Cats like milk. However, for many years, the web has hammered that this product is not good for the health of felines. What is it really?
Milk for cats: neither good nor bad
The cat is a 100% carnivorous animal. In the wild, it feeds mainly on rodents and other small prey. Once domesticated, it switched to a richer diet, containing in particular lipids and especially proteins which are essential for hair, muscles and skin. In principle, cats only consume mash or kibble. All of this is completed with good water-based hydration.
But it is true that some cats like milk. And the vets are clear on this, there is no reason not to give milk to the cat, provided of course that the latter does not show intolerance to milk proteins or does not have allergies. So, yes, milk is allowed, but in limited quantities. Any excess can lead to health problems. Specialists recommend a maximum of 40 ml per day, which will prevent possible digestive disorders. Note that on the market, it is possible to find lactose-free milk specially developed for intolerant cats. We must remain vigilant on these very marketing products, because some are still composed of cow’s milk, of course, in small quantities, but this can have an impact on the health of the animal.
Symptoms of possible intolerance
If some cats have difficulty digesting milk, it is mainly due to the enzyme lactase which is no longer secreted in large quantities, especially in adulthood. However, this enzyme is essential in the assimilation of milk. When the kitten is weaned, that is to say that it hardly consumes any breast milk, but has switched to a solid diet, the animal hardly produces any more. He will then have great difficulty digesting the milk. Several symptoms appear in this case: diarrhea, stomach aches or vomiting. On the other hand, if the cat has always consumed milk without showing any health problems and begins to have diarrhea, this may be due to another disorder that will have to be found.
It is even possible to give cats fermented milk products. Their advantage is that they contain a limited amount of lactose. In principle, felines tolerate them as long as they do not have an allergy to milk proteins. Yogurt will be more advisable than cheeses which are too high in calories and which risk causing overweight.
And the kittens?
For orphaned kittens who cannot benefit from breast milk, milk from cows, goats, sheep or other ruminants is prohibited, as these milks do not contain enough lipids, proteins and minerals compared to milk of pussy. It is best to opt for formula milk available from veterinarians and formulated to be adapted to the nutritional needs of the little ones.