Company Crafts Cat Wine, But Is It Safe?

By PetMD Editorial on Jun. 21, 2016

Cabernet, merlot, and chianti can now be cat-bernet, meow-lot, and kitty-anti. 

A Denver-based company called Apollo Peak has created a wine for cats to drink, made with fresh beet juice, organic catnip, and natural preservatives. According to the Apollo Peak website, the non-alcoholic beverage will have a "mellowed out" effect on a kitty because of the catnip. 

While the company boasts their product as safe and tasty for both pets and humans alike, some vets still have their concerns about the cat-nip wine. Dr. Nancy J. Dunkle, DVM, of Exclusively Cats Veterinary Hospital, says that the ingredients could still be problematic for your pet. 

Dunkle explains that while beet pulp is used in some dry foods as a natural probiotic ("It ferments into 'good bacteria' in the gut"), beet juice could have sugars, which is never reccomended for cats. Even fresh beet juice may contain high sugar content, which could be problematic to diabetic cats or a cat with gastrointestinal problems, says Dunkle. She also has concerns about the natural ingredients, which are not listed on the Apollo Peak website. "Some [natural ingredients] are not good for cats, while others are okay," she says.

Dr. Elizabeth Arguelles, DVM, of Just Cats Clinic, echoes the issue that the wine is not a healthy treat for cats. "While the listed ingredients aren't toxic for cats, they aren't beneficial for them either." Arguelles says that cats don't need any of the ingredients from the wine in their diets.

She also voices her concerns that the product hasn't been reviewed by the FDA or the AAFCO, "meaning its under no scrutiny or quality control testing." Arguelles reminds pet parents that just because something is marketed as "natural" doesn't necessarily mean that it is safe or has any health benefits. 

Although the company claims that the wine is not dangerous for felines, it is best to consult a veterinarian before introducing anything new into your cat's diet. Or, Dunkle says, you can offer up another safe catnip beverage that you can make at home. She suggests maybe trying a catnip tea for your pet. The recipe simply calls for organic catnip which is distilled in water—with no other ingredients to ensure it is safe and healthy.

Arguelles also suggests a tasty and safe alternative for kitty: freezing chicken broth in an ice cube tray, and then putting the cube in their water dish.  

The only positive thing that really comes from this is that it serves as a reminder that beverages that do contain alcohol (unlike this cat wine) should never be given to a pet, as it is "incredibly dangerous." Risks include vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, depression, difficulty breathing, seizures, coma, and in some cases, death. 

So when it comes to cat wine, as Arguelles aptly puts it, "The novelty is fun and cute, [but] it's not really the best choice for your furry feline." 

Image via Shutterstock 

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