Not everything you see on TV, movies, and the Internet is accurate. And kitties enjoying milk is one of those popular inaccuracies being shown on different media platforms. That’s because generally speaking, milk isn’t exactly recommended for cats.
So the questions “is milk bad for cats?” and “are cats lactose intolerant?” seem to get a lot of conflicting replies. Then the usual search over google would lead you to further uncertainty.
Read on as we dive into the topic and see if a certain kind of milk has any effect on your kitty.
Cats and Milk
It is a common scene to hear your kitties running when they smell the milk you are pouring. Although art and media have pictured cats and milk as a perfect pair, vets don’t really advise that you make it an alternative or additive in their diet.
Milk has a carbohydrate named lactose which is not really good for cats that have been weaned. Why? It’s because adult kitties do not produce enough lactase enzyme which breaks down the sugar.
Kittens can be given specially-formulated milk (the ones you see in different online shops) that contains small amounts of lactose because, at a young age, their bodies still create the lactase enzyme. Milk contains many nutrients needed for a growing cat but these only supplement the kibble or canned food provided.
Here is a list of specially-formulated milk for cats that you can purchase both online and at your local pet store:
- KMR Kitten Milk Replacer
- PetLac Milk Powder for Kittens
- Breeder’s Edge Foster Care Feline Powdered Milk
- Nutri-Vet Milk Replacement for Kittens
- Whiskas Catmilk
Prior to giving these, you should consult a vet to see how much you should give your pet and which brands the doctor would prescribe. Also, take note of the side effects of the milk you are giving as it may cause allergies that would need immediate attention.
Kinds of Milk
Coconut Milk – this type of milk is known to be used on a lot of pastries which cats are also pictured to enjoy. Although it is a beneficial drink for people, unfortunately, it is a harmful liquid for our kitties. Some cats are sensitive to nuts and this comes from one. It can trigger allergies which can lead to other serious illness.
Soy Milk – this type does not have any lactose in it which seems like a very good alternative to cow’s milk. However, this is usually mixed with artificial sweeteners that can cause diabetes, tooth decay, and obesity in cats.
Here are soy alternatives which do not have sweeteners nor Lactose:
- Silk Soy Original
- Silk Organic and Unsweetened
- Kikkoman’s Pearl Organic
Almond Milk – although it is not a type of nut that can trigger your pet’s allergies, it still has lactose which kitties cannot really digest in large amounts. Can cats drink almond milk? Yes, but only in small amounts because if you give too much, it could cause upset stomach which can also lead to diarrhea.
Cow’s Milk – cats enjoy the sweetness and thickness of the cream that rises above the milk that has been collected or processed from cows. Though they find it delicious, it is not healthy for them at all as there is too much lactose in this drink. They would have difficulty in digesting the sugar and end up having an upset stomach or diarrhea.
Rice Milk – cats are obligate carnivores and rice or grain products are of no use to them. This type of milk also has a lot of additives that could lead to very bad complications so we suggest that you avoid giving this to your cat.
Goat’s Milk – this type of milk is the usual alternative for kittens if you can’t afford to purchase KMRs. However, you should feed them only in small portions as this still has a lot of lactose if given in large amounts.
Lactose-free Milk – judging by the name, some pet parents believe that this could be a great alternative to milk. Many cat owners give a saucer of this as a treat from time to time. But can cats drink lactose-free milk? The answer is YES and NO.
There would be no need for your fur baby to produce as much lactase enzymes as it can because there’s no lactose to break down. However, there are other additives in this type of milk that can trigger sicknesses in cats.
Here are some brands for this kind of milk:
- Dairy Pure Lactose-Free Milk
- Dairy Farmers Lactose-Free Full Cream Milk
- Great Value Lactose-Free
What to do if Cat Gets Upset Stomach from Drinking Milk?
The first thing that you should do is have your cat drink some water before heading to the vet. Water can help ease its stomach and can also help release the toxins caused by undigested milk.
This situation is very alarming and immediate action should be done before the scene escalates. Cats that are lactose-intolerant could suffer from upset stomach as soon as they finish the milk and can even worsen over time.
Illnesses like diarrhea and constipation could arise and too much calcium in cats could create stones in their urinary tract.
Here are some home remedies that can help ease your cat’s stomach ache:
- Take the milk away.
- Put your cat on a fasting program for 12 hours to avoid further complications.
- Give it as much water as possible.
- Start a bland diet for your cat.
These tips can work for any kind of stomach issues but we still highly recommend that you make a trip to the once this problem arises.
After reading through this article, you might be tempted to give your cat a sample of lactose-free or almond milk. If you do, we urge you to do it in moderation. Once or twice every week is enough.
We still recommend that you stay away from giving your adult cats any kind of milk as a part of their diet. They are don’t really need the milk’s nutritional content the way humans do. To make sure that your feline has a complete and balanced diet, check the type of food you serve and always keep your pet hydrated at all times.