Milk, Dairy, and Your Cat

A cat and milk seems like a natural pairing. Did you know that cats and dairy don’t mix? Learn more below about milk, dairy, and your cat from a Temecula, CA veterinarian.

Why Isn’t Milk Good for Cats?

Most adult cats are lactose-intolerant, just like many humans are. That means that they don’t possess enough lactase in their digestive systems to digest lactose, the primary enzyme found in milk. Small amounts of milk might not cause any problems, but too much milk will almost certainly result in an upset stomach, diarrhea, or vomiting!

Don’t Kittens Need Milk?

Yes, kittens do need their mother’s milk or a synthetic substitute product to grow properly during the early weeks of life. This is the only time in a cat’s life, though, that milk will be a nutritional necessity! As a kitten grows older, they start to produce less lactase in the gut. By the time a cat is fully grown, they’ll most likely be entirely lactose-intolerant.

Ask your veterinarian for help transitioning your newborn kitten from milk to wet kitten food, and then on to dry kibble as your kitten ages.

How About Other Dairy?

You may wonder if other dairy foods are any safer than milk. Since other dairy like cheese or yogurt contains less lactose than pure milk, they probably won’t cause trouble for your cat as quickly as milk will. Keep in mind, though, that all dairy contains lactose—it’s simply not a food that your cat needs for good health!

If you must give your cat dairy foods like cheese or yogurt, keep the portion size extremely small. An even better idea is a “cat milk” product, which is a special milk available in pet stores that has had the lactose removed. It’s a great way to give your cat the taste that they love but without the negative side effects!

What Liquids Does My Cat Need?

Your cat really only requires one liquid to stay healthy: fresh water. Make sure that your feline friend has access to a dish of cool water at all times, and check the dish often to see if it needs refilled or refreshed. Your cat will thank you!

Would you like to know more about your cat’s nutritional and dietary needs? We’re here to help with every aspect of your pet’s care! Set up an appointment today with your Temecula, CA animal hospital.

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