Can cats drink milk?

A very common pet myth among owners is that milk is good for cats. Read on to find out whether your cat should be drinking milk.

Can cats drink milk?

‘Can cats drink milk’ is a common question among cat owners

Giving a cat a saucer of milk (or cream) has long been a typical image associated with owning both indoor and outdoor cats. But can cats drink milk, and should it be added to their diet alongside conventional cat food?

The truth is that very soon after birth, cats no longer need milk as part of their diet. After weaning, a cat’s ability to to digest lactose (the sugar in milk) decreases, and cats can even become intolerant to milk (similar to humans), which can result in diarrhoea and an upset stomach. Although the milk in itself isn’t harmful, cats can quickly become dehydrated, which poses a very serious health risk.

Your Cat features an article on the subject:

Fresh, clean water is actually all cats will ever need – read our advice if your cat doesn’t seem to drink enough water. If you do wish to give your cats milk, then you can buy lactose-free cat milk (lactose is the sugar found in milk) from your pet food store, vets or supermarket, but it’s not essential. Indeed, some cats will not drink milk at all.

However, there is specially formulated milk available to buy for cats, which has the lactose removed during production.

We’ve found that a benefit of this is to actually encourage our cats to take on more fluids. Our male cat in particular is very lazy when it comes to drinking water (even from his very own water fountain), and so we tend to mix in some Whiskas Cat Milk with a dash of water in between meals.

Cat milk is very fatty, so we’d advise against using this regularly, but as a treat it’s a great way of keeping your cat hydrated.

Do you give your cat milk? Do you have a favourite brand? Let us know in the comments.


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