When we think of a cat, the image of a kitten drinking milk from a bowl comes to mind. But… Is milk really good for cats? Can it be harmful to your health? Should we give our cat milk? And, if so, Can we give you cow’s milk? What about cheese or yogurt?
In this article we will not only answer these and other questions about cat milk, but we will also explain the why of everything.
First of all, we anticipate that milk is not a complete or balanced food and cats cannot obtain all the nutrients they need from it. But, rest assured that almost any cat will go crazy if you offer him a plate with milk since they love it.
Is milk good for puppy cats?
Clear! Kittens need milk to grow and develop optimally but, not just any milk, but his mother’s. And, if this is not possible due to a lack of milk, because they are abandoned or orphaned cats, they should take a special formula, but never cow’s milk. However, no preparation will be as good as mother’s milk, which ensures that the kitten has a strong immune system and does not get sick. Therefore, whenever possible, we will try to make the kittens feed on their mother’s milk.
Therefore, milk is good for baby cats, as well as necessary, during their growth stage. They should take it from birth until they are at least 4 weeks old, when they can start eating cans or moistened puppy food. After weaning, they do not need to drink milk again.
Baby formula for kittens
Formula is the food that you should offer to orphaned kittens that they cannot feed on their mother’s milk. It is also used when the mother’s milk is of poor quality, when it is a very large litter and there is not enough for all or when one of the pups is weaker than the rest.
This milk contains colostrum, the first milk that kittens receive from their mother, full of nutrients and natural antibodies that strengthen the immune system. It can also be enriched with other vitamins and minerals, as well as with essential fatty acids to contribute to the proper development of the brain and sight.
In Tíanimal you can find different brands with which to feed an orphan kitten so that it can get ahead, such as SanDimas, Lactadiet or Breeders.
Is milk good for adult cats?
Adult cats they don’t need to drink milk and, in fact, many of them are not able to digest it and it causes gastric problems such as vomiting.
Kittens have a digestive enzyme found in the small intestine, which is responsible for breaking down the lactose present in milk in order to digest it well. It’s about the lactase. As they grow and become adults, they lose this enzyme and, with it, the ability to digest milk. This can lead to intolerance and cause digestive problems such as gas, vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, and stomach pain. It is known, as in people, as lactose intolerance.
That is why cow’s milk for adult cats is strongly discouragedas it contains a high level of lactose. The special milk for cats, used as a complementary food or treat, have a low lactose content to promote good digestion and not damage your stomach. So, if you want to satisfy your cat with what he likes the most, you can do it with these special preparations without harming his health. In Tíanimal you can find different brands such as Ultima, Whiskas or GimPet to pamper your little one without worries.
So… answering the questions about cat milk:
- Is milk good for cats? It is not bad, but they do not need to ingest it nor should it be their usual diet, except for breast milk during their first weeks of life, which is essential for healthy growth.
- Can it be harmful to your health? If your cat is lactose intolerant, yes, it will cause digestive problems and great discomfort.
- Should we give our cat milk? You don’t have to give it to him, but if he likes it, you can offer it to him as a reward occasionally and in small amounts.
- Can we give it to you daily? No.
- Can we give you cow’s milk? Better to avoid it and give it a special milk for cats such as Ultima or Whiskas, which are adapted to their nutritional needs and with which we will make sure that they feel good.
- And cheese or yogurt? Yes, in small amounts and, if the cat is intolerant, they should be lactose-free.
Cow’s milk for cats
In response to whether milk is good for cats, we have to talk about cow’s milk, since it is commonly what we offer them out of ignorance.
As we have already mentioned, cow’s milk contains a high level of lactose, which can lead to intolerance. But, in addition, not only that, it is also low in protein and lipids and has a lot of fat. Therefore, using it as food for a kitten is not only can cause digestive disturbances but, in addition, it will not allow you to grow healthy.
The same is true for whole, semi-skimmed and skimmed cow’s milk, so you should not use any of them.
Summarizing, Is milk good for cats? It is not bad but not necessary. If your cat does not have lactose intolerance, you can offer him some dairy food such as milk, plain yogurt or fresh cheese, but always in small quantities and as an occasional prize. Although, it is always preferable to choose them without lactose and without sugars.
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Veterinary Technical Assistant specialized in canine ethology. TANNIMAL has allowed me for years to work on what I am most passionate about: the animal world. I combine my work collaborating as a volunteer in shelters, sanctuaries, reserves and any related event or activity. I have done various seminars and courses related to canine education, birds, primatology and a long etcetera. I enjoy learning every day from these incredible colleagues with whom we are fortunate to live.