Milk and Your Feline Friend

Have you ever given milk to your cat? It seems like a perfect match, but you might be surprised to learn that cats and milk isn’t a good pairing. Too much milk can actually make a cat sick! Learn more below as your Portage, MI veterinarian tells you all about dairy, milk, and your cat:

Why is Milk Bad for Cats?

Most adult cats are actually lactose-intolerant, just like many humans are. This means that they don’t possess enough lactase in the gut to break down and digest lactose, milk’s primary enzyme. While a small bit of milk probably won’t cause any problem, drinking too much milk or anything else containing lactose can cause an upset stomach, vomiting, or diarrhea!

Don’t Kittens Require Milk?

Yes, kittens do require their mother’s milk during the early stages of life for proper growth. (If the mother’s milk isn’t available, a synthetic formula is used in its place.) This is the only time in your cat’s life, though, that milk is nutritionally necessary for their health! As kittens age, they start to produce less and less lactase in the gut. This means that by the time a cat is a full-grown adult, they’re likely to be entirely lactose-intolerant. Give your grown cat too much milk, and you’ll probably have a mess to clean up!

Is Any Dairy Safe for Cats?

Dairy isn’t a nutritional necessity for cats at all, regardless of how much your cat might enjoy dairy products. Yogurt, cheese, and other dairy foods contain less lactose than pure milk, so they’re less likely to cause problems. Still, too much of any foreign food isn’t good for Fluffy—if you must give your feline friend these foods, keep the portion sizes extremely small to be safe. Remember: the only liquid that your cat truly needs to stay healthy is fresh water, and they’ll do just fine with their normal kibble and the occasional cat treat!

If you want to give your cat a taste of milk without the negative side effects, you’re in luck: you can purchase “cat milks” online and in many pet stores. This is a milk that has had all lactose removed, making it safe for your cat to drink. Ask your veterinarian for more information on these products.

Does your cat need an exam, vaccinations, or pest-control products? We’re here to help. Call your Portage, MI vet clinic today.

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