Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Do Cats Need to Drink Milk?

Has anyone ever said to you “you look like the cat that got the cream” when you are feeling smug and happy about something? Well you may be surprised to know that in reality the cat that gets the cream is not always a particularly happy one.

I am not altogether sure where the association between a cat and a saucer of milk comes from – perhaps it is a myth that was created by various cartoon cat creators over the years. What I do know is that many cat owners believe they are giving their pet a treat by offering them a saucer of milk or cream to drink when in fact, the reverse is true.

Whilst some cats do enjoy the taste of cow’s milk, it is certainly not a dietary requirement and offers no nutritional value for a cat. If he drinks too much milk it could actually stop your cat from eating all the meaty stuff that is good for him, resulting in him being malnourished. 

Furthermore, giving your cat milk to drink on a regular basis can actually cause him to have a constant upset stomach. The reason for this is because most cats are unable to digest lactose - a type of sugar found in cows milk.

The only kind of milk a cat ever actually needs is his mother’s milk when he is a kitten. From when he is weaned onwards his life would not be adversely affected if he never drank another drop of milk again.

If you’re not convinced by all the evidence and you still feel you want to give your cat milk to drink there are specially formulated cat milks you can buy from pet stores and some supermarkets but even these should be given sparingly and they do not act as a substitute for good quality cat food and a bowl of fresh drinking water.

My personal opinion is that it’s best not to offer your cat milk to drink in the first place. There are plenty of other ways you can give your cat a little treat that will not result in him suffering from digestive problems afterwards. In my experience a handful of freshly cooked fish or chicken pieces never fail to tick the right boxes!

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post! I’m glad more people are starting rethink this old feeding habit.

    KMR (kitten milk replacer) is great for stray, motherless kittens who are not yet weened. Like all baby mammals, kittens rely on their mother’s milk for growth and essential antibodies to protect them from illness and disease.

    Instead of spending time trying to find a suitable form of milk for your adult cat, consider the fact that water is *hands down* the best liquid your cat can be drinking… especially for cats condemned to a life of eating only dry cat food. Just by adding some water to your cat’s food for every meal, you may be saving them from future urinary infections and even kidney disease.

    Here’s more in a blog post I recently put together about offering milk to cats: http://bit.ly/17cRcN2