The age-old myth that milk and cats go hand-in-hand has officially been debunked by veterinarians and cat experts. Regardless of how tasty milk may be to your cat, this is bad news for their stomach and digestive system. As it turns out, most cats are lactose intolerant. (By the way, here’s how to train a cat to do these five life-changing things!)
Just like humans, some cats can’t digest lactose, a milk sugar that’s found in dairy. The only time in a cat’s life when its body actually has enough of the enzyme lactase to properly digest lactose is at birth and during its early years of life. This is so the cat can feed off of its mother’s milk. After that, less and less lactase is produced, resulting in potentially increased digestive complications. Ultimately, this may lead to the development of an intolerance. Some symptoms of lactose intolerance may include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal gas, and lack of appetite. Here are some other signs that your cat is trying to tell you something.
According to WebMD, “When a lactose-intolerant cat drinks milk, the undigested lactose passes through the intestinal tract, drawing water with it, according to the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine‘s web site. Bacteria in the colon also ferment the undigested sugars, producing volatile fatty acids.”
Again, just like humans, some cats don’t have a problem digesting milk. Regardless, most veterinarians suggest other alternatives since cow’s milk has no nutritional benefits for cats. (Speaking of milk, there are some serious dangers of drinking it raw.)
Intolerant or not, what should your cat be drinking instead? “Cats need plenty of water,” Leasa Greer, the Manager of Nutrition & Regulatory Affairs at Solid Gold Pet, told Reader’s Digest. “Water is incredibly important for promoting optimal organ function in cats. A great way to make sure your cat is getting enough water is by feeding him/her wet canned food. Cats are generally less keen on drinking water, so a wet food (like any of the pates or bisques from Solid Gold) are great for keeping cats hydrated.” This goes for humans, too. Here are nine things that happen to your body when you actually drink enough water.
While we’re on the subject of cats, we have great news: Watching cat videos is actually good for you!