Kittens Are An Exception To The Rule
Kittens are an exception to this rule, sort of, anyway. A kitten can drink milk up until about eight weeks old. Why? Kittens actually have the enzyme to digest or break down milk up until the time they become weaned from their Mother. Kittens that for one reason or another have been removed from their mom and need milk, will be given formula milk and not cows milk. The formula meets all of the cats nutritional needs without causing an upset tummy.
Feeding Milk To Your Cat
While your kitten may seem perfectly content lapping up a bowl of milk, it’s not good for him or her. In many ways, milk can become your kitten’s “comfort food” that is reminiscent of their mother’s milk. However, being a good kitten parent means not making this a part of your feline’s regular diet.
No matter how you cut it, milk does not contain the essential nutrients cats need to grow. Too much milk can even displace their appetites for meat-based diets and cause nutritionally-deficient diseases. Additionally, one of the most common reasons milk isn’t recommended for adult cats is that many of them have problems digesting it.
Do Cats Like Milk And Is It Good For Them
We’ve all seen it before: a scene in which a cat owner gives their cats milk to drink as if it were water, and the cats seem to love it. Whether it’s in a picture book or a movie, fiction likes to portray cats as milk indulgers. But chances are, you’ve probably only seen cats drinking water–not milk–in real life. So where does this milk-drinking cat trope come from? And do they actually like milk?
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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.
Several lactose-free milk substitutes for cats have developed over the years, including CatSip and CatSure. CatSip is real Grade A milk from a dairy that’s been specially developed to lessen the risk of digestive problems in cats. CatSure, on the other hand, is a definitive, balanced liquid nutritional meal that allows cats to make the best of their golden years. It includes high-quality protein and amino acids for healthy living and is made particularly for adult and senior cats. Both products can be purchased online, in several large grocery stores, and in most pet supply stores. If your cat enjoys milk, these milk alternatives will most likely please him or her.
What Do Cats Drink
Adult cats only need to drink water as part of a healthy, balanced diet. How much they drink depends on several factors, including their age, size, and whether they eat wet or dry food. You can find out more about how much your cat needs to drink with our guide.
If your cat has an underlying health problem such as chronic kidney disease, it is particularly important that they stay hydrated. If your cat will not drink fresh water, then you can try boiling some plain chicken breast or white fish and give your cat the cooking liquid to tempt them. This should not contain any salt or oil. You can also ask your vet whether oral rehydration fluids would be suitable. These are often meaty flavoured and can be more popular than plain water. Another option may be a pet drinking-fountain as some cats prefer these to water bowls.
If you decide to give your feline friend cat milk from the pet shop as a treat, ensure they are still enjoying a balanced and healthy diet and that their treat is part of their daily food allowance.
The most important thing to remember is that fresh, clean water should be available to your cat and weaning kitten at all times.
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Why Do Cats Love All Dairy Products
Most mammals drink milk directly after birth, so drinking milk is natural for most. But eating cheese or yoghurt is not. Cats have the same principles. Unfortunately to them, cats are lactose intolerant and should not have any dairy products after their breastfeeding period has ended, but why do cats love all dairy products nonetheless? Cats are attracted to yoghurt and milk because of the fats and protein that they can sense and smell within the dairy products.
Soy And Other Plant Ingredients Arent A Natural Part Of Your Cats Diet
Cats are obligate carnivores. In an ideal world, they would get all the macronutrients and micronutrients from freshly-killed animals. If given nothing else, a cat can survive and thrive on raw meat, organs, and bones alone. While your cats ability to consume plant matter is still the subject of controversy, we do know that cats dont need nor naturally consume soy or other plantswith the exception of partially-digested plant matter found in the guts of their prey. Even counting that fermenting gut matter, plant matter would never account for more than 10% of a cats diet.
While whats natural isnt always the same thing as whats good, weve typically observed that organisms thrive on the life-giving compounds that theyre naturally attuned to.
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Cats And Lactose Intolerance
The enzyme lactase is required to break down and digest lactose, which is one of the carbohydrates or sugars in milk. When kittens are weaned from their mother, they begin to produce less lactase. Some will continue to produce more lactase than others and this is why some cats can ingest milk whereas others cannot without regret.
Since cats have varying degrees of lactose intolerance. The obvious way to determine if they are intolerant to milk is by the presence of any sort of gastrointestinal signs such as vomiting, diarrhea, gas, or just an upset stomach/generalized discomfort after consuming dairy products. The symptoms may be severe, or they may just be mild. For example, slightly loose stools may occur within 12 hours of eating the dairy product.
