Milk, Dairy, and Our Cats

It’s quite easy to picture a cat lapping up milk from a saucer. You may be surprised to learn that cats and dairy products don’t mix! Here, your Westlake Village, CA veterinarian elaborates.

Why Can’t Cats Have Milk?

The vast majority of adult cats are lactose-intolerant. This is the same condition that affects many humans; it means that a cat doesn’t possess enough lactase in the digestive system to digest lactose, the primary enzyme found in milk. Consuming too much dairy will likely result in an upset stomach, vomiting, or diarrhea.

How About Kittens?

Yes, kittens do drink their mother’s milk while nursing. This is the only time that a cat needs milk as a nutritional necessity. As cats age, they produce less lactase and become lactose-intolerant over time.

Is Any Dairy Safe?

Since other dairy products like yogurt and cheese have less lactose than milk, they’re not as likely to cause symptoms in cats. However, no dairy product is a nutritional requirement. You’re better off sticking to your cat’s normal diet and treats!

Do you have questions about your cat’s diet? Need a recommendation on a high-quality food to give your pet? Call your animal hospital Westlake Village, CA.