Why Cats Can’t Drink Milk

Milk has long been considered the ideal food for kittens, but it’s not as good for mature cats. The sugar in milk, known as lactose, can cause problems in adult cats. They can develop allergic reactions to it and become dehydrated. It also has a high fat content, which can lead to obesity.

Most adult cats can’t digest lactose. This means that they can’t pass it through their intestinal walls and into their bloodstream. Lactose then ferments in their stomach, causing bloating, diarrhea, gassiness and abdominal cramps.

If a cat has an allergy to milk, it can be treated with lactose-free products. These include cheese, yogurt, sour cream, and most hard cheeses. However, these products should make up less than 10 percent of a cat’s total calories.

As a result, it’s important not to give milk to your cat on a regular basis. You can occasionally offer it as a treat, or use it to supplement a cat’s diet with a few tablespoons of it. But if it’s part of a regularly-fed canned diet, it can dilute essential nutrients. Plus, milk’s fat and high sugar content can impair your cat’s digestive system.

In fact, milk isn’t a healthy beverage for cats. Although it may be reminiscent of the mother’s milk your kitten drank, it doesn’t contain the proteins and vitamins it needs. Additionally, too much milk can lead to unhealthy conditions, including obesity and heart disease.

Lactose is one of the main culprits in triggering a dairy allergy in humans. A person with an allergy to milk will experience symptoms of itching, watery eyes, and digestive issues. When the allergen is removed, the body’s immune system will fight the reaction. Eventually, the allergy will disappear.

But, while most people don’t have an allergic reaction to milk, there are many cats that do. Veterinary professionals advise against giving your cat milk. For this reason, most kitten parents don’t feed it to their cats. Rather, they provide a balanced source of food, such as chicken, fish, or meat, instead.

Since lactose is the main culprit in triggering a milk allergy, it’s very important to avoid giving it to your cat. Instead, use a milk substitute that doesn’t contain lactose, like goat’s milk, almond milk, or soy milk.

Alternatively, you can purchase specially-formulated cat milk products. These are often fortified with taurine, which is a nutrient your cat may not get from other sources. Depending on the brand, you can find these on the pet aisle of your favorite store. Some are even made with lactase to help your cat digest it.

Even though there aren’t any nutritional benefits to feeding your cat milk, it’s still recommended that you do not give it to them on a regular basis. If you do decide to give your cat milk, only give it in small amounts, and never more than a few tablespoons per week.

Lastly, avoid cow’s milk if your cat has kidney problems. This type of milk contains a lot of phosphate and can be harmful to your cat’s health.


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