Can I give milk to my cat?
In most minds, milk and cats just go together. This association of cats and milk can be found in many children’s books and movies, but it also exists in real life, because cats really love milk. One theory surrounding cats’ fondness for milk is that it reminds them of their nursing period. But then, can I give my cat milk or not?
Is Milk Really Good for Cats?
Little kittens are suckled by their mother with milk. During this time, their body produces the enzyme lactase, which distributes the milk sugar (lactose) in the milk. This allows the kittens to tolerate it well. During their development, kittens need all the nutrients contained in breast milk for their growth, so their bodies produce the enzyme lactase so that they can use them. During development, kittens switch to a diet that includes solid foods. The mother gradually stops feeding her kittens. This reduces the production of the enzyme lactase, so the milk becomes less tolerable for the cat. Even milk diluted with water can be poorly digested. It is therefore not recommended to give milk to cats, even if they like the taste.
Cow’s milk also contains lactose. Therefore, this milk is also difficult to digest for cats who no longer produce the enzyme lactase. They cannot enzymatically break down lactose and the body reacts with diarrhea and digestive problems, such as gas and abdominal pain. Although enzyme production does not decrease in the same way in all cats, most are affected.
So, is milk bad for cats?
Since cats can have digestive problems when drinking cow’s milk, you should refrain from giving them it. Cat milk or lactose-free milk contains only minimal amounts of lactose, so they are more suitable. However, cats should only be given milk in small quantities. Give her only special cat milk, checking if it is suitable for kittens, as some kinds of milk are intended for adult cats only.
Milk contains a lot of calories and can eventually lead to obesity. It is, therefore, preferable to give your cat water to hydrate.
Is cat milk useful for our felines?
Cats do not need milk for good nutrition. Although milk contains nutrients, cats are already getting everything they need from a balanced diet. In addition, milk contains a lot of calories, which can easily lead to overweight, especially in indoor cats. However, if the milk is not served daily, but every now and then as a treat, nothing stands in the way. If your cats like milk a lot, you can make them happy with cat milk and add some water. Milk can also be a good way to get low-hydrated cats to drink more. To get your cat to drink, you can, for example, add a dash of milk to the water. But milk should never completely replace water!