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Milk and Cats

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Ok I have heard both sides of this but wanted to get some of the kitty experts here opinion on this. Is milk ok for cats? I have seen cats all my life drink at least some milk and never had any outward problems that I have seen. But then I hear people say that you should never give cats milk because they are lactose intolerant. So which is it or can it be both depending on the cat involved?

I ask because Ping lives for a few drinks of milk in the morning. Ping gets his breakfast first and then the kids get up and eat breakfast. Most times thats cereal. And 9 out of 10 times one kid always leaves a bowl of milk on the table.
And Ping hopes right up there and takes a few drinks. I have never thought much about it because it doesn't seem to bother him. Minus a bit of hyperness afterwards.

So is a little bit of milk ok?
post #2 of 26
Almost all cats are lactose intolerant to some point.... but just like people, every cat is different - some practically can't even be in the presence of dairy products without spontaneously having loose stool (ok a little graphic, haha) and others are barely bothered... Oliver takes a lap or two of milk occasionally and is a stinker when it comes to stealing cream cheese off my bagel - his only consequence is a few nasty, stanky, stinky kitty farts (in my face of course... he loves his mama) and his next poo is a little extra stinky... so I let him have the occasional dairy treat... sounds like your cat handles it quite well and if he were my cat, I'd allow him a bit of milk now and then if he likes it - I just wouldn't let him lick up a whole bowl at a time or anything, don't wanna push your luck, lol... just my personal opinion and my (very trusted) vet says a dairy treat now and then is ok for him
post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 
I have never seen him drink a whole bowl. Just a few drinks and thats it usually. I have not noticed any stinky farts or loose BM afterwards either. So I guess he can handle it better than some.
post #4 of 26
The cats that I've now can drink milk but they never get much more than a few laps from a saucer_just in case_and they get other dairy treats once in a blue moon. One doesn't like anything dairy at all but the other 4 are ok with it.
That one that won't drink milk will jump on the table to get our cereal and has stolen a few licks of ice cream . He's lapped Coke too out of a glass I had in my hand once but I guess it is more like a game rather than because he craves it.
I've also 3 foster teens (kitties in siggy..they turned 8 mos yesterday and to me they aren't kittens anymore tho in reality they still are) Two that have the run of the house will lap antything from the others dishes and have had some milk a few times.
post #5 of 26
Boomer nearly always 'cleans' my cereal bowl and he can handle it fine, Bumper on the other hand would probably throw up before he swallowed the milk, it really depends on the cat... I wouldn't make a habit out of it however, as it can lead to them begging for other food
post #6 of 26
Kandie drinks milk and so does Zoey ... neither has lactose issues but I still only give it occationally
post #7 of 26
Many cats are lactose intolerant, but not all are. If they have intolerance to it, it will cause diarroah and possibly vomiting. For those that aren't intolerant, it's ok to give it as a treat occasionally, but it is high in fat and is not suitable for everyday!

Rememer that cows milk is food for baby cows and doesn't completely suit any other animal.

Good alternatives as a treat are manufactured 'cat milk' products which are formulated for a cat's diet, goats milk which isn't as rich and doesn't contain as much lactose, or soy milk (unless your cat has a thyroid disorder, as it can make thyroid problems worse).
post #8 of 26
We have one feral that comes in expecting a bowl of milk before he settles down. Now that I have kittens in the house I make sure to buy Lactaid milk so if there is any for the kittens to get into they won't suffer consequences of lactose intolerance.
post #9 of 26
Mine always have a bowl of goat milk each day, they love it. And Persil would do anything to get some cheese, so she has a little bit occasionally. But cows milk can be bad so I avoid it.
post #10 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone. I was looking at some goats milk today at the store. How long is that good for after opened? I may pick up a can or 2 on payday and see if he likes that as much as the other milk.
post #11 of 26
My ferals love milk. My insiders are more picky. KittenKiya loves it, ChanKahli won't touch it, Pete won't touch it and Tammy-Timmy is just learning about it.
post #12 of 26
As other said, most cats are lactose intolerant and giving them dairy will cause their tummies to cramp and they will have diarrhea.

