The other day I was thinking about the remarkable beneficial properties of honey, of the fact that I take it when I have coughs and sore throats, and I wondered, seeing that my cat Lady has coughing fits, if I could give it to her as well, so I inquired whether honey is good for cats, how much can be given, and what benefits it can have for cat colds, for example.
Realizing that cats and humans are profoundly different and that I would never give a human medicine to my cat, I thought of honey for its emollient effect on the throat, soothing, natural antibiotic effect. Of course it is a sugary food, which cats absolutely do not need, if anything, but I wondered whether giving honey to cats is bad for them or can be good for them in some cases.
Let’s review: what honey is and what properties it has
Honey is produced by bees, in their hives, from the nectar of flowers, a sugary substance produced specifically by flowers to attract pollinating insects, which, thanks to their “visits,” help plants multiply.
The bee sucks the nectar from the flowers, carries it to the hive, where, as it passes from bee to bee, it is processed by the bees’ enzymes, loses its water content, and is deposited by the bees in wax cells as a supply of spare food.
Honey has numerous beneficial properties for us humans: it is decongestant of the airways, it is antibacterial and it is energizing, an excellent remedy for coughs, colds and laryngitis. It is anti-inflammatory and encourages tissue regeneration.
The qualities and flavor of honey change depending on the flower from which it is derived, and each has different properties. In short, it is an invaluable food and one to make use of; for us humans, just eating a teaspoon a day is enough to reap many benefits.
Obviously, without bees, honey would not exist either, which is why it is important to protect bees, and if you are interested in learning more about this aspect of the issue, I found a StartUp that protects bees, which is very interesting.
There is pasteurized honey and raw honey on the market Virgin or unprocessed or raw honey is firmer, does not undergo cooking and preserves all the beneficial properties of honey, with the risk, however, of the presence of spores including botulinum spores, which is dangerous in children under 12 months of age. Pasteurized honey has been heated to promote liquidity and blending of various honeys and is often found in the supermarket (again, we read the label).
Raw honey is only risky for unweaned children; it would always be better to look for unpasteurized honey produced by local beekeepers who sell it safely. In fact, pasteurization, if the honey is produced and stored well, is neither necessary nor mandatory. Better to look for honeys that are labeled “not heat-treated.”
Is honey good for cats
But now let’s get back to our kitties to find out if honey is good for cats. Honey may not be a necessary food for cats, who eat mostly meat, which they need. I do not intend in this article to encourage humans to feed their pussycats honey snacks or any human delicacies under the guise that honey is good for cats.
In itself honey is not bad for cats, unless we give it in disproportionate amounts, then we would be unnecessarily stuffing our cat with a very caloric food, this is not a thing to do. The thing to watch out for is the mild laxative power of honey, which if it is mild for us humans, in large quantities in cats can be strong, causing diarrhea. Therefore, we should never overdo the quantities.
Also be careful in the case of a diabetic cat: honey should not be given, because we are giving a sugary food which the diabetic is not able to metabolize properly anyway, especially when we are talking about cats, which do not digest sugars well.
You can give honey to cats only in small amounts, such as half a teaspoon a day, and avoid giving it to kittens. By giving only very small amounts, you can reap the benefits of honey on your cat without endangering their health.
Honey to cats can be useful in colds or coughing episodes, as it is for us humans, because of its emollient and antibacterial effect. In addition, honey is also good for cats in cases of allergies, strengthening the immune system but increasing tolerance toward allergens. Honey can also be used, in small amounts, as a healer on wounds cats get.
The energizing effect of honey can also be used for cats that are debilitated due to illness or convalescence, again in small amounts and after consulting with your veterinarian.
So to sum up, we can give honey to cats in cases of:
- low energy
- seasonal allergies
- open wounds
Do cats like honey?
Every cat has its own preferences, some cats like sugary foods, others generally do not. My cat does not like honey, she is not interested in it, and when I let her smell the honey jar she makes a disgusted grimace.
To give her the honey I dip the tip of my finger into the jar and then smear a little on her snout, as much as I can inside in her mouth, so she wipes it off and eats it, and she doesn’t make any disgusted noises when she eats it. My guess is she doesn’t like the smell, but she doesn’t mind the taste.
Honey-based products for cats
There are even honey-based products for cats, and in this case for kittens who need energy in the first few months of life, and here we answer the question of how to give honey to cats: through pet food, if the cat does not want to eat it in any way naturally. Honey for Pet are 6 g packets, with honey, pollen, royal jelly and other nutrients that boost the intestinal microclimate, helping with the kitten’s energy and stimulating the immune system.
Here is the ingredient list of this honey-based cat product:
Wildflower honey, honeydew (91.2%), liquid pollen extract (5%), royal jelly (1%), propolis, nucleotides, inulin. Additives, natural and botanically defined products: liquid echinacea extract (0.6%). Analytical composition (%S.T.Q.): Protein 1.29, Fiber 2.5, oil and fat 0.03, ash 0.87, moisture 17.6.
It can be sprinkled on food (if the cat eats it) and given to even adult cats in times of physical stress.[amazon box=”B075DHZ57J”]
As you can see, honey is good for cats, and you can take advantage of all its important properties for your cat’s well-being, without overdoing the quantities. We are talking in this article about a healthy cat with no particular health condition, so if your cat has a particular health condition, consult your veterinarian before giving it anything.
If you have given honey to your cat on the advice of your veterinarian and have obtained benefits, please write to us in the comments and if you have other experiences we are happy to hear about them!
This article was written by Elisa Bertoldi in Italy and translated by Sebastian Jerome Conti