Can kittens drink milk? You wouldn’t think it, but it can cause digestive problems

Ferenczi Deborah

2022. December 13 - Source: Photos by Getty Images Hungary

A significant percentage of people believe that milk is a natural food for cats and do not even think about whether it is healthy for them. The truth, however, is that milk consumption can cause many digestive problems, and its excessive consumption can even lead to obesity in the long term.


The fact that cats drink milk is a completely obvious thing for many. You wouldn’t even imagine how many health problems its consumption can cause. Because it can very easily cause bloating, upset stomach, and even more serious side effects.
Can cats also be lactose intolerant?

Can cats also be lactose intolerant?

Research by Howstuffworks has shown that cats, like a significant percentage of mammals, can suffer from lactose intolerance. This means that in the absence of the lactase enzyme, their body is unable to break down the milk sugar found in food, and this can result in abdominal pain. A little milk is generally not a serious danger, but regular consumption can have unpleasant consequences. If the animal has diarrhea after drinking milk, be sure to minimize your kitten’s milk intake, because it is more than likely that he is struggling with lactose intolerance.

Symptoms of lactose intolerance in cats

The most common symptoms that may indicate lactose intolerance are listed below:

  • Gas production
  • Stomach ache
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Increased thirst
  • Dehydration
  • Increased heart rate
  • Dry gums

If you think you have any of these symptoms, you should consult a veterinarian in order to make an accurate diagnosis of lactose intolerance.

Can kittens drink milk?

Even though puppies can digest lactose, their bodies aren’t designed to break down the amount in cow’s milk, which is about three times as much as their mother’s milk. Although they probably won’t get diarrhea from it, they won’t get as many nutrients as they need for their growth. Thus, by definition, it does not replace breast milk. In the event that the kitten came to you as a very small child and you have to feed it, it is still important not to feed it with cow’s milk, but with formula sold specifically for this purpose. Because they contain the nutrients necessary for their healthy development.

How does lactose intolerance develop?

The question may arise as to how lactose intolerance develops in adult cats, since kittens can digest milk. The answer to this is that while the digestive system of the little ones can handle the milk produced by their mother, they lose this ability as they grow. This is because the body no longer needs to produce the enzyme lactase, which is needed to digest the lactose sugar in milk. Some adult cats only slow down production, while in others it stops completely, resulting in lactose sensitivity.

Consumption in moderation is important

If intolerance does not occur, milk can still make up about 10-15 percent of their diet, as it cannot replace regular food due to its low nutritional value. It is also very important to pay attention to the quantity, as it can easily cause obesity. It is worth limiting the milk intake of cats to 20-30 calories per day. Since one cup of skimmed milk contains 83 calories, you shouldn’t give them more than a few spoonfuls to avoid potential weight problems.

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