We’ve all seen cartoons and films where cats love lapping up the milk. But, you might be surprised to know that milk from cows can be bad for cats. Yes, this is the truth, most cats are completely unable to digest dairy.
The question now is: why is milk bad for cats? And why is it still such a well-known myth that cats love it? So, if you are a cat parent, here are a couple of things you have to know about cats and dairy products.
1- Why Milk Is Bad For Most Cats?
Like many humans, most cats are intolerant to lactose, which means that they don’t have the necessary enzymes to digest lactose existing in dairy products. So, when cats drink cow’s milk, they may end up with painful stomach cramps and diarrhea.
Lactose is a sugar form found in dairy products.
Instead of passing into the bloodstream, the undigested lactose remains in their intestines and end up fermenting due to bacteria. This fermentation causes a whole range of stomach problems that usually appear in the next 12 hours after drinking the milk.
As stated before, most cats are lactose intolerant but not all of them. Some cats aren’t intolerant to lactose, but the problem is that there is no way to know whether your cat is intolerant or not without offering them dairy products and risking getting them sick. So, to ensure the safety of your cat it is better to keep it away from cow milk and dairy products.
2- The Myth That Cats Like Milk. Why it is so popular?
On farms, the fattier cream rose to the top when the milk arrived directly from the cow. And cats love cream, so they usually lapped away at that cream. This is the reason behind the myth of milk drinking cats.
Though many of us get our dairy products from the store, but the idea that cats love dairy products still so popular till now. Despite of that wrong idea, it is better to keep cats away from dairy products.
3- When Kittens Are Allowed To Drink Milk?
Typically, kittens can digest milk until they are weaned, around eight weeks of age. At that time, Kittens lost the lactase enzyme that digests lactose.
But even before that, for a kitten, milk is not a good choice. This is particularly true if you raise a kitten that has not yet been weaned! You can buy a mother’s milk replacer or kitten formula from a pet store instead of using dairy products. And of course, in this case, talking to your veterinarian for more instruction is so important.
4- Dairy Alternatives For Cats
Maybe it sounds stupid or boring, but water is the best alternative to milk. And cats usually don’t get enough water in their diets because they don’t always get thirsty when they should.
If you want to make it more fun for your cat, think of buying a drinking fountain for your cat.
If you are insisting to give your cat milk. Then, you can purchase lactose-free milk from the pet store. In this product, the lactose has removed by adding lactase enzymes that help to break down the sugar. So, it is safe for cats to drink it.