If you would like to know whether you should give your cat milk you need to learn a few facts about milk and how cats react to it. Felines can drink cat milk, however, when it comes to cow milk, you need to consider a few factors.
Cow Milk and Cats
Cats drink only milk while they are nursing, but this is cat milk and is different from cow milk. Cat milk contains a lot of protein and fats and it offers the kittens the antibodies that are needed to fight viruses and diseases during the first few weeks of living, before they get vaccines.
Cow milk contains lactose and there are a lot of cats that are lactose intolerant. Cat milk contains lactose also, but the lactose intolerance is developed only after the age of 3 months, so the kitten can drink cat milk without problems.
Cats will lactose intolerance may develop rashes and different reactions that can include vomiting and diarrhea.
If you notice any of these symptoms in your cat after feeding him cow milk, you should stop giving him milk. Some experts say that giving cream to cats may be more recommended, as cream contains less lactose than regular or skimmed milk.
Otherwise, if the cat has no negative reactions to milk, you can give your pet milk.
Lactose Free Milk
In case you would like to feed your cat milk, there are a few lactose free formulas, specially created for cats.
Cats and kittens like to drink milk, so you may consider getting lactose free milk for your pet in case he is allergic to lactose.
Is Milk Essential?
Cat milk is essential for the kittens during the first weeks; however, if you get your pet when he is only a few days old and the mother is not present, you may feed him special formula milk for kittens.
Cow milk is not essential for the cat’s diet. Cats may live without ever drinking cow milk. Milk contains calcium, which is healthy for the bones and teeth; but calcium may be found in commercial food as well, so milk is only a calcium supplement.
However, milk shouldn’t be considered as a primary food source for cats; even if you feed your cat with milk, this should be in addition to his regular diet. Cats are carnivores and they need a diet that is based on proteins and fats. Milk alone cannot provide the essential nutrients for a cat and a diet based on milk may cause health problems.
Also remember that if you give your cat milk, this shouldn’t be a substitute for water; make sure you provide a bowl of fresh water also to prevent dehydration.
Consequently, you can give your cat milk provided he is not lactose intolerant. Milk is not an essential food in a cat’s diet, so your cat can be healthy even without drinking milk.