Can cats drink milk?
Once a kitten weans, most will become intolerant to lactose, which is the natural sugar in the milk. Infants (of all mammal species) produce an enzyme in their small intestine called lactase. This enzyme breaks down lactose in the milk and converts it into glucose and galactose, to produce energy. As cats grow older and wean, the body greatly decreases or completely shuts down lactase production, after all, most mammals stop drinking milk once they have weaned, so it is no longer necessary for the body to produce lactase.
When a cat is no longer producing the enzyme lactase is given milk, instead of it being broken down into glucose and galactose and absorbed into the bloodstream, it passes through the small intestine into the colon where bacteria ferment it, producing acids and gas. It is this fermentation process that leads to the typical symptoms of lactose intolerance which include:
This inability to break down lactose is known as lactose intolerance or lactose maldigestion.
Is lactose intolerance the same as milk allergy?
Image 1954, Nat Farbman/LIFE Magazine
No, an allergy involves the immune system responding to one or more proteins in milk, however, there is no immune response with lactose intolerance. I have seen it said that lactose intolerance is a digestive disorder, I don’t think this is correct, it is not a disorder, that would assume that something isn’t functioning as it should. It is completely normal for mammals (including cats) to become lactose intolerant once they wean.
Are all cats lactose intolerant?
Almost all cats are lactose intolerant, however, the amount of lactose that can be tolerated will vary from cat to cat. Some cats will continue to produce lactase but at lower levels (lactase persistence). Therefore cats who do still produce lactase may be able to tolerate small amounts of milk even into adulthood.
How do I know if my cat is lactose intolerant?
The only real way to find out if your cat is lactose intolerant is to give him some milk and see if it causes bloating, gas or diarrhea. If you find your cat is okay with cow’s milk, then the occasional bowl is fine, but it should be given as a treat only.
What about kittens, don’t they need milk?
All young kittens MUST have milk to survive. The weaning process begins around 4-5 weeks of age, but prior to that, their only source of nutrition is milk. It is extremely important that you do not give a young kitten cow’s milk. The best possible milk is from the kitten’s mother. If the kitten is orphaned and a foster mother can’t be found for the kitten then the kitten will need to be given a specially designed kitten formula, which can be purchased from your veterinarian. Cow’s milk is fine for baby cows, but it is not suitable for kittens.
When do kittens wean?
The weaning process begins around 4-5 weeks, at which time the kitten will begin to try small amounts of food (which should be soft). They will continue to drink their mother’s milk for several weeks longer. Once they are fully weaned, they have no nutritional need for milk again.
Do cats need to drink milk?
Milk (from their mother or kitten milk supplement) is vital to young kittens, but once a kitten has weaned, he doesn’t need to drink milk. A cat’s fluid intake should be predominantly from their food and water. Milk contains calories, water doesn’t, it should be an occasional treat only.
Are there any nutritional or health benefits to giving cats milk?
Once the kitten has weaned, there are no nutritional benefits to older cats drinking milk. They should receive all their necessary nutrients via their diet.
People are told to have three servings of dairy a day, this doesn’t apply to cats. They acquire all the calcium they need via their diet.
What about other dairy products such as cheese and yoghurt?
Cats can have a small amount of cheese and yoghurt, even lactose intolerant cats should be okay. The bacteria in these products has broken down some of the lactose. Cheddar cheese and cottage cheese have only tiny amounts of lactose.
What kind of cheese and yoghurt can I feed my cat?
Avoid the fancier types of cheese such as brie and blue cheese (keep that for yourself), stick with grated cheddar cheese and cottage cheese.
Yoghurt should be plain Greek, avoid other types as they contain high amounts of added sugar. Cheese and yoghurt can be given as an occasional treat but shouldn’t be a part of your cat’s regular diet.
Cat milk alternatives:
If you want to give your cat milk, the safest bet is to purchase lactose-free cat milk from your supermarket or pet store. Bear in mind that milk contains calories (water has none) so do keep it minimal. Obesity has serious health implications for cats.
Milk should not be a substitute for water, which should always be available to your cat.
- Cats have no nutritional need for milk once they have weaned.
- Nursing kittens produce an enzyme called lactase which breaks down lactose (sugar) in milk.
- Once they have weaned, production of lactase stops, and they are no longer able to break down lactose effectively resulting in milk intolerance.
- Symptoms may include flatulence (passing gas), abdominal pain, bloating and diarrhea.