Cats Can Drink Milk But They Shouldnt
In reality, its not safe for most cats to drink milk. Most cats are lactose intolerant. What does that mean for a cat? It simply means the same thing that it means for humans. If a person or animal is lactose intolerant it means that they lack the enzymes needed to digest the lactose in the milk.
Lactose is a type of sugar found in milk. Lactose that is ingested, but not broken via digestion sits in the intestines, resulting in fermentation due to the presence of bacteria in the intestines. A cat that is lactose intolerant will begin to show signs of suffering about 8 hours or so after drinking the milk. The cat may have cramps, diarrhea and tummy pain. A cat that is not intolerant of lactose can drink milk because the lactose travels to the bloodstream. The sad reality is that you dont know whether or not your cat is lactose intolerant or not.
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What Types Of Milk Can Cats Drink
If you want to treat your feline friend to some milk, the best option is to buy special cat milk from the pet store or the supermarket. These products usually contain a lot less lactose or are completely lactose-free, so they reduce the likelihood of cats getting sick from drinking milk. However, the fat content is still high, so you should only offer special cat milk as an occasional treat and in small quantity.
Why Cats Are Lactose
Most cats lack the enzyme lactase, which helps them digest the lactose in milk. When undigested, lactose makes its way through the cat’s digestive system and takes in water from the intestines. Simply put, lactose can’t pass through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream very easily. In addition, cats are susceptible to gut bacteria that can cause painful gases and diarrhea.
What Do Cats Drink Instead Of Milk
All animals need water, including your cat. Since cats dont always drink enough water, they may get dehydrated. If thats the case with your cat, adding a wet food to her diet can contribute to her daily total water intake. Some cats prefer moving water rather than drinking from a bowl, so using a cat fountain may encourage her to drink more.
How Much Milk Can Cats Have
While veterinarians agree that milk is not a full meal and should be given as a treat only, there’s no consensus on how much milk is safe for cats. There are about 9 calories in a tablespoon of whole milk, which is about 5% of your cat’s daily calorie requirement. Treats shouldn’t make up more 10% of your cat’s daily intake, so up to 2 tablespoons of milk may be a safe, calorically-moderate treat.
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Is Milk Bad For Cats
Just like humans, some cats cant digest lactose, a milk sugar thats found in dairy. The only time in a cats life when its body actually has enough of the enzyme lactase to properly digest lactose is at birth and during its early years of life. This is so the cat can feed off of its mothers milk. After that, less and less lactase is produced, resulting in potentially increased digestive complications.
Even though some cats can tolerate milk and seem to enjoy it, cows milk just isnt good for cats, says Dr. Gary Richter, a veterinary health expert with Rover. Cats dont need dairy milk, and the potential problems outweigh the potential benefits. Here are some other signs that your cat is trying to tell you something.
What Kind Of Milk Is Safe For Cats
Cats can safely drink small amounts of any milk, whether its from a cow, goat, sheep, or other animal. Any more than a couple of tablespoons, however, could cause stomach upset. If given in small amounts, milk substitutes like soy, almond, and cashew wont make your cat sick, but theyre not something to give your cat on a regular basis.
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Mythbuster: Can Cats Drink Milk
No doubt youve seen it before: the iconic image of a cat lapping at a shallow dish of milk. Cats have often been portrayed drinking milk in old folk tales, movies, and picture books. So that means milk is good for cats, right? Contrary to popular belief, the answer is a resounding no, regardless of the age or breed of the cat.
Think again before you offer a kitty a bowl of milk. Like humans, cats are lactose intolerant which means they cannot digest the lactose in cows milk. What happens when a cat drinks milk? After consuming milk, cheese, or any significant amount of dairy products, the undigested lactose will remain in a cats intestines and start to ferment. This leads to tummy troubles and diarrhea about 8 to 12 hours laterno fun for you or your cat!
Save your cat the trouble and refrain from feeding him milk or dairy products altogether. Your cat will benefit the most from quality nutrition in the form of a well-balanced cat food, and perhaps the occasional healthy treat like cooked shrimp.
Myth #: Cats Are Domesticated Animals
Cats with pedigrees Persians, Siamese, Russian Blues and Maine Coons, to name but a few fit the biologists criteria for a fully domesticated animal. Their owners control their breeding, feeding and care, just as with pedigree dogs, or for that matter, pigs and cattle.
However, most cats in Britain are moggies, not pedigree animals. Their mothers were probably pets, but when the mating season came around , they would have disappeared out through their cat-flaps and actively sought the attentions of as many males tomcats as they could find. Its possible that one or two of those toms might have been pets themselves, but nowadays most owners have their male cats neutered to prevent them from roaming. This means that many of them would have been ferals, un-owned cats that live on their wits, and are extremely wary of people.
