Should your cats be given milk?

Ever seen a cat really enjoying a bowl of milk, other than in cartoons? No, right!? Well, cats are inherently very picky eaters. They always seem to know what’s best for them, and they are right most of the time. Cats need to be trusted with their food choices, and if they say no to milk, then NO it is.

Well, there is actually a scientific reason as to why you should avoid giving milk to your cat. Cats are inherently lactose intolerant. Lactose is the name of the sugar that is commonly found in milk. Young kittens, when dependent on their mother’s milk is able to digest lactose. However, as they grow up, they slowly stop producing the enzyme Lactase that is responsible for the digestion of milk or lactose. That is why as kittens grow up into cats, they are unable to digest milk.

 When cats are fed milk, the lactose in the milk remains undigested and passes through their system. In this process, it draws out the water from their intestines. Also, lactose does not pass through a cat’s system easily. This causes the creation of flatulence, stomach pains, and diarrhea. This may persist until the cat has passed out all of the lactose. Many owners who are not aware of this predicament may not be able to diagnose the cause of the sudden discomfort in their cats.
 A good alternative to milk is pain water or cat milk. Cat milk is essentially milk without the lactose. It is also commonly called as lactose-reduced milk. Cat milk from various brands is available with your local pet stores and supermarkets. It comes in powdered form and needs to be mixed with water. Should Your Cats be Given Milk? Cats love it! It is also a god sent for sneaking into their occasional dose of de-worming liquid. Imagine the hours of struggle you could save!
 Some may ask if alternatives such as soy milk are healthy for their feline pets. Cats are obligatory carnivores. That means they need nutrients found in meats for leading a healthy life. They get these nutrients through cat food. However, foods like soy milk contain nutrients like stachyose and raffinose. Cats do not produce the enzymes required to digest these nutrients. Hence, feeding them milk, soya or otherwise is not a good idea.
 Unlike dogs, cats are very picky about the food they eat. Even then, there are some foods that they may seem attracted to but are actually doing more harm than good. Here are some foods that you must strictly avoid feeding your cat.

1. Tuna: They might even get addicted to tuna, however, tuna does not have all the nutrients that cats need and a steady tuna diet can lead to malnutrition.

2. Onions and garlic: Onion is dangerous for a cat, whatever form it might be in. The nutrients present in onion are known to cause anemia in cats. Garlic can upset their stomachs.

3. Alcohol: Please do not get your cat drunk. A small teaspoon can be fatal for your cat.

4. Grapes: Treating your cat with grapes can lead to vomiting and subsequent kidney damage.

5. Caffeine: Caffeine poisoning can occur if the cat is given a large enough dose of caffeine. It causes heavy heart palpitations with may turn fatal.

6. Chocolate: All kinds of chocolate contain theobromine. The most dangerous kind is dark chocolate. This ingredient is fatal for a cat. It may cause seizures and death.

7. Candy: A sweetening agent called Xylitol is used in candy which increases the insulin levels in a cat’s body. This may lead to liver failure.

8. Raw eggs and meat: The bacteria content in raw eggs may cause poisoning and a certain protein present in raw eggs hinders the absorption of vitamin B and damages their skin and coat.

I hope that with this information you are better equipped to care for your pet. But, no matter however careful you are, there might be cases of emergency. It is advised to always keep the contact numbers of your vet handy.

Being your cat’s best friend is all that you can actually do; a very wise man had once said “No one can actually own a cat. It is the cat who owns you.”

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