Myth Check: Is Milk Actually Really Good for Cats?

There is a persistent rumor that milk is good for cats. But is that also true? The answer should surprise many cat owners. PetReader reveals what is behind the myth of the milk-loving kitty.
Should Cats Drink Milk? The answer – perhaps surprising for many – is: No! Because when they’re no longer kittens, most cats become lactose intolerant. If they then eat milk or dairy products, they can vomit and develop diarrhea. And that’s what you want your cat – and you! – save safely.
Like almost all mammals, cats only drink milk as babies. The only exception is humans, who still drink milk in adulthood, albeit from a different species.

Although kittens can tolerate cow’s milk, animal rights activists advise against feeding your kitten it. Whenever possible, kittens should only drink their mother’s milk. Alternatively, you can use replacement milk that you can obtain from the vet.

Cats are Lactose Intolerant

The reason for the intolerance? When mammals are babies, there is a special enzyme in their stomach that makes milk solid. “This is how your digestive tract gets used to digesting solid food,” explains veterinarian Dr. John Sangiorgio opposite “The Dodo”.

The enzyme is no longer produced shortly after birth, which is why most mammals later become lactose intolerant. “If a cat continues to drink milk, it will have loose stools and eventually diarrhea.”

Then why does the rumor that milk is good for cats to get so persistent? Maybe because we still see cats getting milk in many films. At some point the idea that milk is good for kitties probably just burned into our brains. After all, you know better now – and in the future, you can simply give your cat water when you want him to drink something.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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