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Cats And Milk: Lactose Intolerance And Other Dietary Concerns

June 5, 2013 by Ozzi Cat Magazine in Cat Care

Tiny Grey Kitten Drinking Milk - Cat Lover's Pick - Featured in Australian National Cat Magazine "Ozzi Cat"

In fairy tale stories we have read that milk is the perfect food for cats; however, the facts are different as dairy products are not the ideal food for cats. It is true that cats love to drink milk, but milk doesn’t love them as much in return. The reason behind that fact is the lactose in the milk is hard to digest for most cats, and, as a result, your cat will face diarrhea as well as other stomach disorders. In order to further elaborate on the topic regarding whether you give milk or other dairy products to your cat, the following are a few important facts:

Why Lactose Intolerance is Found in Cats

Lactose is a type of sugar available in milk which is not easy to digest. Humans need enzymes to digest the lactose, which we have many enzymes to do so, but, unfortunately, most cats do not have these enzymes. Even certain humans do not have the ability to digest milk when they grow older. This is because their ability to produce lactose is reduced, which affects their ability to digest milk. When a cat drinks milk and she does not have the ability to digest lactose, the undigested lactose is not absorbed into the intestinal tract of the cat which produces fatty acids that are volatile. This can cause diarrhea in cats and also lead to vomiting and other digestive disorders.

Some Cats Can Drink Milk

In some cats we have never noticed the problem of lactose intolerance, and these cats are drinking milk regularly. This is primarily because these cats have the ability to digest the lactose. In order to check whether your cat has the ability to digest dairy products, you need to give one tablespoon of milk to your cat and see whether she develops the symptoms of lactose intolerance or not. Normally, you have to wait for 24 hours. If the cat has no unpleasant reaction, you can give milk to your cat occasionally. However, keep in mind that most of the veterinary experts believe that cats do not need milk at all.

Other Dairy Products

Often it has been seen that it is easier for cats to digest yogurt, butter, ice cream, and cheese as compared to milk. This is mainly because the amount of lactose is less in other dairy products. There are many other ingredients that are mixed in with ice cream or yogurt; therefore, it is diluted in these extra ingredients whereas milk is a pure form of lactose which is hard to digest.

Avoid Cow’s Milk

Though all types of milk is hard to digest for children, cow’s milk contains higher amounts of lactose, so you should avoid this milk. You can use milk replacer if you really want to treat your cat with milk. There are lactose-free milk products easily available on the market, and you can try this for your cat. Instead of milk, you should give your cat a sufficient quantity of clean water as it not only regulates the major functions of the body of the cat, but it also help in digesting food.

About the Author and Contributor to the Ozzi Cat Magazine:

This is a guest-post by Khavin Sharm. He is a part-time guest blogger and a pet lover.

Photo by: Roger Wollstadt

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