Your Cat and Milk

Did you know that milk is actually bad for our feline friends? While the image of a kitty happily lapping up a bowl of milk is a cultural icon, the truth is many cats cannot digest milk. Giving your furry friend milk could actually make her quite sick! A local Indianapolis, IN vet discusses cats and milk in this article.

Cats And Milk – The Lowdown

Cats need an enzyme called lactase in order to be able to digest milk. Lactase is present in kittens, who of course drink Mama Kitty’s milk while they’re little. Cats stop producing the enzyme as they grow up, however. Once Fluffy stops producing lactase, she won’t start again, even if she drinks milk.


If you’re wondering where the misconception about cats and milk took root, you may only have to look as far as the classic dairy farm. In the past, kitties on dairy farms likely got fresh, raw milk. Raw milk may be easier for cats to digest. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s good for them, however. Cooked tuna or chicken are both better options for treats.

Effects of Milk

The effects of milk on our feline friends vary from kitty to kitty. Some cats may vomit or get diarrhea after drinking milk. Fluffy might also get a bit, er, stinky while she is digesting dairy products. Milk can also cause skin problems in our furry pals. Most of the time, symptoms will appear within eight to twelve hours.

Can My Cat Have Milk?

Some kitties can digest milk without suffering any ill effects. If your cat adores milk and doesn’t seem to have trouble with it, she may be able to have a very small bit, no more than a few tablespoons, as an occasional treat. That said, even if Fluffy can digest milk, we recommend choosing healthier treats for your furball. Ask your vet for specific advice.


Have you ever considered buying kitty milk for your feline friend? Cat milk can be found in most pet stores and grocery stores. It is safe for cats, and is a good way to satisfy Fluffy’s taste for dairy. This should only be given as an occasional treat, however.

Do you have questions about your cat’s health or care? Contact us! As your Indianapolis, IN veterinary clinic, we are here to serve all your cat’s veterinary care needs.

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