Cats and dairy just seem to go together—it’s easy to picture a cat happily lapping up milk from a saucer. You may be surprised to learn that cats and milk don’t mix! Learn more below from a Vancouver, BC veterinarian.

Why Can’t Cats Have Dairy?

The majority of adult cats are lactose intolerant, meaning they don’t possess enough lactase in the gut to digest lactose, the primary enzyme in milk. Essentially, cats can’t digest dairy products. The same condition can occur in humans!

Don’t Kittens Drink Their Mother’s Milk?

Yes, kittens receive milk from their mother while nursing. This is, however, the only time in a cat’s life that milk is a nutritional necessity. As cats grow, they typically start to produce less and less lactase, gradually becoming intolerant to milk and other dairy.

What Happens if Cats Eat Dairy Products?

Vomiting and diarrhea are likely if a cat drinks too much milk. Too much of other dairy items, like cheese or yogurt, can also cause these effects.

There are now synthetic “cat milks” available, which have the lactose removed to make it more agreeable with cats’ stomachs. Ask your pet clinic Vancouver, BC to recommend such a product.