On this article, we’ll take an in depth take a look at the connection between cats and milk, exploring milk’s dietary advantages and well being results, why cats shouldn’t drink an excessive amount of milk, and what you may give your cat as an alternative.
There’s no denying it. Cats can undoubtedly drink milk. You’ve seen the illustrations of kittens clustered round a saucer of milk. You’ve seen milk-flavored cat treats. Possibly you’ve even watched your individual cat lapping it up.
Whether or not it’s from a cow, goat, or mama cat, kittens and grownup cats can and do drink milk. There’s additionally no denying that milk is a pure a part of the feline weight loss program—when it comes from Mother.
Like all mammals, kittens depend on their moms’ milk as their sole supply of diet. A cat’s milk has the right steadiness of important vitamins to assist kittens develop and thrive.
And like all child mammals, kittens produce an enzyme referred to as lactase. This enzyme’s main job is to digest lactose, often known as milk sugar. When kittens drink their mother’s milk, these lactase enzymes go to work on the milk sugar, breaking it into glucose and galactose, two easy sugars that take up simply into the bloodstream.
As a substitute of breaking down and transferring easily into the physique, the milk sugar would keep intact and transfer into the colon. There, the undigested lactose would begin fermenting, draw water into the colon, and trigger the signs we affiliate with lactose intolerance—bloating, diarrhea, and gasoline.
And herein lies the issue with cats and milk. Cats are, for essentially the most half, lactose-intolerant animals. If an grownup cat tries to drink the identical quantity of milk that they had as a kitten, they’d get an upset abdomen. They only don’t have the lactase enzymes wanted to make the milk digestible.
Small quantities of milk received’t make your cat sick, however greater than a tablespoon or so may trigger digestive misery.
Uncooked, or unpasteurized, milk, comprises its personal lactase. So whereas a which means that it received’t set off a response, even in an grownup cat who’s now not producing the enzyme on their very own.
Equally, cats can simply digest lactose-free milk and different merchandise made for lactose-intolerant individuals. They’ll additionally eat different low-lactose dairy merchandise, together with most arduous cheeses, yogurt, and bitter cream.
Nursing kittens depend on their mom’s milk to outlive, however some other sort of milk fails to ship the well-rounded diet your kitten or cat wants. It’s not a nutritionally-complete meals and even shut. For those who select to provide your cat milk, make it a really occasional deal with.
It’s not an alternative choice to a nutritionally full and balanced weight loss program. And if you happen to’re caring for a younger kitten, by no means substitute cow’s milk for mom’s milk or kitten method.
In case your cat loves milk, be at liberty to provide it to him as an occasional deal with. So long as you’re not giving him a lot that it triggers a response or makes a giant dent in his each day calorie price range, milk is usually a nice deal with. If you wish to play it protected with lactose intolerance, go for uncooked milk or attempt a lactose-free product.
Cats who love milk and need greater than only a few sips would possibly get pleasure from specially-formulated cat milk merchandise, typically discovered on the cat meals aisle of pet shops and groceries. These merchandise are lactose-free drinks made with cats in thoughts. Some are fortified with taurine for an amino acid increase.
For very younger kittens, there’s no substitute for mom’s milk or a specifically-formulated kitten method. Cat milk replacers are the one protected selection for bottle-feeding a kitten.
Cats can safely drink small quantities of any milk, whether or not it’s from a cow, goat, sheep, or different animal. Any greater than a few tablespoons, nevertheless, may trigger abdomen upset. If given in small quantities, milk substitutes like soy, almond, and cashew received’t make your cat sick, however they’re not one thing to provide your cat regularly.
It’s one of many nice mysteries of the feline world. Milk is a cat’s first meals and, like people, that enjoyment of milk continues past infancy. Some additionally speculate that farm cats developed a style for milk as a contented complement to the mice they caught within the barn. Cats are possible drawn to the feel and aroma of the fats and protein in milk.
It’s unlikely. In distinction to some human meals which can be poisonous to cats—chocolate, for instance—milk is comparatively protected and there’s little or no likelihood that even a big amount of it may kill a cat.