Many people feed cats with milk, especially for young kittens. It seems like a no brainer to match cats with milk, but have you thought about what types of milk you are giving?
There are so many milk options in the market, including regular milk, lactose free milk, almond milk and so on.
Drinking lactose free milk is gaining popularity among humans and you may want to feed your kitties with some lactose free milk. In fact, it’s not a good idea and here’s why.
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Can Cats Drink Lactose Free Milk?
Cats’ milk tolerance
Can kittns drink lactose free milk? Similar to humans, some cats are fine with drinking milk. But do be aware. Others could be lactose intolerant.
When cats are young, they usually drink milk from their mothers because that milk is naturally made to meet the young kitties’ nutritional needs. That milk is also better for young kitties to digest.
Once the cats are grown, they will gradually lose the tolerance for milk. The lactose in milk, which is a form of sugar, will turn harder and get difficult to process in the cats’ digestive system.
The milk available in the market are mostly cow milk. You might not know but cats’ digestive system are not made for digesting cow’s milk. Humans can drink cow milk because the practice has been adopted for many generation. But still, some people cannot take it.
For cats, they have less experience of using cow’s milk than humans.
Symptoms caused by drinking milk
Many symptoms will show after your cats drink milk. You may notice that your cats might be vomiting, diarrhea or have discomfort in the stomach. These reactions are quite similar to human’s reaction for lactose intolerance. Some cats might also become gassy and have soft stool.
Lactose free milk
A good liquid treating option for your cat is lactose-free milk. You can find them both in grocery stores or the pet stores.
This milk has been specially treated and lactose enzymes are added to remove the lactose, so that the milk is safe for your cats and will not cause any discomfort.
Other types of milk
Apart from lactose free milk, you may consider getting other milk options for your kitties, such as almond milk and soy milk.
It might work for humans who have lactose intolerance, but you have to make your choice wisely.
The digestive systems in cats do not contain carbohydrate-metabolizing enzymes to digest the plant-based protein in soy, so cats will not be able to tolerate soy milk.
A half gallon of almond milk contains about 16 serves of almonds.
Almonds could be dangerous to your cats even though it is not considered poisonous. The high oils and fats content in almond may cause diarrhea and vomiting among cats. Also, when a cat eats almonds, it may result in pancreatitis.
Another possible option you can consider would be raw, unpasteurized milk because there are fewer negative impacts on cats when comparing to other types of milk.
Goat’s milk contains a lot of mineral and vitamin, which is similar to cow’s milk.
The good news is that goat’s milk has a lower lactose level than the cows, so if your cat can take milk, goat’s milk might work.
Some research also found that goat’s milk is more digestible than cow’s milk. It does not only allow a better absorption of iron and copper, it can also lower cholesterol level.
Feeding pasteurized milk to your cat is not a good idea because it may cause reproductive issues, skeletal abnormalities and developmental deficiencies.
Both condensed and evaporated milk are bad for your cats. Similar to the pasteurized milk, there are a lot of excessive carbohydrates in these milks.
Similar to almonds, coconuts contains a high oil and fat content as well. Coconuts are known as drupes or stone fruits, which have similar properties to nuts and fruits.
While coconut is a plant, it makes sense to think that cat will not be able to digest to plant protein in coconut milk; however, some research found that coconut milk is effective in protecting rats from ulcers.
Further, the coconut milk can also increase the antioxidant level of the rats. Given rats and cats are found to have a similar digestive system, cats might be able to take coconut milk.
Some experts believe that cats might be able to benefit from coconut oil instead of coconut milk since coconut oil is found to be effective in increasing the antioxidant level in rats.
The benefits of milk
Even though some cats might be able to handle milk, you might want to think twice before you feed milk to your cats.
Feeding dairy products to your cats may cause the development of gastrointestinal disease, causing symptoms such as vomiting, gassiness, soft stool, diarrhea and upset stomach.
Milk is not an ideal food for cats because it does not provide them with all the nutrition they need. Worst still, it dilutes the nutrition provided by other food source.
I know you probably have good intentions and you’ll be shocked to know this. But milk, in fact, seems more like junk food instead of a healthy option. There is research showing that feeding milk to cats in the long-run has negative effects. It can affect your cats’ longevity, reproduction, growth and bone structure.
Cats actually do not get enough water for their health. Instead of feeding your cats with milk, try to give them more water.
Although your cats may not like to get close with water and they do not like bath, you can make drinking water more fun by getting them a drinking fountain.
Once you plug in the device, your cats will enjoy drinking from moving water.
In conclusion, your cats does not need lactose free milk and they don’t even need milk. What they need the most is water.
If you really want to feed your cats with milk, then you will need to get them the lactose free milk. Alternatively, you may want to consider using the money for lactose free milk to get high quality cat food for your kitties. Those good quality