When you think of giving cats milk your probably thinking of cow’s milk. Although many people think that milk is good for cats the reality is it is a myth. This type of milk is not healthy for most cats, in fact it can cause a series of ailments, such as cramps, severe diarrhea and an upset stomach. It can also cause cats to become dehydrated when they are fed cow’s milk.


What happens when cats drink milk?

Just like humans, some cats do not have a problem digesting milk. When cats drink milk, undigested lactose will stay in their intestines rather than passing into their bloodstream and end up fermenting. Drinking milk can lead to gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting, loss of appetite and weight, upset stomachs, diarrhea, abdominal pain and discomfort. It can also cause behavior changes such as increased scratching.


Are cat’s lactose intolerant?

Lactose is a natural sugar found in milk and dairy products. So, like most adult mammals, cats cannot handle lactose. Cats lack an enzyme called lactase that is needed to digest lactose. Lactose remains in the digestive system and begins to ferment causing stomach upset.

Kittens make lactase and can handle the lactose in milk, but milk does not offer the antibodies, vitamins or protein that growing cats need. After kittens are weaned from their mother, kittens stop developing lactase. This means giving kittens milk can harm their development.


What is the worst thing that could happen?

If your cat drinks milk and suffers from regular diarrhea, the results could be fatal. To avoid these issues, simply give your cat what he really needs, which is clean water. This is a necessity to help keep cats hydrated. If you think your cat is not drinking enough water, it could be because he or she is consuming wet food and the moisture content of this food is often enough to suffice your cat. If your cat is eating dry food and not getting enough water, you can try getting your cat to drink from a fountain or spigot as the running water often entices them.


What kind of milk is safe for cats to drink?

There is no requirement for cats to drink milk.  You should never give them milk substitutes like almond, cashew or soy as this will make your cat sick.


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