Each female, or queen, then observes the selection of tomcats she has attracted over a period of several hours, even as long as a couple of days, before selecting one or two which she allows to mate something that would not be allowed by the owner of a fully domesticated animal. This behaviour has changed little during the course of domestication, confirming that moggies, at least, are still not fully domesticated animals.
On the other hand, if feral kittens are discovered before they reach the critical age of two months, and they are carefully introduced to people, they can quickly become indistinguishable from any pet cat.
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Nutritional Needs For Cats
Cats have very specific nutritional needs in order to stay healthy. They are strict carnivores, which means they must eat animal-sourced protein products to get all of the nutrients they need.
Feeding a balanced and complete diet for cats means their food contains a high amount of protein, a moderate amount of fat, and minimal amounts of carbohydrates.
There are certain amino acids that cats must ingest through their food. This is because their bodies cannot make them on their own. These amino acids include taurine, arginine, methionine, and cysteine.
The main way they take these in is by eating animal protein. Most commercial cat foods either have enough animal protein in the formula to meet these requirements, or they add these nutrients into the food in sufficient and balanced quantities.
But My Cat Loves To Drink Milk
For many cats, milk is likely a sort of comfort food. The smell of it probably brings back fond memories of when they were kittens and drinking their moms milk. Not to mention, they are drawn to the creamy taste of it.
You are not alone if your cat is driving you crazy wanting you to share your milk with them.
If you absolutely must give your cat milk to drink, remember that moderation is key, just like most things in life. Here are some things you can do when giving them milk so that it does not hurt their health:
- Offer only lactose-free milk
- Give milk as a treat sparingly and on occasion not daily
- Do not feed milk as the sole source of nutrition
- Do not let them drink from your bowls or cups as this may encourage them to beg or be pushy
- Put a small amount of milk in a bowl specific for your cat 1-2 times per week as a treat
- On the days your cat drinks this small amount of milk, decrease how much of their regular food you feed them
- Monitor your cat closely for vomiting, diarrhea, gas, nausea, lethargy for 24 hours after they drink milk
- If your cat has any of these symptoms, it is best to not give them any milk at all
Always check with your veterinarian first to make sure it is okay for your individual cat to drink milk. If your cat is already overweight, at risk of diabetes, or has other underlying gastrointestinal diseases, it is probably not a good idea to give your cat milk to drink.
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Cats Dont Get Much Nutritional Value Out Of Milk
Nursing kittens rely on their mothers milk to survive, but any other type of milk fails to deliver the well-rounded nutrition your kitten or cat needs. Its not a nutritionally-complete food or even close. If you choose to give your cat milk, make it a very occasional treat.
Kittens require the unique balance of nutrients present in their mothers milk. Anything besides this milk or a specially-formulated cat milk replacer will lead to nutritional deficiencies.
Its not a substitute for a nutritionally complete and balanced diet. And if youre caring for a young kitten, never substitute cows milk for mothers milk or kitten formula.
Your Cat Cant Taste Sweet
Heres another fun feline fact you may not have been aware of: cats cant actually taste sweet in the way that we can. Scientists found that they simply lack the required receptor for sweetness so not only do they not need carbohydrates in the form of sugar, they cant even taste them!
So while you might think the glass of apple juice could be a nice treat for your cat, not only is it best to avoid sugar but your cat just isnt going to taste that sweetness that makes apple juice so appealing to us.
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Why Is It Normal To Drink Cows Milk But Not Cats Milk
Cats arent raised to produce milk, because if they were, theyd scratch anyone who wanted to milk them.
For centuries, cows have been selectively bred to provide more milk than their calves need, specifically because humans discovered that it was tasty and learned to love the flavour.
While not every group of humans drank cows milk, the majority used some form of mammalian milk for cheese or yoghurt.
Humans are used to drink human milk when they are between the ages of two and five.
Children were not weaned until they were about five years old in western cultures because it was simply cheaper than paying for additional food for the household.
But, yes, its strange that we think its natural to drink milk from another species, even as adults. Because of all the years of history, society, and marketing, its all called natural.
Cows milk is also a lot more natural than a lot of the foods we consume.
It serves two purposes, as do all mammals: nutrition and reproduction.
Kittens have a hard time digesting food at first and will starve to death.
Some species, such as guinea pigs, are able to consume other foods at birth, but kittens arent) and for colostrum, which is produced by the mammary glands on the first day and contains antibodies to support the baby before its own immune system develops .