Your doctor would not prescribe cake to help you meet any of your nutritional needs, and your cat’s veterinarian certainly would not recommend using cake to supplement their diet! Cake is almost completely empty of the vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that set healthy cats (and healthy people) apart from the unhealthy ones.
While cake does contain a very small amount of protein, it’s insignificant when viewed in context with the fat, sugar, and calorie content that comes along with it. Even cakes that have fruit in them do not offer any health benefits. Fruit filling may taste like blueberries, but that does not mean it has any of the nutritional benefit of fresh blueberries!
Some cakes may also contain ingredients that can be downright dangerous for our feline friends. The biggest and most obvious one is chocolate. While it’s true that a bite of chocolate cake probably will not hurt your cat, eating too much chocolate filling, frosting, or shavings can have a negative effect on your cat’s health. It’s true that cats generally do not like sweet things because they do not have the taste buds required to detect sweetness.
Things to Keep in Mind
But the biggest threat to your cat’s health is the sheer sugar and calorie content. Cake is very high in empty calories. While one day of indulgence will not cause your cat to inflate like a balloon, if you make a habit of sneaking them high-sugar, high-calorie foods like cake, they will likely gain weight and may even wind up obese. While no one is heartless enough to bully a pudgy Calico cat (after all, they’re adorable), feline obesity is far from okay. Obese cats often suffer from lethargy, breathing problems, decreased mobility, and may lose their love for physical activities. Obese cats are also more likely to develop diabetes, cancer, and arthritis. Diabetes is an even bigger risk for cats who eat a large amount of sugar.
In the end, giving your cat a forkful of vanilla birthday cake is not going to cause them any problems, but it’s important to stay mindful when feeding your cat human food. Cake containing known cat poisons, such as raisins, grapes, or chocolate, should be off the table completely. If you make the decision to share with your cat after blowing out the candles, just remember that they don’t need a whole slice of cake. A bite or two will more than suffice. If they are still begging for a treat after that, opt for something more cat-friendly, like sliced fruit.