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Can a Cat Get Drunk: Why You Should Never Give Your Cat Alcohol

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by Cindy Smith

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Yes, can a cat get drunk? And too quickly because cats have a very low tolerance for alcohol; as little as a few drops of the beverage is sufficient to cause drunkenness in a cat. But there’s much more to it. Alcohol is very harmful to cats. 

So now you have the answer to the question, “Can a cat get drunk?” Still, you might wonder, “Exactly how bad is alcohol for cats, what are the symptoms, and how can you ensure your furball stays safe?” Read on to learn the answers to these and more.

Table of Contents

How Bad Is Alcohol for Cats

Alcohol is highly toxic to cats. That’s because it causes ethanol poisoning, which can depress the CNS (Central nervous system). As a result, the cat’s brain functions slowly shut down, which could be fatal.

Further, ethanol poisoning can cause respiratory failure, loss of consciousness, liver and kidney failure, and blood hyperacidity (metabolic acidosis).

The Drinking Cat

(The Drinking Cat)

Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning in Cats

After a cat consumes alcohol, it behaves as a drunk human does. So you’ll observe the following;

  • Uncoordinated movement
  • Unsteadiness, causing falling over and difficulty standing
  • Vomiting or retching
cat vomiting

(cat vomiting)

  • Low body temperature 
  • Lethargy 
  • Slow reflexes
  • Drowsiness
sleepy cat

( sleepy cat)

However, the real problem is the severe later effects. These come up 20 to 30 minutes later and can include:

  • Slow heart rate
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness
  • Excessive urinating
  • Paralysis

If you notice any of the above symptoms, seek immediate medical attention for your cat, as regardless of age, size, or breed, it could die.

Sick adult cat

(Sick adult cat)

How Much Alcohol Does it Take to Kill a Cat?

Sadly, very little. And after consuming the alcohol, left untreated, even a spoonful or two of any alcohol is enough to kill a cat. 

Cats lack ADH (alcohol dehydrogenase), enzymes that break down alcohol, enabling its elimination from the body. So the alcohol circulates throughout the body without decomposition. 

And because the alcohol stays in the cat’s body, the ethanol in it causes severe poisoning.

A sick cat

(A sick cat)

What Do I Do if My Cat Has Drank Too Much Alcohol?

Of course, the most logical thing to do would be to give the cat water to avert dehydration. However, cats don’t like to drink water. They cannot feel it, so coaxing them into drinking water will be hard. Waiting for symptoms to wear off would put your cat’s life at risk.

Instead, start by contacting Animal Poison Control immediately and get ready to rush the cat to the vet if necessary.

vet attending to a cat

(vet attending to a cat)

How Can You Prevent a Cat’s Accidental Drinking?

Because cats are curious creatures, who will sniff and taste almost anything, dispose of alcohol leftovers and wipe off spills. Further, keep your liquor tightly sealed and out of the cat’s reach. And if you have a home-brewing kit, ensure you package it well and keep it away.

Also, although cats don’t like the taste of alcohol, they still might consume some unknowingly. Therefore, keep the following products containing ethanol away so your cat can’t find them:

  • Fermenting bread, grains, and starches
  • Disinfectant
  • Mouthwash
  • Paint
  • Perfumes
  • Some sprays (check the label)
spilled wine

(spilled wine)

What Are Safe Ways to Get Your Cat Drunk?

While beer and other alcoholic drinks are bad for cats, there are safe alternatives to alcoholic drinks that your pet will enjoy consuming, including:

Cat Wine

Cat wine is a catnip-based drink with no alcohol, available in ten types. And these wines have varying strengths. For example, the Meowmosa, rated 10/10, is strong, while the Meow, rated 4/10, is weaker. 

Like humans, cats have different tolerance levels, so you must choose the wine best suited for your cat. 

Catnip

Catnip has the same effect as cat wine. With catnip, there are different ways of giving it to your cat, including:

  • Sprinkling it in the cat’s food
  • Sprinkling it on the floor
  • Catnip toys
Catnip and cat

(Catnip and cat)

Conclusion

Cats do get drunk. And unfortunately, even trace amounts of alcohol can severely harm a cat. Fortunately, now you know how to tell if your cat has consumed alcohol and how to help them. Also, knowing there are safe ways to enjoy drinking with your furry friend is good.