The first thing we all will remember about the cat is milk. Milk and cats have associated closely just like bread and butter. Just like any other species living in the world, even cats have to go through certain stereotypes of assuming that cats like milk. Many people think that the cat is healthy by drinking milk, or it is one of the favorite staple drinks. But it is not true; it is unsure whether it is the right thing to do or not.
But honestly, what is it about the cats and milk? Is it possible for the cat to drink the milk? Instead, should you find an alternative for them to drink? What do the experts say about the cat’s affinity towards milk? We are unveiling all the secrets about the cat and milk in this article that helps you understand it better.
Do cats drink milk?
The experts confirm that just like dogs, even cats are drawn toward milk. When they are little, usually the bones are slobbery, and as a treat for the liver, the kitties tend to show interest in a bowl of dairy. The universal assumption on cats as milk lovers is in a dilemma because they love every other dairy product also. But some experts suggest that cats prefer a variety of beverages & their liking changes from time to time.
It always seems that cats drink milk; in fact, they love milk as long as they have enough cream on it. The milk bowl will be empty, but the water bowl isn’t. It is because they compare the taste and prefer to drink milk. It does not mean they like it, and you should fill the bowl whenever it becomes empty.
Can cats drink milk?
Traditionally, the people who own the cattle offer the top creamy layer of milk to the cats for the fat. But the milk produced today is low in fat, and it lacks the nutrients that the feline wants. The less creamy the milk is, the harder it is to digest it for the cats. The cats are born with the ability to digest lactose, a primary sugar substance available in the milk. But this gets eroded as they grow up.
If you always get the creamier milk, then preferably provide them. But not every day. There is specially designed cat milk available in the market and also online. Look at the Cat-Sip Real Milk, which is made only for cats. Take a suggestion from the doctor and then give them.
Kinds of Milk
If you have decided to offer cats milk, there are numerous kinds of milk available. But are you sure you are serving the right one for your cats? Probably the below table will help you understand what happens to the cat when they are fed with the respective milk.
|Kinds of milk||Do cats prefer it?||What happens when you feed?|
|Cow Milk||Not really, but only in certain cases, when given twice a week.||Offer cats a very small quantity of cow’s milk because the fat and sugar content is higher than the preferred for the cats. |
Choose organic skim milk with 1% fat
Lactose-free cow’s milk is also available
They are cow’s milk substitutes in the market
|Raw Milk||Yes! Especially it is good for the health||If at all you have decided to offer raw milk to cats, then stick to it. |
Researchers say that unpasteurized milk has lesser negative impacts than any other type of milk.
|Pasteurized Milk||No. You should avoid the milk||The vets have found that there are abnormalities developed as the cats continue to have pasteurized milk. |
Skeletal development abnormalities and reproductive issues are commonly found.
|Sweet Condensed Milk||Worst milk to be fed to cats||Condensed milk is called evaporated milk. |
They have excessive carbohydrates & the cats face similar problems just to pasteurized milk.
|Soy Milk||No! not preferable||Soy Milk is derived from soybeans. |
Cats are carnivores; it is not preferred to offer them soybeans.
Cat’s digestive system can’t digest carbohydrate metabolizing enzymes to break down complex plant proteins.
Also, some breed of cats is allergic to soy.
|Almond Milk||Strictly no||People think it is good to be given to cats because almonds do not contain any lactose substance. |
It is toxic to all pets, especially cats.
They contain fat and oil that is not suitable for cats because 16 almonds are part of a half-gallon serving.
Causes diarrhea and vomiting
Leads to Pancreatitis
|Coconut Milk||Not a great option||Similar to almond milk, here coconut fiber and fat are not suitable for cats. Like soy milk, the plant proteins available in coconuts are not good for the cat’s digestive system. Therefore, the only way to offer cats coconuts should be in the form of coconut oil-cooked food. It will increase the antioxidant level.|
|Goat Milk||Comparatively Yes||If you have to choose between cow’s milk or goat’s milk, then prefer goat’s milk for the cats. It is rich in vitamins and minerals the same as cow’s milk. |
The lactose level is low & the taurine substance is present in them.
