Are Cats Lactose Intolerant?
I’ll probably be the ‘crazy cat lady’ people avoid in the future because of my love for cats. Even now, I have 4 lovely (devil-ish) cats at home. Their presence brings so much joy to our family. When my brother’s girlfriend bought one of the cats over to her place for 2 weeks, our home became awfully quiet. Cats are important to me and my family.
So, it was a surprise to me when I found out that most cats are actually lactose intolerant. I found that out the hard way when I gave my cat milk, and she had diarrhoea. I think cartoons create that perspective that milk is good for cats but in reality, milk can be dangerous.
What is “lactose intolerance’?
Basically, it means that the individual is incapable of digesting lactose – a form of sugar –in milk. This is caused by the body’s inability to produce lactase. Not only cats; humans can be lactose intolerant too!
When a cat that is lactose intolerant drinks normal cow milk, it will not be able to digest the lactose and cause complications. The cat may experience tummy upset, and diarrhoea. It can even start vomiting.
Sounds serious? As a cat lover, yes I was afraid as well. So, after learning about the interesting fact, I gave my other cats milk bit by bit to test their milk tolerance.
Not all cats are lactose intolerant. 3 out of my 4 cats aren’t. However, if you do decide to give milk to your cat and it happens to fall sick, bring it to the vet. You wouldn’t want your kitty to be uncomfortable and you might never know the seriousness of its pain.
What about kittens? Don’t they drink milk?
Kittens are born with the ability to digest lactose. Hence, they are able to consume milk just fine. Only as they grow older, does this ability weakens. This is common throughout all types of baby animals and human.
It will be best if they have their mother to feed them as it is natural to them and creates a bond. In fact, 2 out of my 4 cats had the privilege of drinking milk from their mom. For those that do not have the mom’s milk, it is advisable to feed with milk replacer that is specially formulated for kittens. If you are uncertain, you can ask your local vet or pet stores for advice. For my kitten, it came in powder form.
Can adult cats drink milk?
If you know that your cats are not lactose intolerant, go ahead! However, you have to find milk that is meant for cats. Also, it is not a must for cats’ diet to drink milk so give it to them as a treat. However, ensure that your cat has a bowl of water alongside milk. That’s more important.