- Water is the best fluid for your cat but if you do want to give milk, you can purchase cat milk from supermarkets or pet stores which is lactose-free.
Julia Wilson is the founder of Cat-World, and has researched and written over 1,000 articles about cats. She is a cat expert with over 20 years of experience writing about a wide range of cat topics, with a special interest in cat health, welfare and preventative care. Julia lives in Sydney with her family, four cats and two dogs. Full author bio
By Genevieve Dugal
Updated on Apr 14, 2022
The image of a cute kitten lapping milk freshly served by its favorite human is anchored in our imagination. But as charming as the idea is, cow’s milk is generally not recommended for our pet felines, due to the lactose it contains. But what about Lactaid milk, a product that does not contain lactose? Can you safely feed it to your cat?
The simple answer is yes, you can give your cat Lactaid, but only as an occasional treat. In fact, cats do not need to drink milk to be healthy, whether it contains lactose or not. Read on to find out what you need to know about cats, milk, and lactose-free products like Lactaid.
What Is Lactose?
Lactose is a carbohydrate (or sugar) naturally present in dairy products. It is made up of glucose and galactose and is digested by an enzyme called lactase. When this enzyme is absent or produced in insufficient quantity, it produces lactose intolerance. Cats, just like humans, can develop lactose intolerance. Lactose digestion reduces dramatically after 7 weeks old in cats.
Why is Milk Bad for Your Cat?
Cats are generally unable to properly digest milk. This results in various digestive problems, such as bloating, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and vomiting. However, not all cats are lactose intolerant; some can indeed digest milk without problem, but this is not the norm. Also, if your cat is only mildly bloated, you probably won’t notice it. Therefore, veterinarians advise to avoid giving milk to cats after weaning to avoid unnecessary discomfort.
Moreover, since milk is not necessary for a cat to be healthy, there is no valid reason for cats to get used to drinking it.
What About Lactaid and Other Lactose-Free Products?
Lactaid is lactose-free milk. It is made by adding lactase to regular cow’s milk, which helps to break down the lactose and digest the milk better. The final product has much the same taste, texture, and nutritional profile as regular milk.
However, you should keep in mind that this is a product formulated for human consumption. So, while giving your cat a few sips every now and then isn’t necessarily harmful, there are better treats made especially for your furry friend.
Among them is the Whiskas Cat Milk. This drink for weaned cats and kittens, sold in cartons of 200 ml, is a healthy treat that you can give your cat from time to time.
But no matter which product you choose, keep in mind that treats, in any form, should not make up more than 5-10% of your cat’s diet.
Image Credit: Dmitri Ma, Shutterstock
Can Kittens Drink Milk?
If a kitten is separated from its mother before the weaning process is complete, it will need a replacement for its mother’s milk.
However, orphaned kittens should not be fed milk from cows, goats, sheep, or other ruminants, as these kinds of milk do not contain enough fat, protein, and minerals compared to cat milk. Indeed, kittens have specific needs in certain amino acids and essential fatty acids that ruminant milk does not cover.
Additionally, kittens lack the proper enzymes to digest the lactose in cow milk, which can produce upset tummy and diarrhea, as in adult cats. However, these digestive problems can appear more quickly and cause more harm to the kitten, given its small size.
Therefore, it is best to opt for formula milk available from veterinarians and formulated to be adapted to the nutritional needs of the little ones.
Image Credit: FotoRieth, Pixabay
Are There Any Nutritional Benefits of Milk for Cats?
After the age of eight weeks, cats no longer need to drink milk to meet their nutritional needs.
Thus, if your cat likes to dip his whiskers in your cup of latte, it’s only out of taste and not out of need. He probably got used to the creamy taste and rich texture of milk, as well as its fat content but is not benefitting from drinking milk. But if you think your kitty is drinking from your glass of milk because he is dehydrated, you should offer water and could get him a cat fountain, which will provide him with all the water he needs to be well hydrated.
You can give your cat some Lactaid as an alternative to regular cow’s milk. Indeed, Lactaid does not contain lactose, which allows your pet to digest milk better, without causing painful digestive problems.
However, keep in mind that offering lactose-free milk to your cat should be only a treat and that he does not need the nutrients in milk to thrive. So, if your cat likes to lick the bottom of your cereal bowl, it’s just a matter of taste, not need.
Featured Image Credit: ChervovRV, Shutterstock
What happens if a cat is given alcohol? Alcohol is very hazardous to cats and dogs. Animals suffering from alcohol poisoning may exhibit diarrhea, vomiting, depression, loss of coordination, difficulty breathing, coma, convulsions, or even death.
