Should Cats Be Given Milk?

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Most people believe that cats should not be given milk, as it can cause them stomach upset. However, there are some who believe that milk is actually good for cats. So, what is the truth? Should cats be given milk?

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There is a common misconception that cats enjoy milk and other dairy products as much as we do. In fact, many cats are lactose intolerant and consuming milk can lead to gastrointestinal distress. While some cats may be able to tolerate small amounts of milk without any problems, it is generally best to avoid giving milk to cats.

A Brief History of Cats and Milk

Cats and milk have been associated with each other for centuries. In fact, the first mention of a cat drinking milk dates all the way back to the 12th century. Since then, cats have been commonly depicted in art as enjoying a glass of milk.

So, where did this idea that cats like milk come from? It’s likely that it started with Eastern cultures, where cats were kept as mousers in rice fields and given milk as a reward. From there, the idea spread to Europe and eventually to the Americas.

Today, there is still a widespread belief that cats enjoy drinking milk. However, this is not necessarily true. While some cats may enjoy the taste of milk, others may not be able to stomach it due to lactose intolerance.

Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and other dairy products. Cats lack the enzyme needed to break down lactose, so consuming it can lead to gastrointestinal upset, including vomiting and diarrhea.

If your cat does enjoy drinking milk, it’s important to give them only small amounts as part of a balanced diet. Too muchmilk can lead to obesity and other health problems.

The Pros of Giving Cats Milk

Many people believe that cats should not drink milk because it gives them diarrhea. However, there are a few pros to giving cats milk.

First, milk is a good source of hydration for cats. Cats can get dehydrated easily, especially in hot weather, and milk can help keep them hydrated.

Second, milk is a good source of nutrition for cats. It contains protein, fat, and essential nutrients like calcium and potassium.

Third, some cats simply enjoy the taste of milk and it can be a nice treat for them.

Of course, you should always consult with your veterinarian before giving your cat any kind of new food or drink, including milk. Some cats may have allergies or sensitivities to dairy products that can cause gastrointestinal distress.

The Cons of Giving Cats Milk

While many people believe that cats enjoy milk and it provides them with essential nutrients, there are actually a few cons to giving cats milk.

First of all, many cats are lactose intolerant. This means that they cannot properly digest lactose, the sugar found in milk. When cats drink milk, they may experience gastrointestinal upset, including bloating, diarrhea, and vomiting.

In addition, milk is not a very efficient source of nutrition for cats. It is high in calories and fat but low in other essential nutrients. Cats who drink a lot of milk may become overweight or obese.

Finally, some brands of milk contain harmful additives, such as artificial sweeteners or preservatives. These substances can be toxic to cats and may cause health problems.

Milk Alternatives for Cats

Cats are often thought of as needing milk, but in reality, most cats are lactose-intolerant and can’t stomach milk very well. If you must give your cat milk, choose a lactose-free variety or give them a small amount of plain, unsweetened yogurt instead. You could also try one of these alternative cat milks:

Soy milk: Soy milk is a good option for cats who are lactose-intolerant. Make sure to choose an unsweetened variety.

Almond milk: Almond milk is another good option for lactose-intolerant cats. Again, make sure to choose an unsweetened variety.

Oat milk: Oat milk is a good option for cats who can tolerate lactose. It’s also high in soluble fiber, which can be beneficial for cats with digestive issues.

Rice milk: Rice milk is another good option for cats who can tolerate lactose. It’s also lower in calories than other milks, which may be beneficial for overweight cats.


No, cats should not be given milk. Milk is not easily digestible for cats and can cause gastrointestinal distress. Cats also do not have a strong need for milk, as they get the nutrients they need from meat.

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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