Cats and Milk Facts

Contrary to charming children’s book illustrations, cats and milk are not really a match in heaven. That is because even though most felines love a lap or two of milk, they sort of face with an unrequited love from the milk’s lactose. How’s that for a genuine ‘cat-scratch’ fact?

Just like some human, many cats can’t digest lactose and suffer stomach upset or diarrhea after drinking milk.

So should cats drink milk at all? Here’s a compilation of experts’ advices.

Cats and Milk Fact 1: Lactose Intolerance Is Common
Just like people, it is normal for a cat to be lactose intolerant. To digest lactose, the cat digestive system must contain sufficient enzyme lactase to break down the milk sugar, lactose.

Newborns have plenty of enzyme lactase to help them digest their mothers’ milk. As kittens grow older, production of the enzyme slows down and without sufficient lactase, the ability to digest milk lactose diminishes as well.

When a lactose-intolerant cat drinks milk, the undigested lactose passes through the intestinal tract, drawing water with it. Bacteria in the colon have a field day fermenting the undigested sugars, producing volatile fatty acids and gases that cause problem.

Most common symptom of lactose intolerance in cats is diarrhea; other symptoms are upset stomach and induced vomiting. The symptoms usually appear within eight to twelve hours after consuming the milk.

Cats and Milk Fact 2: Many Cats Can Handle Milk
Some cats do tolerate milk just dandy. If the cat doesn’t show any lactose-intolerance symptom after taking a lap or two of milk, the cat is fine with occasional milk.

However, most cat experts don’t recommend giving milk to them. Cats don’t need milk, their diet should mainly consist of high-quality cat food which meet their nutrient requirement. Treats of all sorts — such as meat, tuna, cheese, milk, or other “people foods” should not be more than 10% of your cat’s total diet. Also, remember that a cat often fed with table food is likely to be a finicky cat.

Cats and Milk Fact 3: Kittens Don’t Need Cow’s Milk
Despite those lovely storybook illustrations, cow’s milk is really not meant for kittens. It has way too much lactose for a kitten digestive system to handle.

In addition, the proportion of cow’s milk proteins: whey and casein, is completely off for a kitten. Hey, cow’s milk is meant for calves, not kittens or other babies!

If your kitten is young and still nursing, you can try a milk replacer made specifically for kittens.

Sold by veterinarians or found in pet stores, cat milk replacers often contain cow’s milk that has been adjusted to mimic as closely as possible the nutrient composition of cat’s milk. With correct casein and whey ratio, and appropriate amount of lactose, it is suitable for fostering or raising an orphaned kitten.

For a grown cat, offer milk replacers in small amounts as a treat if it has a taste for it; otherwise, it is not necessary. The same practice apply to dairy substitutes designed for humans, such as soy and lactose-free milk.

Cats and Milk Fact 4:Yogurt and Cheese May Be Easier to Digest
Sometimes a cat that can not take milk may have no problem with other forms of dairy, such as cheese, yogurt, butter, or ice cream. That is because different forms of dairy food contain different amounts of lactose.

There are two reasons explaining that. Diary like ice cream and yogurt are often diluted with other things, such as water, regular sugar, or added fats. They may also be cultured, meaning microorganisms have digested part of the lactose.

So if your feline pal likes dairy products but is lactose-intolerant, you may still try with cheese, yogurts, and other cultured dairy.

Cats and Milk Fact 5: Cats Need Plenty of Water
No matter how well your cat process cow’s milk, your cat will always need plenty of fresh, clean water. According to the web site of Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, water is needed for:

Body temperature regulating
Food digestion
Waste elimination
Tissue lubrication and regeneration
And allows salt and other electrolytes to pass through the body

To encourage your cat to drink water, placing several bowls of different depths around its active zones usually helps. Many cats find flowing water fascinating, if yours is one, kitty fountains are available at pet stores. Some cats are taught or taught themselves how to turn on and off the water tab.

A few amusing ‘cat-scratch’ facts, part 5

A fifth selective collection of ‘cat-scratch’ facts on the intriguing feline pals. Have your favorite drinks and snack ready and enjoy. Perhaps your very own cat shares the same manner!