Can cats drink alcohol? The simple answer is that cats cannot consume alcohol safely. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) is extremely forthright in stating that it is one of the drugs that should never be given to a cat.
Is it OK to feed my cat red wine? Certainly not. Alcohol is poisonous to cats.
Can Cats Drink Wine – RELATED QUESTIONS
What is the maximum amount of cat wine that a cat can consume?
One teaspoon, yes, one teaspoon, of grain alcohol is sufficient to induce severe alcohol poisoning in cats and dogs. One tablespoon is sufficient to induce a coma in a healthy cat or small dog. However, like with people, whether a pet has recently had food has an effect on the way alcohol affects a pet.
Can I offer alcohol to my cat?
Editor’s note: Vodka and alcohol are both poisonous to dogs and animals and should NEVER be given to a dog or cat in the house as a treatment.
Can cats consume a little amount of beer?
No, cats should not drink beer. Never offer alcohol to cats, dogs, or other domestic pets. Alcoholic beverages, as well as meals containing alcohol, may have a detrimental impact on a cat’s health, and can even be fatal.
Are cats capable of becoming stoned?
According to experts, marijuana does not effect dogs, cats, and other animals in the same way that it does people. They may stagger, seem or behave confused, appear drowsy or just dopey, Hackett explained.
Can cats get inebriated on catnip?
However, it is theorized that when nepetalactone binds to nasal receptors, it may take on the structure of pheromones. Whatever the underlying cause, nepetalactone produces a powerful, intoxicating response in the majority of cats.
Which animal is capable of consuming alcohol?
However, moose are not the only non-human creatures who like alcohol. Malaysia’s pen-tailed treeshrew is credited as having the world’s greatest alcohol tolerance. Seven different kinds of animals, including the treeshrew and slow loris, feed on fermenting nectar from the bertam palm plant’s flower buds.
Can cats get depression?
Cats are very emotional creatures that may get agitated or sad. Cowering, hissing, and running are the most prevalent indicators of an unhappy cat. However, your cat may not always display evident indications of stress. This is why, as a pet owner, you should be familiar with how melancholy cats act.
Do cats consume milk?
Kittens and adult cats can and do take milk from cows, goats, and mom cats. Additionally, there is no doubting that milk is an essential component of the feline diet—when it comes from Mom. Kittens, like other mammals, depend entirely on their mother’s milk for sustenance.
Are cats capable of drinking coffee?
No, cats are unable to consume coffee. Coffee use is particularly dangerous to cats. Even if a few drips would not harm them, you should ensure that your cat does not consume any coffee. Coffee grounds, both used and unused, as well as coffee beans, may all be toxic to your cat.
What is the reason for my cat consuming so much water?
Diabetes mellitus, chronic renal disease, and hyperthyroidism are three of the most prevalent reasons of increased urine and drinking in cats.
Are grapes safe for cats to eat?
Although the reason for this is unknown, grapes and raisins have been known to induce renal failure in cats. Additionally, even a trace quantity might make a cat unwell. Although some cats are unaffected, it is advisable to avoid giving your cat grapes and to keep grapes and raisins off counters and other areas where your cat may get them.
What effect does cat wine have on cats?
The sole good outcome is that it serves as a warning that drinks containing alcohol (unlike this cat wine) should never be offered to a pet due to their “very harmful” nature. Vomiting, diarrhea, impaired coordination, depression, trouble breathing, seizures, and coma are all possible risks.
What Age Are Cats Allowed to Drink Cat Wine?
Cat Wine does not mature in the same way as human wine does. The manufacturer recommended that you use this product within six months after purchase.
Can cats consume Bailey’s?
Cats have a somewhat limited palette of tastes, with the majority exhibiting a strong affinity for meaty flavors and being unable to sense sweet flavors. They do, however, like fats and will happily take milk, ice cream, even a lone glass of Baileys.
Are cats susceptible to Covid 19?
Worldwide, pets including cats and dogs have been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, most often via close contact with individuals who have the illness. The danger of pets transmitting COVID-19 to humans is quite minimal. Avoid masking pets; masks may endanger your pet.
How much alcohol does it take to kill a cat?
Alcohol. Alcohol is harmful to your cat. Not only may cats get inebriated, but they can also readily suffer serious liver and brain damage. A tablespoon of any kind of alcohol may induce a coma in an adult cat; more than that can be fatal.
