Most cats out there are quite finicky when it comes to the things they eat. Then there are also those types of cats who will gulp down anything in sight in no time.
Is Yogurt Safe For Cats?
Most cats are lactose intolerant, which means they should not eat dairy, including yogurt.
Cats should also be fed a diet high in meat, and low in pretty much everything else. Since yogurt is clearly not meat, cats have no real need for it, and therefore shouldn't eat it regularly.
However, greek yogurt does not contain as much of the whey as other dairy products, meaning it is low in lactose. Lactose is the sugar in milk that cats can't digest (since they don't produce the enzyme lactase). Make sure you don't feed them sugary flavored yogurts, but occasional treats of greek yogurt may not hurt.
Regardless of whatever it is, if it looks and smells appealing enough for them, they’ll try to taste it.
Sometimes felines are also encouraged to try out something that’s far from cat food by their pet parents. Unfortunately, cat parents don’t always know what’s good for their pets either.
Besides, let’s face it – we all love spoiling our fluffy pals, even when we know we shouldn’t be doing it!
So, it comes only natural to ask yourself if it’s okay for you to feed your cat human food, especially if it’s tasty and healthy. And one particularly tasty and healthy food item is yogurt.
So, Can Cats Eat Yogurt?
Cats can basically eat anything. If you rub tuna or salmon onto a cardboard box, most cats will try to eat the cardboard. So, physically they can eat yogurt.
And due to its creamy texture, appealing odor and delicious taste, most felines will actually want to eat it. But is it good for them?
As noted above, it’s generally not good for cats. Yogurt is a dairy product. You might not know this, but dairy products aren’t healthy for a feline’s digestive system. They can lead to uncomfortable digestive problems.
Newborn kittens survive on the nutritional values of milk. But as they grow up, they also grow intolerant of the lactose in milk and in various other dairy products.
However, greek or “plain” yogurt usually doesn’t have the amount of whey as other milk products, meaning there’s not much lactose in it. Therefore, it shouldn’t cause belly upset.
Yogurt contains a vast variety of “good” bacteria and probiotics and its nutritional values are quite different from the ones of milk. Felines can eat yogurt, but not all felines can digest it properly. What’s more, they can only eat certain types of yogurt – not those fruity products on the shelves of your local supermarket.
When Is It Okay For Cats To Eat Yogurt?
Cats are carnivorous by default. They need the nutrition in meat products more than they need dairy or vegetable-based nutrients. That’s why high quality cat food is mainly based on meat, while offering some other healthy ingredients.
It’s technically “alright” for kittens, adult cats and seniors to eat yogurt without any artificial sweeteners. Plain, live culture yogurt, for example, is perfectly safe and healthy for felines of all ages, excepting the lactose intolerance, and may have a few benefits.
The healthy bacteria and probiotic cultures, Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium and other similar ingredients found in yogurt are beneficial for cats just as they are for us, human beings, and can help to maintain a healthy immune system.
However, felines can get these things from any well-balanced cat food. Furthermore, there’s already a plethora of commercially available cat vitamins and supplements on the market. There’s no need to use yogurt as a supplement.
If you decide to give a spoonful of yogurt (natural, unsweetened yogurt) to your furball, it may provide a little in the way of health benefits from a little from it, unless it has a troubled digestive system.
When Is Yogurt Bad For Cats?
You shouldn’t give yogurt to lactose intolerant felines – and most adult cats are indeed lactose intolerant. It also shouldn’t be given as a regular dietary supplement, nor should it serve as actual food.
Those delicious, fruit-flavored, nut-filled yogurts from your supermarket are a total taboo!
A cat’s body cannot process sweet (whether from natural sugars or artificial sweeteners) the way a human’s organism can. So, as healthy as that bowl of sweetened, flavored yogurt is for you, even small amounts of it can harm your cat.
A cat might also be allergic to the milk products, as discussed, and have an allergic reaction.
Symptoms Of Eating Yogurt: What Can It Do To Your Cat?
Allowing the kitty to lick the spoon or your yogurt-dipped finger won’t be fatal, regardless of your pet’s breed. However, even all-natural yogurt can trigger nasty side effects, the most common of which are:
- Stomach pains
Felines have sensitive stomachs by default. A one-time case of vomiting may not sound like a severe health disorder. But that doesn’t mean that your beloved furball isn’t in a lot of pain while trying to vomit the things it cannot digest.
Moreover, all those inactive ingredients, artificial emulsifiers and other chemicals in the store-bought yogurt can lead to various secondary issues affecting your pet’s overall health.
Just like you shouldn’t eat cat food, the food items manufactured for human consumers shouldn’t be given to cats.
If the kitty accidentally manages to swallow some yogurt, there’s no need to alarm your vet. However, including yogurt in the cat’s diet or feeding it as a supplement/ snack every now and then isn’t healthy. Stick to high quality cat food, certified supplements manufactured specifically for felines, and tasty cat treats.
Spoiling the kitty with table scraps poses harm to its physical health and can also affect its overall behavior. If you wish to treat it, just focus on high quality food items manufactured for cats. Don’t experiment with foods for humans.