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Is Lactose-Free Milk Safe and Beneficial for Cats? Exploring the Feasibility of Lactose-Free Milk for Feline Friends

Is lactose free milk good for cats?

We have a 2-Year-old Domestic shorthair cat( We call her Zoe ) at our place. When we got her, we were wondering If we can feed her Milk. 

We Love cats and it’s awesome that we want to spoil our cat but at the same time wanna make sure that our cat will be safe.

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So, I did a bit of research and found out this. I found out after talking to a few Cat owners 

You can give your cat lactose-free milk and it should be okay for your cat However in small quality and not as the main food. It is not recommended to give your cat lactose -Free milk as the main Diet on a daily basis but can be given as a Treat or Reward.

Is Lactose-Free Milk Safe and Beneficial for Cats? Exploring the Feasibility of Lactose-Free Milk for Feline Friends

Is lactose-free milk good for cats?

Lactose -Free milk is not recommended as the main food for your cat. 

The reason people think it’s OK to give cat milk is because of a long-held belief that  Cats like it.

It’s similar to cats and fish( we have seen in many cartoons including “Tom and Jerry”), in that there’s not a lot of documented evidence that cats naturally prey on fish, nor is there any data that would show a cat opting to suckle up under an aquarium.

It’s unclear how these myths started. Nevertheless, they’ve been perpetuated for years now and are part of our understanding of domesticated felines.

Lactose and cats

Most cats are lactose intolerant since they were not evolved to swallow milk from other animals.

Kittens can drink their mother’s milk without issue, but the vast majority of cats cannot tolerate ordinary cow’s milk. Humans are able to consume cow’s milk because we have been doing it for several generations.

However, many people are still unable to tolerate Cow’s milk, which is why there are so many various brands and varieties of lactose free milk available.

Don’t get me wrong: a cat’s digestive system has even less familiarity with milk. The misconception that cats require milk must be dispelled.

The Extra Cost

You normally have to pay a bit more for lactose-free milk, and that extra money may go into better cat food.

The good thing about having a cat is that you can put all of the money you would have spent on additional items into the best cat food available, and then you don’t have to worry about anything other than keeping their litter box clean.

Is Lactose-Free Milk Safe and Beneficial for Cats? Exploring the Feasibility of Lactose-Free Milk for Feline Friends

Lactose Intolerance: Why Cow’s Milk Is Bad For Most Cats

Like some humans, most cats are lactose intolerant. 

This means they lack the enzymes required to digest the lactose found in dairy products.

Lactose is a sugar that is found in dairy products. When cats consume cow’s milk, they may have terrible stomach pains and diarrhoea.

This is due to the fact that undigested lactose will remain in their intestines rather than going into the bloodstream and fermenting due to bacteria. 

This fermentation causes a slew of stomach issues, which usually show within eight to twelve hours of consuming the milk.

Not all cats are lactose intolerant, but the majority of them are. 

Furthermore, there is no way to detect if your cat is lactose intolerant or not without exposing them to dairy products and risking illness.


To be safe, keep cow milk, cheese, and other dairy products away from your cat.

Do cats need Milk?

Is Milk required at all?.

The good news is that your cat does not need to drink milk if it is fed a high-quality cat diet.

Lactose negates any nourishment or benefit of drinking milk, and if you offer them lactose-free milk, there isn’t anything in it that your cat is losing out on, as their food contains all of the vitamins and minerals your cat requires.

To summarise, don’t be concerned about providing your cat with lactose-free milk.

Take the money you’ll save by not purchasing it and put it into high-quality cat chow. This is where your cat gets all of its nutrition, and it makes things extremely easy for you as the owner.

Is Milk Bad for Cats?

For most cats, yes. For many cats, No. It depends on the individual cat.

Many cats have lactose intolerance and can’t digest milk. They vomit it up or expel it with diarrhoea.

Before giving your cat a bowl of milk to drink, test the reaction with a spoonful. If your cat vomits or gets runny poo, you’ll know that milk isn’t good for this particular cat.

If your cat is fine (and most cats are), you can give it a larger portion.

Again observe. If there’s no adverse reaction you can give your cat milk.

What you should NOT do:

  1. Feed your cat milk as main as the main meal.
  2. Give your cat milk instead of water.
  3. Give your cat a large portion of milk without testing it with a small quantity first, or without observing.
  4. Carry out the experiment on a cat with a health problem that gets aggravated by digestive upsets.
  5. Give milk to someone else’s cat, without first checking with the owners if it is ok.

Cats have enjoyed milk for centuries… until cat food production became a commercialised industry controlled by multinational giants with a huge marketing apparatus.

Those companies and their marketing departments encourage the spread of the urban myth that ‘cats can not drink milk/milk is bad for all cats’ because they want people to buy their very expensive tiny bottles of ‘kitty milk’.

If your cat has lactose intolerance, you can buy lactose-free milk – the kind that’s sold for human consumption, for humans with lactose intolerance.

This milk is more expensive than ordinary milk, but not as ridiculously expensive as the tiny bottles of ‘kitty milk’ the cat food producers want us to buy.

But again: give your cat a small portion and observe the reaction before you let it have more.

Almost all the cats I know can digest ordinary milk just fine.

But it depends on the cats if they are lactose intolerant. One of my friend’s cat vomits after drinking milk, and another friend tells me that her two cats get stinky runny poo after eating cheese. All the other cats are fine.

Our Zoe loves milk, and she can digest it without problems. But, we don’t give her full cream milk, we just add some water before giving her.

However, she is a sensible cat and never drinks more than a spoonful.

