Cats and Dairy

It’s very easy to picture a cat contentedly lapping up milk. You may be surprised to learn that cats and dairy don’t mix! Here, your London, ON veterinary professional tells you more.

Why Can’t Cats Drink Milk?

Cats are, for the most part, lactose-intolerant. This means that they don’t have enough of the lactase enzyme in their digestive system to digest lactose, the main enzyme found in milk. Consuming too much dairy will likely result in vomiting and diarrhea.

What About Kittens?

This is true—kittens drink their mother’s milk. This is the only time in a cat’s life, though, that milk is a requirement for health. As a cat grows, they produce less lactase than before, gradually becoming lactose-intolerant by the time they’re grown.

Is Any Dairy Acceptable?

Since other forms of dairy (yogurt, cheese, etc.) contain less lactose than milk, they may be safer to feed to your cat. Keep the portions extremely small, though! A better option is a synthetic “cat milk,” which is essentially milk with the lactose removed. Contact your animal hospital London, ON for a recommendation on these products, and feel free to ask about any further questions you have regarding your cat’s diet.

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