Jan 17, 2021

You might have seen pictures of cats drinking milk from a bowl. Cats are associated with milk, but it appears that milk is not healthy for cats. Shocking, isn’t it?

People who own cats may consider giving milk to cats thinking that it is healthy for them. However, this is a myth debunked by veterinary science.

Cat owners are advised not to give cats milk without knowing the harmful effects on them. Cats cannot drink milk because of milk’s lactose. Yes, they have trouble digesting it, and your cat might suffer from diarrhea or an upset stomach.

Cats are intolerant to lactose!

Yes! Just like humans, cats are lactose intolerant. The digestive system of a cat must contain the enzyme lactase to digest lactose. When cats are born, they have plenty of this enzyme, which helps them drink their mothers’ milk.

However, as cats get older, they stop producing less lactase—fewer lactase results in less ability to digest lactose. So, lactose stays in their intestine and begins to ferment, causing gut problems. Since cats are lactose intolerant, drinking milk will lead to gastrointestinal issues. Your cat may suffer from an upset stomach, diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

However, kittens can handle lactose in milk, unlike the older cats. But, milk does not provide the necessary nutrients and vitamins that growing cats need. The reason why milk is bad for kittens is that it can harm their development.

Some cats can drink milk

Most cat owners are guilty of giving their cats a bit of milk and never face a problem. It means some cats can tolerate milk. You can try offering milk to your cat a tablespoon or two of milk. If it does not show any symptoms, your cat can probably drink more. 

glass of milk

Most veterinarians don’t recommend giving milk to your cat as it may cause health problems. Cats are better off without milk as it does not provide sufficient nutrients. They are carnivores, and they can survive without it.

Dairy allergy in cats

As per a study, almost a third of cats have shown some food sensitivity. It means some cats are allergic to lactose. Allergies in cats may show in the form of gastrointestinal distress or redness in the skin.

Gut allergies show up as congestion, edema, degeneration of the villi, and hemorrhage. If you want your cat to stay healthy, it is better to avoid dairy.

What kind of milk can cats drink?

The answer to this question of what kinds of milk a cat can drink depends on the cat’s ability to drink. However, giving your cat milk is not a good idea. Understandably, some cat owners want to give milk to their cats. Let’s have a look at what are the kinds of milk cats can and cannot drink.

Almond milk

Almond milk is not a good substitute for milk. It contains high oil and fat content, which can cause issues for cats. Cats are carnivores, and their diet is high in protein and vitamins. And almond milk does not have sufficient nutrients. In some instances, it was found that almonds can cause pancreatitis in cats.

Almond milk contains a high level of lactose, which your cat cannot easily digest. Yes, cats can drink almond milk if given in small quantities. But, if you give it too much, it can cause an upset stomach, leading to diarrhea.

Coconut milk

Even though coconut oil is healthy for humans, it is harmful to cats. Some cats are sensitive to nuts. Although coconut is technically not a nut, it has nut-like properties. It can cause allergy to the cat, which can lead to other illnesses. Also, coconut milk has high levels of fat and oil and digests hardly.

Is soy milk good for cats?

Soy milk is not the best alternative to milk. It contains soybeans. Cats are carnivores and do not have the enzymes to handle plant proteins.

Moreover, some cats can be allergic to soy proteins. Soy milk is made with artificial sweeteners and can cause diabetes, tooth decay, and obesity.

Cow milk for cats

Some cats can drink cow’s milk, but it is not the same for all cats. Cow milk contains high levels of sugar and fat, which is difficult to digest. It can cause an upset stomach or diarrhea.

Is goat milk good for cats?

Goat milk is a better option for cats if given in small portions. It is a high mineral and vitamin content and has lower levels of lactose.

Can cats drink lactose-free milk?

Some cat owners may think this could be a better alternative to milk as it does not contain lactose. But there are additives added to this milk that can cause sickness in cats.

Yogurt and cheese for cats

Yogurt and cheese are better alternatives for milk. Foods like yogurt and cheese dilute with water and fats. Yogurt and cheese digest easily in the system.

Is raw milk good for cats?

Raw milk is a good option to feed your cat. As per research, raw milk has fewer negative effects on cats than any other milk.

Can cats drink pasteurized milk?

Research has shown that pasteurized milk can cause skeletal problems, developmental deficiencies, and cats’ reproductive issues. So, it is the worse milk to feed to your cat. 

What should your cat be drinking instead?

cat drinking water from a sink

Water is essential for cats as it promotes the optimal function of the organs. Cats need plenty of water as it helps:

  • It helps in regulating body temperature. It makes the digestion better.
  • Water helps eliminate waste in the digestive system.
  • It acts as a tissue lubricant.
  • Water allows salt and other electrolytes to pass throughout the body.

So it would be best if you are feeding your cat with plenty of water. To make sure your cat is drinking plenty of water, place it in a bowl. 

As you are probably aware now that milk is dangerous for your cat, you may want to stop feeding milk to your cat and look for other alternatives!

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