Can Cats Drink Milk?

Here's what cat parents should know🥛

can cats drink milk

You’ve seen it in the movies — a cat happily lapping up a bowl of milk, their cute little whiskers full of it.

Because of this image that so many cat parents have burned into their memory, it’s easy to assume that milk is a great treat for cats. But can cats drink milk safely?

We decided to investigate this a bit further, and it turns out milk actually isn’t what you should be giving your cats.

Why? Because cats are actually lactose intolerant! Who knew!?

“The only mammals that drink milk as adults are humans, and that is milk from other species,” Dr. John Sangiorgio, a veterinarian from CompleteCare Veterinary Center in New York City, told The Dodo.

According to Dr. Sangiorgio, when mammals are babies, they have an enzyme in their stomach that turns milk into an almost solid mush — and then they digest it as a solid.

“This gets their GI tract ready to digest solid foods,” Dr. Sangiorgio said.

But soon after birth, this enzyme stops being produced and most mammals then become lactose intolerant.

“A cat that drinks milk will have soft bowel movements, eventually getting diarrhea,” Dr. Sangiorgio.

So there you have it — rather than giving your cat milk as a treat, consider getting her a water fountain, like this one from Petco, so she always has fresh, clean water.

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