I'm lactose intolerant and have to buy Lactaid skim milk. So I give that to both of my cats everyday and we all get calcium for our bones

As far as those special cat milk products that you can buy in the pet food aisle. Those are pretty much designed to play on the emotions and love of a cat owner. Slap the name "Cat" on something and cat people flock to it and will spend their money on it.

Yes, they have some nutrients in it that are cat specific, but if you are feeding your cat a good quality food they are getting all the supplements they need.

I spoke to my vet about this after the topic came up in another thread and I was told that if my cats tolerate lactaid skim milk, that it's perfectly fine to give it to them as an occasional treat. I was encouraged to remember that even though it is skim milk that it still has calories and giving them milk in addition to their regular diet of food is increasing their calories and can promote weight gain. That's the only thing I was told to be careful of.
post #13 of 26
I think as long as your kitty hasn't displayed and ill effects from having a lick or two of milk on occasion it should be fine. Phenom and Phantom both help clean my cereal bowl every now and again. I intentionally leave a little milk in the bottom for them. No loose stools and no stinky kitty farts. Just be very careful and don't do it too often.
post #14 of 26
Thread Starter 
Like I said Ping has never had diarahh or anything else after he has had milk. But I am concerned that the milk he does drink has sugar in it from the cereal. And if he likes it and tolerates it I would like to give him a little. I understand that cows milk is probally not the greatest of choices so thats why I am looking into alternatives such as goat milk or lactaid type milk for him.

Those that give goats milk do you dilute it or give it straight? Our store has it in little cans.
post #15 of 26
Thread Starter 
Another question about the goats milk. Can it be frozen like little milk ice cubes? That way I don't waste a whole can if I only give it once a week.
post #16 of 26
I dunno if ice cubes would work, freezing milk causes it to seperate when thawed and can change texture/taste. If you wish to use a lactose free milk you could always buy a pint to share with the cat and drink the rest yourself.
Side note, the majority of people are lactose intolerant as well, losing the ablity to properly digest it between ages 2 and 5. However like cats, some people can tolerant some milk better than others. I'm not one of them
post #17 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
I dunno if ice cubes would work, freezing milk causes it to seperate when thawed and can change texture/taste.
You can freeze milk, my mum always keeps a pint of semi-skimmed in the freezer for cups of tea when I visit as they only drink soy and I can't stand the stuff! Used some that had been frozen and defrosted when I went round today, no separation and it tasted fine
post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
Side note, the majority of people are lactose intolerant as well, losing the ablity to properly digest it between ages 2 and 5. However like cats, some people can tolerant some milk better than others. I'm not one of them
wow, glad that's not me! Mom drank whole milk through the pregnancy and I still only drink whole today! Anything else tastes like water to me! And since I drink only organic, it tastes even creamier to me.... yummy!

*note, since I drink only whole, Ollie gets very limited amounts very rarely!*
post #19 of 26
Even we are not meant to drink the milk of another animal. But we've certainly broke that rule anyway. After all we get some benefits from dairy such as calcium and protein. Cats don't need milk and many are lactose intolerant(just as many of us are) but as a treat I think it's fine to give them an occasional small dose but of the real thing. I'm pretty sure most cats appreciate the taste of full fat whole milk or cream as opposed to skim milk which isn't as flavorful. A dollop of heavy whipping cream or a tablespoon could go a long way and you don't have to give a saucerful of milk which may not be as good for your cat. I don't feed my cats milk but my cat Rosie is crazy for whipped cream which comes out of a canister and whenever I'm having dessert with a whipped cream topping I can't sit down and enjoy it until I've squirted out a bit of whipped cream on a small plate for Rosie or let her lick it from my fingers.

If you want to give a saucer of milk I reccommend Whiskas cat milk. It's lactose free and I can see some nutritional benefit which would be calcium, protein and moisture. Although milk is not a substitute for water I would think that milk like canned cat food can be hydrating for a cat.

