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Can Cats Eat Jello And Potential Benefits And Risks

Can Cats Eat Jello And Potential Benefits And Risks

I’m sure all of you know giving alcohol or caffeine to your cat is a big NO. I haven’t had any cat parents asking me whether they can give something that includes one of these ingredients to their pets, but I did encounter a question: Can I give my cat some jello?

I mean, it’s so tasty, and we all love it, so, why wouldn’t we give some of the yummy jello to our cats? A small amount can’t hurt them, right?

Well, things aren’t so simple. Cats can eat jello, but the one that we usually eat is not exactly the best choice for them.

Let’s learn why, and whether there are any better alternatives for felines.

Should Cats Eat Jello?

Red Cherry Gelatin Dessert

The jello most of us usually eat contains ingredients that might be harmful to cats, such as sugar or artificial sweeteners.

Still, it’s quite complicated to give a straight answer on whether cats should eat jello, since this tasty dessert also contains gelatin, which is a protein extracted from connective tissue, boiling bones, and other animal by-products. 

On its own, gelatin can’t hurt cats. Moreover, it can even be beneficial for their health. How so?

According to Felinefuture, gelatin can prevent stomach ulcers in cats. Also, it can promote cats’ general joint health, and, to some extent, gelatin mimics the skin and connective tissue of the cat’s natural prey diet.

So, eating jello can even be beneficial for felines, but only a kind of jello that isn’t a threat to their health.

What Kind Of Jello Is Safe For Cats To Eat?

cat eating jelly treat

To be completely safe for cats, jello shouldn’t contain any sugar, citric acid, or artificial additives, such as xylitol. 

So, only unflavored jello is safe for cats to eat. Of course, you need to be sure the jello indeed has no flavors, which means you always need to check the ingredients before you give this treat to your kitty.

To be sure you’re not risking your cat’s health, you can even try making one yourself; by simply using plain water, gelatin, and beef broth, or unseasoned chicken.

This kind of jello can even be a great occasional treat for your kitty. But this shouldn’t be a substitute for your cat’s regular diet. 

Also, you should always consult your veterinarian before giving a jello treat to your cat, since gelatin you purchase may have ingredients that are potentially harmful for felines.

Do Cats Even Like Jello?

Did you know that cats can’t actually taste sweet? So, even if they eat jello, cheesecake, or any other sweet food, they can’t taste it in the same way we do.

Most cats will probably want to taste that jello you seem to be enjoying just out of curiosity! 

Aso, despite them being unable to taste sweet, they still might enjoy the texture of the jello.

How Much Jello Is Recommended For Cats?

three piece of flashy jelly candy place on the small plate

I’m sure you want to do everything you can to have your kitten by your side as long as possible. A high-quality diet is one of the most crucial steps to achieving this.

As Cecilia Villaverde and Marge Chandler [1] state, good nutrition is critical for a cat’s health in all of her life stages. Cat owners should select a diet considering factors such as her age, life stage, and health status.

I’m sure you know how important cat food is, but I also believe you love to make your cat happy by giving her a tasty treat. I feel you, since I do this, too! But, just do your best to not make this a habit for your cat. 

There’s no general rule of how often you should give a treat to your cat, but WebMD suggests limiting treats to 10% of a cat’s daily calories.

Even though unflavored jello is not a threat to your cat’s health, an excess amount of this dessert can increase the chances of her becoming obese. So, this type of jello is allowed in moderate amounts!

This, of course, doesn’t mean that jello should make up 10% of your cat’s diet! Also, it is always best to check with your vet who is most familiar with your kitty’s health.

What Are Health Risks Involved With Cats Eating A Jello?

tabby cat rolling

Jello containing sugar has no nutritional value for cats. But, this is not the only important thing here; there are also some health risks involved.

1. Gastrointestinal Issues

Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they need meat to survive and stay healthy. Years of eating prey exclusively have made cats’ digestive systems fragile.

Therefore, cats will not easily process ingredients found in jello, such as sugar, meaning eating this treat might cause digestive issues in them.

So, if you notice diarrhea or vomiting in your cat, and you’re aware she has eaten jello, it’s clear this food caused an upset stomach in her.

2. Risk Of Obesity

Cats don’t actually need sugar in their diet.

Moreover, too much sugar might cause obesity in cats. Obese felines are less active, less capable of grooming themselves, and have a lower quality of life in general. 

According to Malin Öhlund and his associates [2], overweight cats are also more likely to develop various other health problems, such as diabetes, skin disorders, respiratory disease, and urinary tract disease.

So, you certainly want to do the best you can to prevent obesity in your kitten. 

3. Potential Poisoning

Jello is primarily made from gelatin, but, together with this ingredient, this tasty food usually contains natural or artificial sweeteners.

Cristina Cortinovis and Francesca Caloni [3] found that citrus fruits and products sweetened with xylitol have been reported as food-associated poisoning cases for domestic dogs and cats.

So, giving your cat a grape or lime jello is not safe for her! Citrus poisoning in cats can be severe and even lead to tremors, seizures, and even a fatal outcome.

Of course, this scenario only happens if the cat ingests excess amounts of food containing these ingredients. Still, I’m sure none of you want to risk your cat’s health.

What Are Some Alternatives To Jello?

Pieces of beef or lamb in white bowl

You are aware of the risks of your cat eating jello, but you would still like to cheer her up with some tasty treats?

Don’t worry, since you have some alternatives at your disposal!

Tuna water, for example, makes a great treat for cats, and helps them stay hydrated.

Boiled lean beef, salmon, or homemade gelatin are also far better alternatives than jello for felines.

See Also: 4 Homemade Cat Food To Gain Weight

The Verdict On The Jello Issue

Red jello with raspberry flavor on a plate

Jello is not likely to kill your cat, so this isn’t one of those foods you should strictly avoid giving her.

However, jello can cause an upset stomach and increase the possibility of your cat gaining extra weight.

So, my advice would be to avoid giving jello to your cat, especially regularly. A little bit of this tasty treat will probably not harm your cat, just as long as you don’t make it a habit, and as long as you’re careful what kind of jello you’re giving her.

I will mention once again that there are other, far better options for cat treats. If you would still like to occasionally share jello with your kitten, also check with your vet whether this would be a good idea, considering your cat’s overall health.


[1] Villaverde, C, Chandler, M: Commercial vs Homemade Cat Diets: What you need to know. J Feline Med Surg.2022 May;24(5):415-428. DOI, Retrieved April 12, 2023. 

[2] Öhlund, M, Overweight in adult cats: a cross-sectional study. Acta Vet Scand. 2018; 60: 5. DOI, Retrieved April 13, 2023. 
[3] Cortinovis, C, Caloni, F: Household Food Items Toxic to Dogs and Cats. Front Vet Sci. 2016; 3: 26. DOI, Retrieved April 13, 2023.