Cat Eating Ice Cream Brain Freeze

When domestic cats eat ice cream their brains freeze. That’s what they say. It is because the cat appears to be temporarily frozen. Firstly, I wouldn’t say that their brain “freezes” and secondly cats may respond differently. I would say that cats react to an unexpected experience. Domestic cats like ice cream because of the fat in the milk. I believe that what causes the strange reaction is the very cold temperature of the ice cream which is unforeseen by the cat and which is totally out of the ordinary for a domestic cat.

The ingredients of ice cream would not cause this sort of reaction (unless there is some unusual ingredient which I have overlooked). The ingredients are: milk, sugar, milk or vegetable fat, flavour (and sometimes colour).

The reaction of a domestic cat when he eats ice cream is amusing to people, which is partly why cat owners feed their cat ice cream. The cat seems to throw his head back and make an unusual sound or if no sound is made the cat keeps his mouth open for a while. The cat stays still. There is a small delayed reaction. Overall the impression is that the cat is surprised and going through an uncomfortable experience. The cat suddenly realises how cold the ice cream is and reacts.

What do you think is the reason why cats react like this to eating ice cream? By the way, most of us realise that it is not a good idea to give a cat ice cream because most cats are lactose intolerant in the milk used in ice cream contains lactose (cow’s milk).

Cats Protection do not support giving cats ice cream. They say that a third of cats cannot tolerate cow’s milk and in any case it is high in calories and not the sort of food a domestic cat should be eating which is a high protein diet, low carb diet.

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Cat Eating Ice Cream Brain Freeze — 3 Comments

  1. Michael,

    Most of my cats enjoy a few licks of ice cream. In 50+ years of having kitties, I have never had one who had a problem with any dairy products. I never give my current *kids* large amounts of dairy stuff and they haven’t shown any problems with any. In the summer, we get an Dairy Queen Ice Cream cake to celebrate all of the kitties’ birthdays. They enjoy licking it — especially the whip cream icing! We (my son & I) generally eat the cake, but I willingly share mine with them. As long as I see no real issues with my cats and dairy products, I will continue to share them! I have never had any of my cats go through the *brain freeze* appearance. And, yes, it is just like when we humans experience ice cream brain/throat freeze — although watching the kitties (I have seen dogs as well) experience this is absolutely hilarious to watch! Great post!! ♥♥♥

    • Diane, I know that you are a great cat guardian. I know what you say is true. The article is a generalisation. In general it is not a good idea to give a cat ice cream (by which it is meant a lot of ice cream) but I’m sure what you do is great and perfectly acceptable. It is interesting to note that none of your cats have gone through the brain freeze reaction as described. I recall making the point in the article that this was reaction is an individual cat reaction because quite clearly not cats will react in the same way.

  2. Kitten so enjoyed a dab of strawberry ice cream which she daintily licked from her little ceramic bowl. which was really a cat shaped tea bag holder. I never seen her act strange just happy.
    Since I buy lactose free milk my cats often enjoy a few sips.

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