Plus before pet food was even invented people used to feed cats scraps and a saucer of milk which is probably how they got their calcium when they weren't out hunting and eating prey. It's not natural to feed a cat cow's milk just as it's not natural to feed it to a human being. Does that mean it's not nutritious to some degree?
post #20 of 26
I give them whole goats milk, and yes, you can freeze it. They don't get a lot - a small bowl between the four of them each day. I see them all lapping a little from it from time to time, though Ellie likes it most.
post #21 of 26
I only give KMR with some skim milk mixed in to the adult ferals sometimes..I mix in skim milk b/c some won't touch it if it doesn't have it.
When there have been feral kittens I gave them straight KMR and they lapped it up. When the fosters were younger they'd get KMR too, now that they're teens just once in a while and I have to put skim in for some reason..for these KMR seems to loose its appeal as they grow up..pregnant ferals also get KMR..there's also the formula glop (homemade) that one can give them but I never did (if it turns out to be less expensive than KMR I will)
And when I give milk to our cats it is skim b/c we only drink skim.
post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by moggiegirl View Post
I don't feed my cats milk but my cat Rosie is crazy for whipped cream which comes out of a canister and whenever I'm having dessert with a whipped cream topping I can't sit down and enjoy it until I've squirted out a bit of whipped cream on a small plate for Rosie or let her lick it from my fingers.
The "whipped cream" out of the canister probably doesn't have much real cream or milk in it - most likely oil substitutes.

Our cat Ebony loved vanilla ice cream. When I had a dish he would climb all over me and try to pull the dish down to get some. I would save about a tablespoon for him to have when I finished.

As someone else said, it really depends on the cat - some can handle it and others will get diarrhea.
post #23 of 26
Actually I've only seen whole cows milk go horribly wrong from freezing, but that could have been a brand/near over due date problem and my over sensitive taste buds.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BuzbyJLC10 View Post
wow, glad that's not me! Mom drank whole milk through the pregnancy and I still only drink whole today! Anything else tastes like water to me! And since I drink only organic, it tastes even creamier to me.... yummy!
I used to love whole milk and was very picky about taste and brands, skim milk is nasty. Luckily the Land'O'Lakes dairy ease reduce fat is drinkable, lactaid is bitter and gross. Worst part is that I can't eat ice cream anymore
post #24 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ping View Post
Ok I have heard both sides of this but wanted to get some of the kitty experts here opinion on this. Is milk ok for cats? I have seen cats all my life drink at least some milk and never had any outward problems that I have seen. But then I hear people say that you should never give cats milk because they are lactose intolerant. So which is it or can it be both depending on the cat involved?
So is a little bit of milk ok?
I am lactose intoleant myself, as is one human in 5 on this planet, as are a vast majority of black and asians.

Lactose intolerance (unless from birth) is simply another word for being weaned and it is the same for most mammals. The proteins and nutrition in mother's milk (cat and human) is essential for early development. In nature, moms eventually stop milking their offspring because one needs to "move on". As milk is a NON ESSENTIAL part of an adult diet (cat & human) if the digestive system is no longer in contact with milk, the metabolism does away with the superfluous lactase enzyme. In this case, the cat/human is weaned and no longer has the ABILITY TO DIGEST MILK. It doesn't mean it's bad for them, it just means indigestion. The lactose molecules make their way down to the colon where the naturally occuring bacteria say wow! untouched milk molecules, yippee! let's feast, and well bacteria defecate gaz, which is the reason behind the farts...

Now on the other hand, if the kitten/child was never taken off milk in the first place, the digestive system never got to wean itself so milk is still perfectly digestible.

Amazing how few doctors/vets know anything about weening/lactose intolerance.

Bottom line, weaned cats, NO MILK PLEASE, unpleasant for all parties
If your cat hasn't been weaned, go ahead, milk away
post #25 of 26
Molly loves her milk! She has her own little bowl in the morning. DH gives her lactaid, I give her whole milk(better than down the sink).

Lucky will ask once in a blue moon. He much prefers cheese, very little amount. Molly can't handle cheese. She does like yogurt & ice cream

Ben hasn't discovered table food & we want to keep it that way.
post #26 of 26
my cat loves whiskas cat milk
He would crazy if i didn't have any at home
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