Do Cats Really Like Milk?

Do Cats Really Like Milk?

The image of a cat dipping its tongue into a bowl of milk looks so appropriate that we have never stopped to question the legitimacy of the same. Who doesn’t want to see a cute kitten lap up lots of fat-heavy cow’s milk? The truth is, and what most vets also advocate- milk in general and cow’s milk specifically is bad for your cat. Cats are actually lactose intolerant, meaning they cannot digest lactose, which is present in most milk products. This can cause diarrhoea and an upset stomach. 

Most milk products contain lactose, a milk sugar, and the enzyme lactase is needed to digest the same. Now when mammals are babies, they have plenty of this enzyme, which helps them digest their mother’s milk. But as they grow older, lactase production reduces, and this causes lactose intolerance. The most common sign of this is an upset stomach which should ideally manifest within eight to twelve hours. As opposed to common belief, there is actually no extra benefit to giving your cat milk. This may seem counterintuitive, but milk will do them more harm than good. Even other treats like tuna, cheese or meat should not be more than 5-10% of their diet. Instead, they should be fed high-quality cat food and other pet supplements to boost their immunity. If your cat still likes milk, you can always feed them milk replacers made specifically for cats and kittens. In fact, other milk products like yoghurt and cheese might be easier to digest for your cat since the lactose levels in them are different. But even then, such food adds no nutritional value and is only for taste. 

So what can your cat drink instead? Water is the answer to all problems. They need water before anything else. Giving your cat lots of water helps in various ways like regulating body temperature, better digestion of food, lubricating tissue etc. All these lead to better gut health for your cat without any side effects. Even pet supplements cannot replace the benefits that water provides. Keep several bowls around the house to encourage your feline to consume more water. In addition, they need exercise to keep healthy. There are lots of fun games that you can play with your cat to make it exercise and run around the house.

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