While many of us believe that milk is every cat’s favorite, this
may not be the case. Those cute pictures of cute kittens lapping
up a bowl of milk may not be applicable to every cat. Why?
Because as it turns out, cats cannot digest milk properly without
getting sick, and some cats have it worse, as they are lactose
intolerant.The standard cow milk that we drink has way too much
lactose – often too much for cats to be able to digest. To some
degree, most adult mammals are all lactose intolerant, including
our feline friends. The body produces an enzyme called “lactase”
that can help digest the lactose that is ingested. But after
weaning, which is when breast-feeding stops and food from other
sources is ingested, the amount of these lactase enzymes reduces,
making it difficult to digest lactose.All these mean that cat’s
bodies are biologically not equipped to be able to handle any
kind of lactose. Lactose is basically sugar, and since undigested
sugar attracts water in the intestine, it leads to diarrhea. Your
cat may even experience flatulence and bloating as undigested
sugar also gets fermented in the stomach.
Is milk nutritious for cats?
Even though milk may be healthy for humans, for cats, it does not
provide any nutrition that cannot be gained from a commercial
diet that is well-balanced. Milk is pretty rich in calories. A
cup of whole milk contains about 149 calories, while a cup of
skim milk contains around 83 calories.So, it’s much healthier if
you occasionally feed your cat some milk, instead of including it
in their everyday diet. It is recommended that cats are fed just
20 to 30 calories every day apart from their usual commercial
diet. This may include commercial treats or human foods which are
safe for them.If your cat takes in too much of these foods,
essential nutrients from its main diet, which it needs to grow
and develop can be diluted out. If it becomes a habit, it can
even lead to obesity – a huge problem that pet owners and vets
Will drinking milk reduce my cat’s water intake?
If you are a cat owner, you may have noticed that your pet tends
to avoid water – whether it’s for a bath or for drinking. This is
because unlike dogs, cats do not have the natural instinct to
balance their water level, making it quite the task to get them
to stay hydrated.As a solution, vets recommend that you feed them
supplemented milk or wet food as an attempt to get them to drink.
For this, cows’ milk that is lactose reduced is a good option as
it is almost 89 percent water. Even if you feed your cat this,
always make sure there is a fresh bowl of water that is easily
Are you pondering what can happen to dogs with milk? Don't worry
we have got you covered. head over tp the next section to know
Is Milk Good For Dogs
There is a belief that meat and bones should be fed to dogs,
whilst milk should be given to cats. So is milk really suitable
How essential is Milk?
At a universal level no mammal in nature after weaning, consume
milk. Thus it can be safely concluded that the same is applicable
to dogs too and that milk is not an essential food for them.
Looking positively at milk, it cannot be denied that milk is a
good source of nutrients containing proteins, calcium and
vitamins D and B12. But such nutrients are also available in
regular dog food anyways. The best milk for dogs is goat or
sheep's milk. Goat’s milk has a substantially lesser amount of
lactose than cow’s milk, with much more calcium. And
surprisingly, it is also tastier than cow’s milk. Besides, it is
rich in vitamins B, D, K and E.
Can dogs handle Milk?
There seems to be no definite answer to this as some dogs do not
digest milk and dairy products easily, which give them intestinal
problems like gas, abdominal pain, loose stools, vomiting, and
diarrhea. A specific nutrient in milk known as lactose is
responsible for this. Most dogs are not lactose intolerant.
However, it is very rare to find a dog that can't handle a little
bit of milk. This does not apply universally. A few dogs can
easily digest an entire bowl of milk without the slightest trace
of indigestion, whilst for other dogs, a small cheddar piece can
have disastrous results on the digestive system.
Lactose and Lactase
So what exactly is lactose? Lactose is a kind of sugar, with two
sugar molecules closely linked together. This lactose needs to be
broken up into two basic easy-to-absorb sugars, which is possible
if a dog’s body is able to produce lactose splitting enzyme
called lactase. This enzyme is not common in dogs and the same
with humans, thus we have lactose intolerant human beings too. A
small taste of cow’s milk can contain more lactose than can be
handled by a dog’s digestive tract, so a pup fed on dog’s milk
has better chances of digestion. Besides canine milk is
completely different from cow’s milk. The good news is that not
all dairy products contain the same amount of lactose.
Not different from
As age advances, similar to humans, dogs lose their ability to
digest lactose, due to decreased production of lactase by the
body. Thus dogs and humans show similar traits to lactose
intolerance. And for both species, a lot depends on the
individual and the specific kind of milk under consumption.