Cats and Dairy Foods

It’s easy to picture a cat lapping up milk from a saucer; for whatever reason, cats and milk just seem to go together! Surprisingly, the two actually don’t mix very well. Learn more below from a vet in San Jose, CA.

Why Can’t Cats Drink Milk?

Most adult cats are lactose-intolerant, just like humans can be. This means that the cat doesn’t possess enough lactase in the gut to digest lactose, the primary enzyme of milk and dairy. Too much milk will likely result in an upset stomach, diarrhea, or vomiting.

What About Kittens?

Kittens do drink their mother’s milk while nursing, yes. This is the only time that a cat needs milk in the diet, though—as a cat grows, they produce less lactase and gradually become lactose-intolerant in most cases.

Is Any Dairy Acceptable?

While other dairy products, like yogurt or cheese, contain less lactase than milk, they’re still not nutritionally necessary. If you must give these foods to your cat, keep the portions very small so as not to cause your cat any harm.

Do you have further questions about your feline friend’s diet and nutritional requirements? Contact your veterinary clinic San Jose, CA.