The Truth About Cats And Dairy

By Palani_CML

For whatever reason, the image of a cat lapping up milk from a saucer on the floor is quite common in most people’s mind’s eye. The truth is, it’s not a good idea at all to offer your feline friend milk! Here, a Millsap vet tells you more.

Why Can’t Cats Have Milk?

The vast majority of cats are lactose intolerant. They can’t digest milk properly because they don’t produce enough lactase. Not enough lactase means they can’t digest lactose, the primary enzyme found in milk.
What happens if cats do drink milk? An upset stomach at the very least, and diarrhea or even vomiting if a cat drinks a lot. Unless you feel like cleaning up a mess, it’s best to avoid giving your cat any milk at all.

Will a Tiny Amount Hurt My Cat?

A tiny spoonful of milk might be okay for your cat, but it’s not worth the risk to offer any more. Also take note that cats will undoubtedly lap up milk happily if it’s offered—don’t be fooled, though, because the results may not be pretty!

Don’t Kittens Drink Their Mother’s Milk?

Yes, kittens receive essential nutrients and antibodies from their mother’s milk in the first few weeks of age. This is the only time in a cat’s life, however, that milk is nutritionally necessary. As a cat gets older, he starts producing less and less lactase. Cats won’t need milk at all once they’re fully grown—all their nutrients should come from a well-balanced cat food.

What About Other Dairy?

Milk is out of the question, but what about other dairy products? Cheese and yogurt are two good examples. These products are safer to feed to your cat, but only in very small portions. They contain less lactose than milk, so they’re slightly easier for a cat to digest. A small bit of cheese or a dab of yogurt shouldn’t harm your pet, but remember to keep it small!
Talk to your Millsap veterinarian for more information on cats and dairy. Also ask about other cat-safe treats to offer every once in a while.


Texas West Animal Health

16367 South FM 4,

Santo, TX 76472

Phone. 940-769-2222

Fax. 866-632-3365