Hey Pet Parents & Pet Lovers,
Something a lot of new pet parents don’t know if you shouldn’t give a cat cows milk as it can cause them an upset stomach, so… what kind of milk is safe for them to have? Well, of course, there are all sorts of pet safe milk such as WHISKAS CATMILK PLUS Drink for Cats and Kittens, Cat Sip Real Milk Treat for Cats and Kittens, KMR – Kitten Milk Replacer, PetLac Milk Powder for Kittens, and PetAg Catsure Powder.
but are there any human-grade kinds of milk that cats can have?
Can cats drink Soy/Soya milk?
The answer is unfortunately no. Cats cannot and should not have human-grade Soy/Soya milk.
Why? I thought cats weren’t able to drink cows milk because of the lactose, Soy doesn’t have lactose!
Well, the thing is, even though Soy doesn’t have lactose inside, it does have other components that can upset your little one’s stomach. Soy milk has “anti-nutritional factors” which are components that are quite difficult for a cat to digest. Unfortunately, if you give soy milk to a kitty, much like cow’s milk, it might give them diarrhea or other gastrointestinal issues. Now this, like many other things, depends on the type of soy milk you give them. There is a lot of pet-safe milk that do not contain these “anti-nutritional factors” and do not contain extra sugars, but it will be extremely difficult to find them in human-grade soy milk.
What are the ingredients I should be wary of?
Much like lactose, it’s the milk’s sugars. For soy, in particular, these are called Stachyose and Raffinose. Now, these are usually digested in the gut, but cat’s enzymes have issues breaking them down and can cause them to throw up, or again… have digestive issues.
Soy Milk doesn’t have the nutrients a cat needs to survive anyways…
A lot of times what folks don’t realize is cats actually don’t benefit from a lot of milk. While yes, it’s a great way to get liquids into your little one, it actually has no nutritional value to them. Being obligate carnivores, cats get most of their nutrients from meat. Unless you’re feeding your kitty some cat specific milk, you will not find these nutrients.
Are there any other issues with feeding my cat soy milk?
Well because of the sugars and calorie count, it can also lead to obesity or teeth rot. For example, a cup of soy milk can contain around 100 calories, while an average cat only needs about 200 calories a day. So if you’re trading calories that they need with empty calories, your cat may be on the road to malnutrition. Long-term soy milk consumption in cats has also been linked to liver failure and thyroid problems, so please make sure not to make it habit to feed your kitty this delicious drink. A less severe side effect is actually bloating, which can cause a lot of discomfort to your kitty. While not as severe, it can be very uncomfortable for your cat, and you’re going to want to avoid that as much as possible.
Well… I only give my cat a little bit of milk as a treat!!
Okay, okay… I hear you. I’ll be honest, I’ve let Walker and Beau drink very diluted milk in the past before too. The important difference is it’s diluted! If you’re giving your kitty the last few licks of your cereal or watering down the milk by quite a lot (1-milk to 10-water), you’re probably in the clear. Just be sure to watch out for kitties with urinary issues, because it definitely won’t help their situation. I would still recommend this as being a very rare treat and would still suggest getting some cat safe alternatives. Because cats have a more sensitive digestive tract, you have to be more careful to not make things habit so they don’t become an issue later on.
My cat(s) has/have been drinking milk all of their life, and they have had no issues!
Well, you’re lucky! Your kitty/kitties is/are one/some of the few that can actually break down lactose! Now, note, this is pretty rare, and your future kitties may not have the same luck, so try to be safe and monitor your cats. Also note: not all side effects are as clear as throwing up or diarrhea. One of the most common is the bloating, which again causes quite a bit of discomfort for your little one. So if your cat ever seems bloated you may want to rethink this treat, because it may be the beginning of a not so happy journey.