Is Milk Bad For Cats? Are They Lactose Intolerant? Or Is It Good To Give To My Cat Or Kitten?

You see it in the movies. You’ve probably read about it in books. Cats love milk. Right?

Welllll…some might love milk, but that doesn’t mean it’s great for them.

Cats are mammals. But the milk produced by a pregnant cat has nothing to do with the regular milk found in your fridge.

Newborn kittens need milk, that’s true.

It’s their only source of nutrition while they’re babies.

However, after weaning, their bodies adapt to regular cat food (protein heavy stuff), which helps them grow into healthy adults. They no longer need milk at that stage of growth and it could even hurt them.

Wait, so is milk bad for cats?

It’s not poisonous, but yes, milk can be bad for cats and can cause severe complications in your kitty’s digestive system. 

On the other hand, it also has some benefits.

Nevertheless, it shouldn’t be a primary feature of your cat’s diet.

Why Is Milk Bad For Cats? Are They Lactose Intolerant?

It’s not bad for all cats or when served on rare occasions. Rare meaning NOT as a substitute for water on a daily basis!

Most cats are rather lactose intolerant. This means that cats lack the lactase enzyme which helps them break down the lactose found in milk and other dairy products such as cheese and butter.

A lactose intolerant cat cannot digest the lactose properly. This results in a number of complications and symptoms, including:

  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Indigestion
  • Gas
  • Stomach pains

While gases can be caused by almost everything your cat swallows, including air, the rest of the complications will be rather painful and unhealthy for the kitty. Diarrhea and dehydration can lead to severe problems and even death when it comes to young or newborn kittens.

The lactase enzyme grows weaker in felines as they grow up. Small amounts of milk won’t hurt some cats, but will have negative consequences for most felines.

When Is Milk Good For Cats?

Milk is packed with various vitamins and minerals that are just as essential for cats as they are for human beings. But while your kitty definitely needs such ingredients, it’s better to get them from other sources.

For example, you can either use a specialized milk replacement or another type of milk which is less dangerous for your cat.

Soy milk and lactose-free cow milk might be good options. Unfortunately, they can’t guarantee that your pet won’t experience any nasty consequences, so it’s usually not worth it.

Should I Give Milk To My Cat?

Why go to the trouble when there’s a high likelihood it’ll harm your cat?

If your furball happens to be lactose tolerant, it’s safe to treat it with some milk. But you’re looking for a healthy treat, you should opt for actual cat treats. Such products are specifically manufactured to meet a felines dietary needs.

Dairy products and human foods in general aren’t sufficient enough to provide a healthy cat diet. You should always stick to high quality cat food when it comes to feeding your fluffy pal, regardless of its breed or age.

If you still wish to treat your kitty with milk, you should opt for specialized pet-friendly products.

Milk Replacement Options For Kittens

KMR Kitten Milk Replacer

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KMR is one such product. It’s manufactured to serve as a milk replacer for young or newborn kittens aged up to six weeks.

The special formula is similar to a mother’s milk in terms of calories, fat, protein, and carbohydrates. It’s formulated to be easy on kitty’s digestive system and offers a sufficient amount of vitamins and minerals to help your pet grow and thrive into a healthy adult cat.

The powdered milk lacks harmful preservatives and is easy to mix with water. It’s ideal for adopted kittens without a mom which still need to nurse.

KMR comes in a 12-oz package and is currently a top best-selling milk replacer on Amazon. It’s not only healthy and efficient, but also won’t break your wallet. You can get the 12-oz package for less than $20 and it can produce approximately 60-oz of liquids for your cat after being mixed with water.

If you’re in need of milk replacer for your new baby kitten, this is definitely the best choice on the market in terms of price and efficiency.

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Our feline furballs have various ways of manipulating us into catering to their whims. However, it’s best not to spoil your pet with milk.

High quality cat food items are already packed with more than enough vitamins and essential ingredients to nurture your cat. Your safest bet is to opt for reputable brands and to mix dry and wet canned food every now and then, instead of using human foods like milk.

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Emily Parker

Emily Parker is the Content Manager at Catological. She's passionate about helping cat parents love their cats better by providing the best information and recommendations about everything you'll need to know about your cat, from kitten to senior years. She believes natural, biologically-appropriate products are best...why wouldn't you provide the best for a member of your family?!

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