Can Cats Actually Drink Milk ?

One image that may come to mind to the majority when talking about what cats can consume is a kitten lapping up milk from a bowl. Most cartoons depict them like that as well. But can cats actually drink milk ? It may come as a surprise to most to learn that cows’ milk can actually have negative effects on their health, despite how much they like the taste of it.

The best liquid to give your cats is water. It is of great importance to keep you cat sufficiently hydrated, especially if they have health related issues such as kidney disease. Some don’t really like the taste of water; however, we have a few tricks that you can try to encourage the water intake.

Is milk good for cats ?

Unfortunately, the answer to this is no, milk is not very good for cats to drink. Most cats are lactose intolerant so consuming dairy products will lead them to have diarrhea and to vomit. However, there are some specially designed cat milk options that you can choose, which are much safer and contain reduced lactose. This should also be fed in moderation.

For kittens it’s best for them to drink their mother’s milk, or even a special kitten formula milk for the first two weeks of their life, this should stop around 8-9 weeks of age.

Unlike when they’re older, kittens have a special enzyme in their stomachs that makes it easier to break down the lactose from their mother’s milk. When the mature they don’t have the enzyme and automatically lose their ability to digest lactose. So instead that results to an upset stomach.

Why do cats like milk ?

Because it is high in fat and has substantial amount of protein, cats love the taste of milk. Like many humans they will choose to drink it even though it will result in an upset stomach. But if your cat has a high quality and balanced diet they do not need that extra fat that comes for milk, no matter how tasty it is to them.

If you’re concerned that your cat may have ingested some milk, watch for signs of vomiting or diarrhea, and it is advised to contact your vet if that happens.

What do young kittens drink then ?

Kittens will drink their mother’s milk of course! Up until they are weaned, but they also should have access to fresh water, as should their mother since they learn from her primarily.

Starting up at around 4 weeks of age they will start to explore solid food options and drink more water alongside their mother’s milk.

Can orphaned cats drink milk ?

If you are taking care of an orphaned kitten, or even if they don’t have access or can’t drink their mother’s milk for any reason, you should opt for a special kitten formula milk. It is not advised to use normal milk from another species of animal as it does not contain the right amount of nutrients for their optimal development.

The first milk that their mother produces is called colostrum. Colostrum is high in antibodies and helps to pass on some immunity to her kittens. However, if a kitten is not able to drink colostrum from their mother, then you should consult your veterinarian.

You might also be interested :

Can Cats Eat Eggs? Here’s What Experts Say.
Is Olive Oil Safe For Cats ?

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