There's a new viral video trend that involves giving cats brain freeze - but is it safe for your cats?
If you watch cat videos online or have any active social media account, then you've probably seen the suddenly popular videos of cats getting brain freeze after eating ice cream.
The cats seem delighted to have the treats until they suddenly pull back, freeze, and often open their mouths in an odd position. It almost looks like they're in pain.
Don't know what I'm talking about? Then check out the video below.
As anyone who's ever had brain freeze knows, it can be uncomfortable and even painful. It's probably more unsettling if you don't know what it is, as a cat wouldn't. But is giving a cat brain freeze dangerous? A few experts have weighed in on the subject.
When humans experience brain freeze, it is likely because the cold temperature of the food or ice cream constricts the diameter of one of the arteries which supplies blood to the brain. This artery, the anterior cerebral artery, is located near the back of the throat, and the rapid constriction may prompt a pain response from the brain's protective covering. Wait a few seconds and the brain freeze will pass as the temperature returns to normal and the artery returns to its normal size.
But that's in humans. We can assume that cats' bodies function similarly, but no one really knows. There also aren't any studies on the long-term effects that brain freeze can have on cats.
Eric Doughtery, veterinarian and medical director for The Cat Practice in New York, spoke with the Washington Post about the matter.
Doughtery confirms, "There hasn't been much research on feline brain freeze. I can't imagine that [brain freeze] would be different in cats."
However, that doesn't mean that it's a good idea to feed your cat lots of ice cream or yogurt. Doughtery explained that cats can be lactose intolerant, and dairy products may cause digestive upset. Ice cream is also high in sugar and calories, so if you're going to let your cat try a bit, just let him have a few licks. And always avoid ice cream with additives, like chocolate or xylitol, which are toxic to your cat.
So is brain freeze dangerous for cats? The verdict is out, since we just don't have enough information to truly know. But it seems best to err on the safe side and avoid giving your cat a brain freeze.