It happens too often where a myth evolves into fact, in particular a common myth that many believe, is the idea that cats love lapping up milk. Don’t get us wrong, cats may love a saucer of milk, but the real question is, is milk really good for them?
A little sneak here and there may not hurt your kitty, but Veterinarian Dr. Rich Goldstein does warn many cat lovers that it can cause some problems with your pretty kitty’s digestive system.
We need to remember that digestive systems are always changing, adapting to what we decide we like or take in. We all have enzymes in our digestive tract and they will change depending on the protein, fat, and carbohydrates our food contains.
As babies, all animals have a lot of lactase enzymes to help digest the lactose sugar found in milk, Goldstein tells Cat Wisdom 101. But once animals are weaned off of a lactose rich diet, these lactase enzymes decrease because they’re not needed anymore. The end result in adult animals who drink more milk than their bodies are familiar with, they end up developing diarrhea due to the lack of lactase enzymes that help digest the milk. This is also known as being lactose-intolerant.
In the case of cats who are able to keep their milk intake down, if they’re regularly given milk, their bodies are maintaining some lactase enzymes, preventing them from having any GI problems, Goldstein added.
But keep in mind if you do want to add dairy into your cats diet, remember cats are carnivores.
Cat Wisdom 101 said it best, “Just like you’ve never seen a cat jump into the lake to catch a fish for lunch, you won’t see them milking a cow for something to drink. It’s like McDonald’s: we know we shouldn’t eat it, but we do! Dairy products, while having protein and fat (which are good for cats), also have a lot of carbohydrates and sugars (which are not good for cats). Dairy can also be high in calcium – too much of which can also cause problems.”
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