Should You Let Your Cat Drink Milk?

cat drinking milk

Many people believe that you should not give cow's milk to cats, despite that some cats seem to really enjoy it.

The reason for this is that drinking cow's milk causes diarrhea in some cats. This is because some cats, like people, are lactose intolerant. What this means is that some cats lack the enzyme lactase that breaks down the milk sugar lactose. If your cat lacks this enzyme then drinking cow's milk will most likely give your cat gas, diarrhea, or loose stools.

How do you know if your cat is lactose intolerant? Unfortunately you won't know unless you give your cat a little milk and see what happens. I wouldn't recommend giving your cat a lot of milk until you find out. In fact, even if your cat seems to have no problems digesting cow's milk I still wouldn't recommend giving your cat cow's milk in large quantities.

I've had cats for over 25 years and I've found that their ability to digest cow's milk without problems really varies from cat to cat. Some cats have no problems with it and some cats do.

If milk doesn't give your cat diarrhea then it shouldn't hurt to give your cat a little milk from time to time. Remember that milk that sits out spoils quickly and so you should get rid of any milk that your cat doesn't drink within 20 minutes or so. Keep in mind that cats can survive perfectly fine without cow's milk in their diet. However, some cats seem to insist that they are given some.

If your cat can't drink milk without developing digestive disturbances, but he or she keeps asking for milk, there are some milk products made specifically for cats that won't upset their stomach. A lot of people have had good luck with Catsip. It is a milk product for cats that is lactose free so that your cat can digest it without problems. There is also another product, Whiskas cat milk (it is 98% lactose free), however, my cats didn't seem to like it all that much (but your cat might since every cat is different).

If you are trying to feed newborn kittens don't give them cow's milk. There are other specially formulated products for them to replace their mother's milk (if the need arises).