Can cats drink milk safely?

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Ensuring that our pet has a healthy and balanced diet is not always easy. Indeed, digestion is not exactly the same in animals and humans. Thus, there are certain foods that can be eaten by humans, but not by animals. As for milk, is it safe for cats to drink it?

Like humans, most cats are lactose intolerant

In movies, series, cartoons and on social media, we often see cats happily lapping up milk from a bowl. We even see a lot of little kittens being bottle-fed with milk. Yet, despite popular belief, milk is not really a recommended food for cats. Indeed, even if cats love to drink milk, it is not the healthiest drink for our feline friends. Just like humans, the vast majority of cats are lactose intolerant.

The explanation for this problem is very simple. In mammals, the production of lactase – an enzyme that breaks down and digests milk – stops when the animal (or human being) is weaned from its mother’s milk. For lactose intolerant cats, the ingestion of milk and dairy products can thus cause various very unpleasant symptoms, such as easy digestion, vomiting, cramps and other digestive problems. Also, there really isn’t any additional nutritional benefit to feeding a cat cow’s milk.

As its name suggests, cow’s milk is milk offered by a cow to feed her calf. And as you might expect, cow’s milk doesn’t have the same nutritional profile as cat’s milk at all. Thus, if a cat has a balanced diet, it is absolutely not necessary to give him cow’s milk, which he probably cannot tolerate and which is also too fatty. In addition, cow’s milk is very rich in phosphorus, which could harm the kidney health of cats in the long term.

cat milk
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Absolutely do not feed cow’s milk to kittens.

Thus, it is strongly advised not to give milk to cats, especially to small kittens. Indeed, even kittens who are not yet weaned can be lactose intolerant, and this often manifests as persistent impairments that cause dehydration, which can lead to the death of the kitten. Thus, if a kitten has lost its mother and absolutely needs to be fed, it is much better to give it water. There are also milk substitutes specially dedicated to cats in specialized stores.

Note that milk is not the only food that may seem common for cats, but which is actually harmful to their health. Among these foods that are also dangerous for cats, we can mention onions, garlic, chives, fat, bones, eggs and tuna. Indeed, as incredible as it may be, too regular consumption of tuna can cause mercury poisoning in cats. In addition, tuna does not contain enough nutrients to meet the dietary needs of cats.

Do you like cats ? To go further, here are 10 foods that should not be given to your cat.

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