June is National Dairy Month which brings us to some news that may surprise you—most cats are lactose intolerant. In spite of images you may have seen in cartoons and movies of kitties happily lapping up bowls of milk, the truth is that milk does not usually make a cat feel good. And not only is drinking milk uncomfortable for cats, it can be downright detrimental to their health.
Naturally, kittens start out enjoying and properly digesting their mother’s milk. However, after a couple months, cats begin to lose enzymes that enable them to properly digest lactose (a key component of milk). Far from a reward, a bowl of cow’s milk may cause your cat to have stomach pain and diarrhea, and diarrhea can eventually lead to dehydration. Also, regular servings of milk can lead to obesity in cats. While a saucer of milk may seem like a pittance to the human giver, accounting for the size of a cat as compared to a human, that small offering is tantamount to four hamburgers.
If you feel strongly about giving your cats milk on occasion, give them very modest amounts of lactose-free milk. For the most part, though, cats can do fine with simply water to drink. So while milk does the human body good, not so for felines! For more information on animal health or allergies in cats, dogs, and horses, call a PALLERGY allergy veterinarian at 1-800-568-1180.