Stevia is a natural sweetener extracted from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant. While there is no cat-specific research on stevia, it has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Approval for human consumption. According to veterinarian Patty Kuhly of Sunset Animal Clinic in Miami, other sweeteners with FDA approval are not believed to be dangerous to cats -- but Kuhly says there is no reason to feed any pet anything sugary.
Sweeteners and Cats
According to Joe Brand, biochemist and associate director at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, cats don't taste sweetness they way humans do because their tongues lack sweet receptors. Dr. Kuhly of the Sunset clinic says that because cats can't taste sweet flavors, it is not likely that they would eat something sweet, whether it be stevia or any other sweetener. She further states that, safe or not, you should not give a cat any type of sweetener.
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Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
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- Medical News Today: What Is Stevia? What Are the Health Benefits of Stevia?
- Scientific American: Strange but True: Cats Cannot Taste Sweets
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Has Stevia Been Approved by FDA to Be Used as a Sweetener?