Cats, Milk, and Dairy Products

Cats and milk just seem to go together. You may be surprised to learn that the two actually don’t mix! Learn more here from your vet in Ellicott City, MD.

Why Can’t Cats Drink Milk?

The majority of adult cats are lactose-intolerant, meaning that they don’t possess enough lactase in the digestive system to digest lactose, the primary enzyme of milk. Drinking too much milk will likely cause an upset stomach, diarrhea, or even vomiting.

What About Kittens?

Kittens drink their mother’s milk while nursing, yes. This is, however, the only time in a cat’s life cycle that milk is a nutritional necessity. As most cats age, they produce less lactase. By the time they’re fully grown, most cats are totally lactose-intolerant.

Is Other Dairy Okay?

Since other forms of dairy like yogurt or cheese generally contain less lactase than milk, they may be safer to feed to your feline friend. Still, it’s important not to go overboard. It’s safer to stick to cat treats or small bits of cooked meat instead—your cat will probably like these items more anyway!

Do you have questions about your cat’s diet or nutrition? Contact your animal hospital Ellicott City, MD for help.