Why does my cat move as if he’s inebriated?
Your cat suddenly walking like a drunk may be suffering from vestibular sickness. Balance loss may arise as a result of a disease or damage to the vestibular system in the inner ear. Your cat’s balance and coordination are controlled by the vestibular system.
Why does my cat consume liquids from my cup?
It might just be a question of choice for a finicky kitten. It’s conceivable they dislike that meal and would rather have your fresher, cooler water in a large cup. If this is a significant issue for you, try a couple alternative plates or cups and see if they like them.
What happens when a dog consumes Baileys?
“In fact, Baileys account for over 20% of our canine alcohol toxicity cases.” If your pet has ingested alcohol, veterinarians advise you to watch for the same indicators of drunkenness as people. These symptoms include nausea, loss of coordination, confusion, hyperactivity, sleepiness, and coma.
Are cats capable of eating cheese?
Cheese is not a naturally occurring component of a cat’s diet. Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they can get all of their nutritional requirements only from meat. However, although cheese is also a good source of protein, it may wreak havoc on a cat’s sensitive digestive tract. This is because cats do not tolerate dairy well.
Are cats allowed to drink almond milk?
Cats should consume almond milk sparingly. Additionally, check the label to ensure the brand of almond milk is healthy for your cat. Artificial sweeteners, flavorings, and preservatives may be included in flavored almond milk, which may cause your cat’s stomach to upset.
Can cats get addicted to catnip?
It may take up to two hours for him to “reset” and regain his catnip susceptibility. Take care not to overindulge—while cats are unlikely to overdose on catnip, they may get ill if they consume an excessive amount. You can trust your cat to recognize when they’ve had enough.
Almond milk has become a popular alternative to cow’s milk in recent times, and it’s no wonder! It’s perfect for anyone with lactose intolerance and is also a low-calorie and healthy alternative to the usual milk.
But what about cats? We know that cow’s milk isn’t good for cats, but can they drink almond milk? Almond milk can actually be okay for cats, but only in moderation.
We look closer at the benefits and drawbacks of almond milk for cats. We determine the right amount to give them.
A Little History on Almond Milk
You might be surprised to learn that while almond milk has become quite popular within the past several years, it’s actually been around since the 1200s, when it was commonly used in Baghdad. Almonds were easy to find, and the milk lasts longer than animal milk in the heat, so it was a favorite alternative.
While it eventually became popular in the 1400s in Europe, it stayed under the radar until around 2008, when it started production in North America, and it is now highly sought after today.
Image Credit: Pixabay
What Exactly Is Almond Milk?
We all know that almonds aren’t physically capable of producing milk, so how exactly do we get almond milk?
The process typically starts by washing and then soaking the almonds for around 12 hours. They are then ground up, usually in a colloid mill, with a large amount of water (usually a ratio of 10 parts of water to every 1 part of almonds).
The mixture is then filtered through a sieve. You’re left with a milky substance (additives and preservatives can also be added at this point) that will be sterilized and bottled. It can also quite easily be made at home using similar techniques (using a blender rather than a mill).
Image Credit: Pixabay
Cats and Milk
For as long as we’ve had cats, there’s been a long-standing myth that cats always drink a saucer of milk. However, most cats have an intolerance to lactose, just like many humans. So, when a cat drinks cow’s milk, there’s more than a good chance that stomach upset and diarrhea will result.
Cats do love drinking milk, but they just shouldn’t do it.
Benefits of Almond Milk for Cats
So, since cats can’t drink cow’s milk, what is the difference with almond milk? Almond milk does not contain lactose and is much safer than cow’s milk for cats. The advantages of almond milk include that it’s low in calories and fat, and if sugar hasn’t been added to it, it’s quite low in sugar by itself.
It’s also low in potassium and phosphorus, which makes it a good choice for any person or cat with kidney disease. Almond milk is high in vitamin E, which is an important antioxidant that protects against stress, inflammation, and heart disease and can benefit bones and eye health. Many almond milk companies also add extra calcium and vitamin D.
Image Credit: ChervovRV, Shutterstock
The Drawbacks of Almond Milk for Cats
While almond milk is lower in calories than cow’s milk, it’s still additional calories that your cat doesn’t need. In fact, technically, almond milk doesn’t provide your cat with any extra health benefits that they don’t already get from their regular food.