  • Winner of 1954 Nobel Prize, novelist Ernest Hemingway was a well-known cat lover who had cats throughout his entire life. He understood cat’s mindset and behavior very well to the extend he trusted his gentle Persian, F. Puss, to babysit his three month old young son, Bumby while he and his wife were out.
  • English author Charles Dickens had a kitten which was known as The Master’s Cat because of its attachment to him. The little kitten stayed with him while he wrote. As the day grew late, the little kitten would snuff out the candle with its paw to remind his master to take a well-deserved break.
  • Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), 16th President of the United States, was a great cat lover. First Lady Mary Todd said cats were her husband’s only hobby. President Lincoln doted on his cats unapologetically. He once fed Tabby from the table at a state dinner. When his wife complained, Lincoln reassured her, “If the gold fork was good enough for [former President James] Buchanan, I think it is good enough for Tabby.”
  • Swiss artist Paul Klee (1879-1940) had many cats at his side; they were his inspiration, his subjects, his travel companions, and sometimes his aids. American philanthropist and collector Edward Warburg once tried to shoo away one of his cats from walking across Klee’s still-wet watercolors. Klee stopped him. “Many years from now,” Klee said, “one of your art connoisseurs will wonder how in the world I ever got that effect.”
  • American actor Robert Downey Jr. never thought he could tolerate cats in his life, until he met Montgomery and Dartanian, two rescues from West Hollywood. The actor said about his change of heart, “Eighteen months ago, I’m saying, ‘I don’t want any rescue pets within 100 yards of either of my residences, I’m sorry. I don’t want some, like, tripod, abused animal.’ I was adamantly opposed to the whole idea. And now I couldn’t imagine living without them. I’ve become one of those people where the Missus is like, ‘They don’t want to see iPhone pictures of our kittens right now. Stop it.”

Feed your craving for all cat things: A few amusing ‘cat-scratch’ facts, part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4.

Famous Cat Lovers’ Quotes, Part 5

Here is another ‘cat-scratch’ collection of famous quotes on the cat from notable people; dedicated to cat lovers of all ages.

Cat is smarter than you:
“In the event of an air raid, don’t worry about your cats. Cats can take care of themselves far better than you can. Your cat will probably meet you as you enter the air raid shelter.”
― an Autumn 1939 BBC radio broadcast

“As anyone who has ever been around a cat for any length of time well knows cats have enormous patience with the limitations of the human kind.”
― Cleveland Amory, The Cat Who Came for Christmas

“If man could be crossed with a cat, it would improve man but deteriorate the cat.”
― Mark Twain, Notebook

“Human beings are drawn to cats because they are all we are not — self-contained, elegant in everything they do, relaxed, assured, glad of company, yet still possessing secret lives.”
― Pam Brown

“Cats speak the language of comfort and coolness and therefore we feel comfortable and cool whenever we see a cat!”
― Mehmet Murat ildan

Cat never lies:
“A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not.”
― Ernest Hemingway

“I realized that cats make a perfect audience, they don’t laugh at you, they never contradict you, there’s no need to impress them, and they won’t divulge your secrets.”
― Elle Newmark, The Book of Unholy Mischief

“Cat: a pygmy lion who loves mice, hates dogs, and patronizes human beings.”
― Oliver Herford

“Then it suddenly and theatrically began to clean itself in the way cats do when they want you to know what a big deal you aren’t.”
― Adam Rex, Cold Cereal

“There is no creature better at delicate rudeness than a cat…”
― Elizabeth Peters

“That’s the way with a cat, you know — any cat; they don’t give a damn for discipline. And they can’t help it, they’re made so. But it ain’t really insubordination, when you come to look at it right and fair — it’s a word that don’t apply to a cat. A cat ain’t ever anybody’s slave or serf or servant, and can’t be — it ain’t in him to be. And so, he don’t have to obey anybody. He is the only creature in heaven or earth or anywhere that don’t have to obey somebody or other, including the angels. It sets him above the whole ruck, it puts him in a class by himself. He is independent. You understand the size of it? He is the only independent person there is. In heaven or anywhere else. There’s always somebody a king has to obey — a trollop, or a priest, or a ring, or a nation, or a deity or what not — but it ain’t so with a cat. A cat ain’t servant nor slave to anybody at all. He’s got all the independence there is, in Heaven or anywhere else, there ain’t any left over for anybody else. He’s your friend, if you like, but that’s the limit — equal terms, too, be you king or be you cobbler; you can’t play any I’m-better-than-you on a cat — no, sir! Yes, he’s your friend, if you like, but you got to treat him like a gentleman, there ain’t any other terms. The minute you don’t, he pulls freight.”
― Mark Twain

Hope you like above quotes; be sure to check out Famous Cat Lovers’ Quotes, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.