Why Do Cats Like Ice Cubes? (The Cold Hard Facts)

why do cats like ice cubes

My cat is a nut job when it comes to ice cubes. When he hears me opening the fridge, 9 out of 10 times he will magically appear out of nowhere wanting an ice cube to play with.

9 out of 10 times he doesn’t get it because he ends up making my kitchen floor wet by pawing the ice cube all over the floor.

And it doesn’t stop with just ONE cube when he’s on the roll.

They say that cats are afraid of the cold but maybe our cats have some DNA of a snow leopard.

But why do so some cats like ice cubes so much?

Some cats are drawn to ice cubes due to the cold sensation which can spark off their curious nature. In addition to that, the way an ice cube glides and moves on the ground can make your cat think that it’s a prey that’s fun to catch.

In this article, we will be taking a look at some of the reasons that can make your cat so drawn to ice cubes and what you can d about it.

What Is An Ice Cube?

ice cubes

Why Do Cats Like Ice Cubes?

Knowing cats, it can be hard to exactly pinpoint why some of them are so attracted to ice cubes.

But when you put yourself in the eyes of your cat, you can then start to understand why.

Your Cat Is Curiosity Driven

As a cat owner myself, there is nothing more interesting to your cat than to investigate something new in the house.

This curiosity originates from the behavior of a cat in the wild.

Cats are solitary creatures that are very territorial in nature. They have to maintain law and order within their designated territory to prevent trespassers.

This means that everything that seems new will have to be checked out and given the paw of approval.

Seeing something peculiar and cold like an ice cube can cause your cat to show more interest than usual.

Your Cat Is Teething

Cats go through a teething process similar to humans.

A kitten will start to develop cute little baby teeth at about 4 weeks of age. And this will give way to permanent adult teeth once they are 2-3 months old.

This teething process can be uncomfortable and even painful for your kitten.

Your cat’s gums will be sore, inflamed and even bleed a little. This will make your cat seek out ways to soothe its aching gums.

This is where ice cubes come into play.

Many kittens will find the cold sensation of ice cubes soothing for their inflamed gums.

The cold from the ice can numb the pain and reduce swelling in their gums. This can make your cat more comfortable during the teething process.

This discomfort in the mouth can cause some cats to start ‘fake chewing’ to try and provide some temporary relief.

It Moves Like A Prey

It might surprise you to know that that lazy lump of fur that you call your cat is actually one of the top best predators in the world.

A cat can have a successful hunting rate of up to 70%!

Everything about a cat is made from hunting from its nose all the way to its tail. Unlike dogs which can rely on brute strength when taking down prey, cats have to take advantage of stealth and precision.

Being adept hunters have given cats a strong prey drive.

Anything that resembles prey from the way it moves can trigger off the predator instinct in your feline friend.

When your cat starts playing when an ice cube, it is more than just a toy. Your cat sees it as ‘prey’ that is trying to get away.

I’m sure cats are able to tell that it isn’t a live target but it does help to keep their skills sharp.

Are Ice Cubes OK For Cats?

Cat owners will be glad to know that ice cubes are safe for cats.

Cats that like ice cubes will be happy to bat them around with their paws until the object of their affection starts to melt and shrivel up.

The whole process will continue until your cat gets bored or you get tired of the mess that your cat is creating.

There’s no worry of your cat getting injured unless there’s some added ingredient in the ice cube that could be toxic to your cat.

Or your cat gets too crazy chasing the ice cube around and starts knocking things over.

The Dangers of Letting Your Cat Eat Ice Cubes

Most cat owners don’t have to worry about their cats having some fun with a few ice cubes. But there are a few dangers that you should be aware of.

Broken Tooth

cat tooth poking into lip

I know of a cat owner whose cat got a tad too involved when chasing an ice cube and bit hard into it.

The poor cat ended up with a few chipped or broken teeth that needed to be restored by a dental specialist.

And that was one hefty bill to pay. A cat with missing teeth can cause a tooth to poke into the cat’s lip which can cause some oral problems.

Ice isn’t harder than concrete or steel but I’m sure your cat’s teeth aren’t formidable enough to break an ice cube into pieces.

I’ve never seen my cat bite into an ice cube before. But he does enjoy licking it for a while from time to time.

Kittens or young cats that are teething might be more eager to bite into the ice cube as the coldness helps to numb their gums. It is best to watch your cat while it plays to ensure that it doesn’t end up needing a new tooth job.

Choking Hazard

Pet owners need to be more concerned about the ice cube turning into a choking hazard to the cat when swallowed.

An ice cube is definitely large enough to get lodged in your cat’s throat by accident. It would be a lot safer to give your cat ice cubes that are broken into smaller pieces.

In the unfortunate event that your cat is choking on an ice cube, you will need to know how to force the ice cube out of your cat’s mouth.

Once the ice cube has been safely removed, please take your cat to the vet for a check-up to make sure that there are no other injuries.

Why Do Cats Like Ice In Their Water?

I kind of discovered this by accident one day when I was cleaning out my freezer on a warm day.

I placed a few ice cubes in my cat’s water bowl thinking that having some cool water can help my cat with the warm weather.

As usual, my nosey cat was lingering around in the kitchen and made a beeline for his water bowl. A part of me thought that it was a bad idea as he was now going to scoop up the cubes with his paw and make an even bigger mess.

But he actually started drinking his water and drank and drank and drank.

Can Ice Help A Cat Drink More Water?

cat scratching floor before drinking water

Cats in general don’t have a strong thirst for water due to having evolved as desert dwellers. But having cold water under hot weather was just too good to pass up on.

My take is that stray or feral cats are cautious about the source of water that they drink from. A puddle of water that is warm could be a sign that it has been sitting there for a period of time.

Water that is flowing tends to be cooler and fresher and a lot less contaminated compared to stagnant water.

As cat owners, it is important for us to get our cats to drink more water to help prevent health issues like chronic kidney disease and urinary tract infections.

Try putting ice cubes into your cat’s bowl of water to see if that encourages your cat to drink more water. Do not put too much ice until it gets too cold to drink.

Just a few cubes would do.

Alternatives to Giving Your Cat Iced Water

If your cat isn’t really a fan of ice-cooled water, you still can replicate running water by getting your cat a water fountain to drink from.

You can easily get one from your pet store and set it up for your cat.

I find that cats who like playing with water will have a stronger liking for drinking water from fountains.

I have used one before for my cat but he didn’t quite take to it.

Make sure to get one that can be easily taken apart and put back after cleaning. The insides can get quite slimy after some time so make it a point to clean it at least once a week.

What Happens When You Put An Ice Cube On Your Cat?

Apparently, there was some trend or challenge with cat owners putting ice cubes on their cats to gauge their reactions.

It might seem like harmless fun but it isn’t fun for a cat that’s getting cold and wet from the melting cubes. That can make your cat anxious and irritable.

You wouldn’t like it too if someone were to drop an ice cube down your shirt.

Using your cat for view in such a manner is low.

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