Should Cats Drink Milk?

Iconic to cat ownership is the image of a fluffy kitty perched on a counter top, contentedly lapping up a bowl of milk. You never hear anybody recommending milk to cats, though. Why?

Flat out, it’s because cats don’t actually need milk. It doesn’t provide any sort of nutritional benefit to them, and quite a few of them are lactose intolerant.

Aside from how leaving a bowl of milk out for a long time is a bad idea, cats should not be given milk as their primary source of fluid. Cats need clean water to survive, and should not be given milk as a replacement under any circumstance.

As a treat, however, your cat may enjoy it. You can try giving it a small bowl to see how it reacts, but be prepared for kitty to potentially wind up with indigestion. If you don’t feel like dealing with what could end up being a disaster on your carpets, you can find cat’s milk in many pet stores.

Cat’s milk is a milk substitute (much like milk substitute for humans) that is specifically designed for cats. It should only be given as a treat, since it still doesn’t provide any nutritional value, but it will at least let you avoid the digestive issues associated with lactose intolerant cats and milk.

Sadly, then, the image of the happy kitty drinking milk doesn’t really hold much ground, since it doesn’t quite work right with most cats. It’s a shame though, I always thought the idea was cute.