Ice cream is not the best food for your cat to eat. Ice cream is a dairy product and dairy often gives cats diarrhea. As adults, cats have no need for dairy, so their digestive systems are not able to digest dairy. Ice cream often contains other ingredients and flavorings, such as chocolate, which is toxic for cats. A lick or two of vanilla will probably not hurt your cat, but cats shouldn’t be offered ice cream as a treat.
In fact, Scientific American reported in 2007 that cats cannot taste sweets at all. Scientists have determined that cats lack the gene that allows mammals to taste sweets. Cats are the only mammals who cannot taste sweets. Big cats such as lions, tigers, and jaguars can’t taste sweetness either.
Cats are obligate carnivores and they are meant to live on meat primarily. Scientists aren’t sure whether cats always lacked the ‘sweet gene’ or if it disappeared as part of evolution because it wasn’t needed. Either way, your cat definitely doesn’t need sweets to survive or be happy.
Despite the scientific evidence that cats can’t taste sweets, people often remark that their domestic cats love sweet foods, including ice cream. We don’t know why this happens. Maybe cats just want what their human companions are having. Any theories on why cats go after sweet foods?