As a general rule, experts believe that cats need about 24 to 35 calories every day for every pound in order for your cat to maintain a healthy weight. So, a 10-pound cat should have roughly 240 to 350 calories per day, and 1 small cup of almond milk can contain 30 to 60 calories.
In addition, many almond milk manufacturers add extra sugar, preservatives, and flavors, which are additional disadvantages of almond milk for cats. Some cats are also allergic to almonds and can experience gastrointestinal upset after consuming the milk. So, like with cow’s milk, these cats might also experience painful cramps and diarrhea.
Image Credit: NeydtStock, Shutterstock
Sustainability of Almond Milk
Beyond the issues with giving your cat almond milk, there are issues with the production of almond milk and its effects on the environment.
The majority of almonds cultivated for almond milk in the U.S. are in California. Almonds require a large amount of water to even create almond milk. To make just one glass of almond milk requires approximately 16 gallons of water!
Additionally, growing almonds put excess pressure on bees and beekeepers. In fact, 70% of the commercial honeybee colonies in the U.S. are used to pollinate almond orchards, and the stress of this production is killing the bees. During the winter of 2018 and 2019, the almond pollination process saw the death of 50 billion honeybees.
Image Credit: Piqsels
How Much Almond Milk Is Okay?
Almond milk is not necessary for a cat’s daily dietary requirements. But if you’re determined to give your cat some, just consider it as an occasional treat and not a part of their daily diet.
You should give just a tablespoon or so of almond milk to your cat to start. Keep an eye on your kitty for the next several hours, and as long as your cat seems to be fine, there probably isn’t an allergy present. You should be on the lookout for diarrhea, upset stomach, and bloating otherwise.
If your kitty doesn’t have a bad reaction to the almond milk, you can slowly increase the amount. You probably shouldn’t give your cat any more than ¼ cup of almond milk at once, and even then, it should be given as a treat and not every day.
While almond milk isn’t bad for your cat (unless there’s an allergy, of course), it’s still something that you shouldn’t go out of your way to give your cat. Cats get all their nutrition and liquid requirements through their food and water, so almond milk doesn’t benefit them much in the long run.
Cats also can get an upset stomach or even gain weight with too much almond milk. Speak to your vet if in doubt, and save the almond milk for your own enjoyment.
Featured Image Credit: Nailia Schwarz, Shutterstock
The short answer: The only milk that is healthy for kittens to drink is either their mother’s, or they will need a kitten milk replacer, which can also be called KMR or kitten milk formula.Dec 18, 2018
What can I feed a baby kitten if I don’t have formula?
The simple answer is that kittens should only consume their mother’s milk, or they should use a kitten milk replacer, commonly known as KMR or kitten milk formula.
What milk Can cats drink?
Having No Adverse Reaction. If your cat’s not throwing up or having diarrhea, he or she can consume whole, skim, or lactose-free milk in small quantities. Some experts advise that cream is better than regular milk because it has less lactose than whole or skims milk.
Can a kitten drink regular cow milk?
In a word, yes, cows’ milk is bad for cats. Most cats are actually ‘lactose intolerant’ as they don’t have the enzyme (lactase) in their intestines to digest the sugar in milk (lactose), meaning that milk which contains lactose can make them poorly.
Can kittens have evaporated milk?
Evaporated milk for kittens You cannot feed it as is. You can mix 1 can of evaporated milk, 1 egg yolk, 2 tablespoons of light corn syrup, and preferably pediatric kitten vitamins. Mix everything together in a large bottle (shake to mix).
Can you give kittens powdered milk?
Milk Replacement Formulas Powdered kitten milk replacement formula is better for kittens than the canned liquid formula. We recommend that you use only powdered kitten milk replacement formula from the start — or as soon as possible — to prevent diarrhea.
Can I give my cat almond milk?
In moderation, almond milk is perfectly fine for your cat, but it doesn’t contain any potential health benefits that they aren’t already getting from a healthy diet. Because most cats are lactose intolerant, almond milk is a great substitute for cow’s milk and is less likely to give them the associated stomach issues.
How do you dilute cow milk for kittens?
You will have to dilute cow’s milk with water and if they do not get diarrhea after a day you can continue giving them diluted cow’s milk. Once the kittens are 3-4 weeks old you can provide formula in a shallow dish along with some kitten food that is softened with water.
Is evaporated milk good for kittens?
So, using evaporated milk for kittens really isn’t recommended. If it’s the middle of the night and you have nothing else and cannot get anything until morning, it will work in a pinch. But, it is definitely not something you should use long term. You cannot feed it as is.