Cats and Milk

The thought of a cat happily lapping up milk seems like an ordinary part of life—you may be surprised to learn that cats and milk don’t actually mix! Here, your Gresham, OR tells you more.

Why Can’t Cats Have Milk?

The vast majority of adult cats are lactose intolerant, just like some humans can be. This means that the cat doesn’t possess enough of the enzyme lactase in the gut to digest milk’s primary enzyme, lactose. Ingesting too much milk will likely result in diarrhea or vomiting in most adult felines.

What About Kittens?

Kittenhood is the only time in a cat’s life that milk is a nutritional requirement. Kittens get milk from their mother when nursing. As cats age, though, less and less lactase is produced in the digestive system, and cats become lactose-intolerant by the time they’re grown.

Are There Other Options?

Today, synthetic milks—or “cat milks”—are available on the market as a substitute for real milk. These products taste like regular milk to your cat, but they have the lactose removed so that it agrees with your cat’s stomach. Ask your veterinary Gresham, OR to recommend such a product for your feline friend’s enjoyment.

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