Should Cats Drink Milk?

The image of a cat lapping at a bowl of milk is a pretty common one… but is milk really a healthy drink for your feline friend?

The Cat Fancier’s Association suggests that while many cats like the taste of milk, they typically don’t need it as part of their daily diet. A well-nourished cat shouldn’t need to drink milk, but he might like to once in a while. Too much milk too often could cause digestive issues, like diarrhea.

In fact, many cats may even be lactose intolerant — this means that they can’t digest the sugars (lactose) in milk and other dairy products. Many dogs may be lactose intolerant, too… just for the record.

So what can you do if your cat loves milk but her stomach can’t handle it? As a very rare treat, a small amount of milk is safe. Just like some lactose intolerant humans choose to eat dairy and then suffer the consequences, your kitty could have a sip of milk and then ride out the storm that follows.

There are actually cat-safe milk alternatives out there, too (just like there are lactose-free alternatives for humans). One I found on a quick Google search is called “Cat Sip”. It contains enzymes that break down the milk sugars that your cat’s stomach may not be able to handle.

Keep in mind: kitten formulas or milk replacements for kittens are NOT the same thing as milk alternatives for adult cats. Kitten formulas are high in fats and protein — necessary for a growing kitten but probably not nutritionally appropriate for an adult or senior cat.

Remember, too, that every cat is different. Your cat may be able to enjoy milk without any digestive issues… or you may have a kitty with a very sensitive stomach! Animals vary in personality and health quirks, just like humans do.