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The essentials

  • Honey is not toxic to cats, but it’s not recommended either — The risks of feeding honey to your cat may outweigh the potential benefits, so proceed with informed caution.
  • Sugar isn’t good for cats — Even though honey uses natural sugar, any type of sugar is bad for felines and can predispose them to diabetes.
  • If you’re going to use it, use raw Manuka honey — Used for many different medicinal purposes, Manuka honey offers the most antibacterial benefits.

Honey contains a lot of natural sugar, which isn’t good for cats since their body isn’t equipped to process sugar. Plus, it’s not even a sweet treat to them since most cats are “sweet blind” and don’t taste sugar. Occasionally, though, it might be okay to give an adult cat honey to boost their immune system. Here’s what our vet has to say about the matter.

Vets don’t recommend feeding honey to your cat

In general, cats are obligate carnivores who don’t need any sugar in their diet and likely don’t care about it anyway. In fact, most cats are “sweet blind” and can’t taste sweet treats.

Veterinarians’ primary concerns about honey for cats are around honey’s long-term effects on your cat’s body. Cats lack the digestive enzymes to process honey because of the sugar content. Gastrointestinal issues (such as vomiting and diarrhea), probable weight gain, and risk of diabetes may result, which is why most vets discourage honey.

Your veterinarian will likely look at the anatomy and medical history of your cat when determining what’s safe to eat. Most cats will do fine on a vet-approved diet with a few treats or safe human foods such as unseasoned chicken as a special bonus.

Do cats like honey?

Generally, cats don’t like honey. Your cat is a carnivore and cannot taste sweets. While you may want to share a delicious treat with your cat, they won’t enjoy the same sensory experience.

Carnivorous animals, as a rule, gravitate to the fat content offered in food. If you’ve ever seen your cat lick an ice cream dish clean, it’s not because they’re a sugar addict. The fat is what they actually adore.

If you do want to feed your cat honey as an immune system booster or antioxidant, make sure to give them manuka honey or raw, locally sourced honey, and no more than half a teaspoon per day to prevent stomach aches.

It’s best to talk with your veterinarian before introducing any new foods to your cat — including any type of honey.

If you decide to give your cat honey, here’s what you should know

Many cat owners wonder if honey is a good remedy for issues like seasonal allergies or sore throat. Honey is a natural antioxidant known to boost the immune system. Antibacterial properties have given honey a good name in the homeopathic community. In particular, raw manuka honey can kill germs, giving it a reputation as a wound treatment.

Honey isn’t a proven remedy for allergies in felines. Because it’s so dense in sugar and calories, the risks would likely outweigh the possible benefits in daily use. However, honey may be a good idea for a temporary allergy aid or even topically on wounds .

Go with raw

Only raw honey should be considered for your cat. Unpasteurized honey likely offers the most potential health benefits, but more research still needs to be done to know for certain. It’s best to find the least processed, most natural option, though — some grocery store honey contains added sugar and corn syrup, which is definitely not good for cats!

Bonus points for both raw and local to help farmers in your region. If you’re considering honey for your cat’s allergies, there are a few things you should know:

  • It may not work. Though honey will not cause an allergic reaction in your cat, treating your pet’s seasonal allergies with honey is a “maybe” at best.
  • Grocery store honey isn’t the best option. If you attempt to soothe allergies with honey, always choose raw. It’s almost a guarantee that processed honey from chain grocers will deliver zero benefits to your animal.
  • Science continues to evolve. Even with what we know about raw honey, there’s not enough evidence in support of honey easing cat allergies to recommend it as a daily treatment.

Consider Manuka

The nectar of the manuka flower offers a range of antibacterial compounds, making manuka honey the best medicinal choice for your feline.

Manuka honey is made by bees in New Zealand and Australia who pollinate the manuka bush. This special type of honey has been used medicinally all over the world. With the strongest antibacterial properties, manuka also boasts antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant benefits. Your veterinarian might use manuka honey (or a product containing it) for wound management.

🚨 Never attempt to treat your cat’s wound at home without the guidance of your veterinarian.

What to avoid

Processed honey of any kind is stripped of nearly all health properties. The result is empty calories and fillers galore.

Most honey found in a grocery store has been processed and pasteurized to the point of death. Stripped of living health benefits, cross-contaminated in factories, and watered down, processed honey is completely unnecessary and lacks all the benefits for your cat.

No honey for kittens

Kittens, in particular, should stay away from all honey for several reasons. Your kitten’s tiny throat and stomach make the sticky substance difficult to swallow. Developing immune systems are ill-equipped for the bacterial spores in honey. Like human babies, kittens are subject to botulism, an illness caused by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum which releases a neurotoxin into the bloodstream.

Even though honey isn’t going to poison your feline friend, it’s generally not a good idea for the majority. Since cats are obligate carnivores, it’s best to stick with their vet-approved diet and treat them with unseasoned meat or snacks made for cats.

Frequently asked questions

Is it okay to give honey to cats?

While honey isn’t toxic, its high sugar content makes it an unhealthy snack for most cats. However, some pet owners may choose to give their cats a little bit of honey on occasion, due to the benefits found in Manuka or raw honey.

Always talk to your vet before feeding your cat honey or any new treat that’s not a part of their regular diet.

Why do cats love honey?

Actually, most don’t. Cats lack the ability to taste sweet things the way we do, so it’s literally wasted calories for them. If you want to treat your cat to something special, they’ll likely appreciate a treat or a nibble of boiled chicken more.

Can you give a cat honey for a sore throat?

No. Dr. Alleyne doesn’t recommend giving honey for a sore throat in cats. He says, “It’s difficult to determine if a cat is having a sore throat since it is not common in cats. Also most cats won’t allow and will strongly resist attempts to feed honey, especially if they aren’t feeling well.”  Remember to call your vet first before giving your cat any home remedies.

Can cats eat yogurt with honey?

The underlying question here is whether cats can eat yogurt. Many felines are lactose intolerant , so yogurt may be off the table — regardless of the presence of honey on top. If your cat can safely process dairy, then yogurt with honey is probably okay in small quantities, as long as it doesn’t contain any toxic ingredients (such as artificial sweeteners).

Can honey kill cats?

Honey isn’t toxic. However, for kittens or cats with underdeveloped or compromised immune systems, honey can be dangerous; as it may carry bacterial spores. Only give adult cats honey with your vet’s approval, and opt for raw or Manuka types for maximum health benefits.