It helps in the absorption of iron and copper.
Cholesterol level is low
Given for weight gain purposes.
The above table gives us a figure that most of the milk types are suitable for cats. Therefore, vets and experts prefer to choose alternatives.
Can you feed the kittens with milk?
Now that it is one of the most critical questions people frequently ask. Ideally, the answer is yes! The mother usually feeds the kittens with milk. The mother cats are called Queens, and they tend to milk quite often during the initial stages. Hence the kittens do not look for any other alternative.
Cats require various types of nutrients essential for the body on a regular day. Just like how you feed other animals different food that contains vitamins, minerals, and proteins, even cats need them equally when they are little. The most important nutrients include Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Niacin, and other amino acids like Arginine and taurine.
Only when all of them are in equal proportion, the cat stays healthy. From birth, kittens do have them, but it starts depleting as they grow old.
For example, taurine helps in proper digestion, heart health, boosting the immune system, and good reproduction. But the lack of taurine results in poor eyesight, cataracts, abnormal growth in the kittens, and anorexia. Taurine and Arginine are the two most essential antibodies needed for cats. But they cannot synthesize themselves. Hence it needs to be acquired only by a diet provided to them.
The queen’s milk has all the required nutrients for the cats in the appropriate position. Hence no cow’s or goat’s milk can replace them. Therefore, even for kittens, it is not necessary to be fed with milk.
When do the kittens stop drinking milk?
Kittens drink the mother’s milk until they become four weeks old. It gradually slows down as the mother stops weaning. When the kittens become 8 to 10 weeks old, they typically start eating solid food. However, when the mother cat loses the ability to wean the milk, the kittens take time to process it. Thus, solid food and other beverages replace them. But once they are used to solid foods, they are unable to digest the lactose of the milk, which no longer comes from their mother. Even after growing, some cats do prefer milk only because they are similar to their mother’s milk, and it is an alternative.
Are cats Lactose Intolerant?
It is one of the reasons why cats are not advised to be fed milk. Just like humans, even cats can be lactose intolerant. The only difference is that almost all cats are lactose intolerant. It is mainly due to the fact that they don’t possess the enzymes that are needed to digest dairy products. It causes those painful cramps and especially diarrhea. When they consume it, the lactose sugar particle stays in the intestine left undigested by fermenting bacteria. The bacteria later pass to the bloodstream and end up in severe health problems for the cats. You can see that these reactions are happening after 8-12 hours of consuming milk. It is not only milk; the doctors prefer to keep the cats away from cheese and any other products for that matter.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I feed my cats instead of milk?
Every species in the world needs water. Cats don’t always drink water if you carefully observe. From the fourth week of the kitten, start practicing them by giving them water. Most cats become lazy and sober because they get dehydrated quite often. Especially if you are training them with dry food, they will not be consuming water in any form. Therefore, water should be the best alternative. Whether they like it or not, always feed food along with water only.
Is it okay to pour milk into the food?
It may seemingly be a good idea, but it is not even close to keeping them healthy. The cats are not accustomed to digesting liquid and solid at the same time. Just because you want to train them with solid food does not pour milk on them. It will cause severe GI problems in them.
How do avoid the milk being fed to cats?
Now we do not encourage avoiding milk from the diet altogether. Of course! They must intake a certain amount of milk minerals. But unless they are specially made for cats, there is no point. Look at the delights available like Solid Gold’s Holistic Delight which has a creamy flavor along with the chicken liver pieces. Go for such creamy alternatives for the cats, and they are going to be in love with it. However, never put them into practice or make it a routine for them to follow.
Just because you saw in the TV commercial that cats are healthy because of the milk, it does not prove it right. No cats gain anything nutritionally from the milk. A well-balanced diet must be able to offer different nutrients and antibodies, as mentioned in the article. Always keep an eye on the products and consult your vet before you choose an alternate for the milk or the wet foods that have milk flavor. If your cats have reached adulthood and still consume or crave the milk is because they associate it with the positive memories of the mother. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the cat owners to provide alternate food or train them without being fed milk.