Cats and Dairy

It’s all too easy to picture a cat contentedly lapping up milk from a saucer—the pairing simply seems to go hand in hand. You may be surprised to learn, though, that cats and diary don’t mix. Learn more below from a Livonia, MI vet.

Why Can’t Cats Have Milk?

Simply put, most adult cats are lactose-intolerant. This means that they don’t possess enough lactase in the gut to digest lactose, which is the primary enzyme in milk and other dairy products. If adult cats drink milk or eat too much dairy, vomiting and diarrhea will most likely result.

Don’t Kittens Need Milk?

Yes, kittens drink their mother’s milk while nursing and receive essential nutrients from it. This is the only time in the feline life cycle, though, that milk is a nutritional necessity. Gradually, cats start to produce less and less lactase, becoming lactose-intolerant as they grow older.

What About Other Dairy?

Since other dairy, like cheese or yogurt, has less lactose, small amounts may be safer to feed cats. A better option, though, is synthetic “cat milk,” which has all lactose removed and is perfectly safe. Ask your vets Livonia, MI for a recommendation on such a product.