Pet Tips

Tip 45 – Cat drinking milk – Can my cat drink milk

Must kittens and cats drink milk? This is one of those cat questions that confuse most new cat owners as well as the general public. Kittens need to drink THEIR MOTHER’S milk while they are nursing. It is full of the fat and protein that they need to grow rapidly and survive.

Cats and kittens can drink COW’s milk OCCASIONALLY but they do not need to drink it. A cat can easily live its whole life without ever having cow’s milk. Most feral or wild cats never have cow’s milk.

Like humans, many cats and kittens are lactose intolerant. They cannot digest cow’s milk properly and they get diarrhea or gastric upset when they drink it. Kittens that become lactose intolerant usually only become intolerant after they are about 3 months of age, so THEIR mother’s milk shouldn’t cause any gastric upset. If your cat or kitten gets diarrhea as a result of drinking cow’s milk, stop giving it milk and it should pass. Some cat owners who have lactose intolerant cats that are ‘milkaholics’ do occasionally give them lactose free milk. You can find lactose free milk in pet stores. If your cat digests milk without a problem then you can give it the occasional milk treat.

Remember – Cow’s milk should never be the primary or regular food source for any cat or kitten since it is missing many essential ingredients to keep your feline healthy.

11 Responses to this Article, So Far

  1. Avatar Tamara says:

    Hi, I have a very unusual cat which I rescued from a local animal shelter. Her mother was feral & was euthanized as soon as she came into the shelter as she was quite out of control. The story related to my cat is that she remains somewhat fearful, but waits at her bowl every morning for a taste of homogenized (cow) milk. I do give her hard kibble as well, but she cries for her milk every day. The amazing thing is that she has regular bowel moments. They’re small, but stinky, but very regular. I see no evidence of stomach upset, contrary to what I’ve heard with respect to milk consumption in cats.

  2. Avatar toni says:

    Hi, my kitten is 12 weeks old and still LOVES to drink goats milk instead of water. Is it ok for me to keep giving it to her? (Of course she is on a regular diet and her bowel movements are normal) And if so, is there any point in time i would have to stop if its not bothering her?

  3. Avatar maria says:

    I would like to know that by giving cows milk is it ok?my cat is pregnant,

    • Avatar Marko says:

      The fact that your cat is pregnant doesn’t make a difference as far as I know. Cow’s milk should be given only as an occasional treat and only if your cat can tolerate it.

  4. Avatar tsuki says:

    So I found this kitten 3 weeks ago, she around 3 to 4 months old, and she simply Wont drink water. At all. She however loves milk, I asked a couple of friends who owns cats and they said its fine to give milk but after reading all the milk related problems today… I’m not so sure. She seems fine though, playful and all, doesn’t have upset stomach or anything from what I can see. I cant monitor her constantly since she lives near the roof now and goes hiding when people come near, she wont even let me pet her, I just wanted to know if cows milk is okay for her. Thanks.

    • Avatar Marko says:

      I’ve never heard of a cat that won’t drink water…stop feeding the cat milk and the cat will drink water. Cats, like humans are hardwired to survive and drinking water is part of that survival.
      A large percentage of cats get diarrhea and loose stools when they drink too much milk….I’m not convinced this is a good idea, but I’m not a vet.
      I’d likely call my vet’s office to ask this question – they probably won’t charge you for it.

  5. Avatar thomas says:

    i found 5 kittens abandoned in the street ; they have dry food and water.

    they are active but scrawny and their coats are bad———–suggestions?

  6. Avatar Kota says:

    I have 4 kits that barely 4 weeks old. The mother is preggos again, and has rejected these guys. I brought them in from the barn and they are eating kitten formula crunchies well enough, but should I get a substitute formula for them for a couple weeks?

  7. Avatar carl says:

    Hello. I have to female kittens and i tried to give them water and yet they wouldnt touch it, i got woeried pthat they would get thirsty so i gave a bit of milk and they drank up the hole bowl, im at a loss of what o do

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