Is Lactose-Free Milk Safe and Beneficial for Cats? Exploring the Feasibility of Lactose-Free Milk for Feline Friends

If adult cats are lactose intolerant, can they drink lactose-free milk?

The “Do not Give Cat Mil” meme is relatively new. Cats love milk. 

Once they get a taste for it, they will constantly hassle you for it.

All the cats I knew when growing up were given milk regularly, usually as a treat – my mother’s cats were given a saucer of milk when they were put out for the night.

They have all lived to a ripe old age, despite indigestion. I am sure the milk must have given to them. 

But they would get the fat and protein from the milk, and also the liquid – it is mostly water, which cats often neglect to drink.

Cats’ “normal” diet is small animals, Shredded Chicken, Salmon and lamb not Milk. 

They have pretty tough digestive systems. 

However, If your adult cat is Lactose Intolerant, You can give your cat lactose-free milk and it should be okay for your cat. 

Many Vets prefer dairy alternatives like Cat-Sip. Cat-Sip, – Google Search. which is a product of milk that you can safely give your cats as a treat.

Since cats are lactose intolerant, why are there cat kinds of milk in the market?

Kittens are able to drink milk, and  Adult cats become lactose intolerant only if they stop drinking it. 

Cats that continue to drink milk regularly as they mature rarely suffer ill effects.

Kitty milk may be preferred by milk-holic adult cats as it’s a more viscose liquid, more like evaporated milk than our watery semi-skimmed! . 

This milk is caloric and should be calculated as part of a cat’s food intake.

It isn’t a substitute for fresh water, and if a cat hasn’t drunk milk for a while it could still cause some adverse effects. 

It’s probably not a good idea to suddenly give these products a cat that doesn’t already drink milk regularly.

What is cat milk made of?

Cat milk is not cow’s milk. They are special blends.

There are two types of kitten milk on the market; one is a high-calorie liquid (or powder), which is intended as a milk replacement for kittens, and the other is a reduced-lactose product aimed at adult cats.

What is the best milk for cats?

Most mammals only drink milk when they are babies. as they get older, they become lactose intolerant. 

However, Not all Adult cats are Lactose Intolerant.

 If you are feeding kittens, there are kitten milk replacers available from vets and pet stores.

Some adult cats do enjoy milk and are able to tolerate it.

 If you have one of these cats, they will let you know by enjoying a bowl of milk without unfortunate consequences in the litter box.

The intolerant ones will let you know as well, in a less pleasant way,

Are all domestic cats lactose intolerant?

Yes, and no.

Lactose is in milk. Kittens can tolerate lactose and get it from their mother’s milk, so the milk can be digested.

As WebMD says, “’ The only time animals are exposed to lactose is when they’re babies — in their mother’s milk,’ says Linda P. Case, MS, adjunct assistant professor at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine and author of The Cat: Its Behavior, Nutrition, and Health

To digest lactose, a milk sugar, the human and feline digestive systems must contain the enzyme lactase. We have plenty of this enzyme in our systems at birth, and it helps us thrive on our mother’s milk.

But as we grow up, it’s normal for people and cats to begin producing less lactase. Less lactase means less ability to digest lactose. The result may eventually be lactose intolerance.

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.

All that activity might lead to an upset tummy and induce vomiting.But the most common symptom of lactose intolerance in cats is diarrhea, usually within eight to 12 hours, says Susan G. Wynn, DVM, CVA, CVCH, an animal nutritionist in Atlanta and co-author of the Manual of Natural Veterinary Medicine.” Cats and Dairy: Get the Facts

Dr.  Cailin Heinze, VMD, MS, DACVN, an assistant professor of nutrition at the Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, notes, “

“Cats do not gain anything nutritionally from milk that is not present in a well-balanced commercial [cat food] diet,” explains Dr Heinze, adding that it should be treated more like a very occasional high-calorie treat than an everyday food.

‘We generally recommend that cats be fed no more than 20 to 30 calories a day from unbalanced sources, such as human food items or commercial treats,” adds Dr Heinze. “Skim milk contains 83 calories per cup, while whole milk contains 149 calories per cup.

Too many calories from such treats can dilute out essential nutrients from a feline’s main diet, contributing to the serious obesity problem that we are currently facing with our pet cats.

When Kittens Can Drink Milk

Kittens can usually digest milk until they are weaned. Kittens lose the lactase enzyme, which digests lactose, around the age of eight weeks.

Even before that, dairy is not a good choice for a kitten. This is especially true if you’re caring for a kitten who hasn’t yet been weaned!

Instead of dairy items, buy a cat mother’s milk replacer or kitten formula from your local pet store, which contains all of the nutrients a kitten requires. Consult your veterinarian for additional information.

What is the Substitute for Milk

As unappealing as it may sound, water is actually the perfect milk substitute

Cats often do not consume enough water in their diets, as they do not always exhibit signs of thirst when they should.

If you want to add some “fun” to the water, consider purchasing a drinking fountain for your cat.

These small fountains are normally self-contained — you simply plug them in. 

They then supply your cat with moving water to drink, which they may actually prefer.

If you truly desire a liquid treat, you can get lactose-free milk at a pet store or even a supermarket store. 

Lactose has been removed from this product with the use of lactase enzymes that break down the sugar. 

This indicates that lactose-free goods are safe for cats and humans who are lactose intolerant.

Is Lactose-Free Milk Safe and Beneficial for Cats? Exploring the Feasibility of Lactose-Free Milk for Feline Friends

About Content Reviewer & Vet Expert OnBoard: Antonella, qualified veterinarian. Antonella is passionate about Cats and loves sharing her knowledge and research with you.

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