There is some serious debate surrounding cats and their relationship with dairy products. It’s common for people to feed their cat a little milk but are we sure it’s actually good for them? And, if they drink milk, can cats eat cheese?
Well, despite popular belief, the majority of cats are either lactose intolerant or allergic to dairy altogether, causing havoc on their digestive system. In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at the relationship between cats and milk products.
Can Cats Eat Cheese?
So, can cats eat cheese? Well, technically yes but it’s not recommended. In fact, if you are going to feed your cat cheese or any other dairy product for that matter, you should do it in moderation. Keep this tasty treat for when you need them to swallow a pill, for example. You should avoid making it a daily or even a weekly snack.
Can Cats Drink Milk?
Another common question is can cats drink milk? Well, the same answer applies to all dairy products. As humans, the majority of us naturally produce the enzyme lactase which helps us break down and digest dairy products.
Kittens produce more lactase than adult cats as they need it to drink milk from their mother’s teet. Unfortunately, once they stop weaning, their lactase production decreases significantly meaning their ability to digest milk is long gone.
Are Cats Lactose Intolerant?
When humans don’t produce enough lactase enzyme, we also fall under the lactose intolerant category. With this in mind, it makes complete sense for cats to be put in the same category. As cats are also intolerant or allergic to dairy, they may experience some or all of the following symptoms:
- Hair loss
- Skin conditions
If your cat experiences any of the symptoms listed above make sure to take them to your local vet for a check-up. Long-term ingestion of lactose products could lead to further issues with their immune system.
What About Non-Dairy Alternatives?
Today, there are hundreds of dairy-free alternatives that still come from cows. If you have a lactose intolerance but can eat lactose-free cheese you may be wondering if your kitty can too, right? Well, technically yes but (and this is a big but!) cheese also has a lot of fat and salt in it.
Our much larger and more robust systems are equipped to break these down, transporting them through the body and expelling them at a later time. With cats, on the other hand, this high fat and salt content can be a serious shock to their system. In fact, it may hinder your cat’s growth and development in the long run.
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