Can Cats Drink Cow’s Milk?

Can Cats Drink Cow Milk

Images of cats lapping a bowl of milk have created the impression that cow milk is a perfect delight for every cat. So, can cats drink cow’s milk?

While most cats crave a bit of milk, the supposed love between cats and cow milk is exaggerated.

Although kittens develop an affinity for milk in their early stage, they lose the enzyme necessary for lactose digestion as they grow older. Can cats drink cow’s milk? Here is what many nutritionists believe:

Most Cats Are Lactose Intolerant

Can Cats Drink Cow’s Milk?Many cats are lactose intolerant and become dehydrated when fed cow milk. The reason is that most cats lack the enzyme lactase, which helps them digest the lactose in milk.

After birth, kittens can maintain a sufficient level of lactase to break down sugar from breast milk into simpler particles, including galactose and glucose.

These two products are easier to absorb and do not cause much harm to the cat’s metabolism.

Unfortunately, adult cats do not have sufficient enzymes to process lactose, so the milk remains undigested in their digestive system.

When lactose intolerant cats drink milk, the undigested lactose passes through the intestinal tract absorbing water with it.

Similarly, bacteria in the colon ferment the unprocessed sugars, producing volatile fatty acids. As a result of these series of activities, the cats may develop stomach upset that may induce vomiting and diarrhea.

Other gastrointestinal issues that may affect your cat from drinking cow milk are bloating and flatulence.

Is there a difference between lactose intolerance and milk allergy?

In answering the question ‘can cats drink cow’s milk? First, you must understand the difference between lactose intolerance and milk allergy.

Your cat suffering from lactose intolerance is different from being allergic to milk. While lactose intolerance is the inability to digest lactose or milk sugar, milk allergy is a severe reaction to casein milk and several dairy products.

Although some symptoms of both conditions are the same, milk allergy comes with other symptoms such as increased shedding, skin redness, dryness, and itchy bottom.

If you observe milk allergy in your cat, do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with your vet for comprehensive tests and physical examination.

So, is cow milk healthy for kittens?

Can cats drink cow’s milk? So far, we can see that cow milk is not healthy for cats. But what about kittens?

Since kittens produce enough lactase to digest lactose, you would expect cow milk to benefit them, right? Well, the answer is a resounding no, and here is why.

Nursing kittens derive their nutrient from breast milk in the first eight to ten weeks (before they are old enough to eat solid food).

Like in most mammals, breast milk forms a crucial part of the kitten’s diet and is highly beneficial for their growth. However, milk from another animal species at this stage is way too strong for the kittens developing digestive system.

Cow milk contains a high amount of lactose, casein, and fat that may be too difficult for them to process and can cause:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Food allergy development
  • Heart, kidney, or liver disease

Also, note that cow milk contains high sugar and fat and is not as nutritious as adult cat milk or specialized kitten formulas.

Can my cat die from drinking too much cow milk?

Most feline owners often look for the best ways to feed and nurture their cats. Aside from the question of can my cat drink cow milk? Many cat owners want to know if their cats can die from drinking too much cow milk.

Although lactose intolerance is a problem for many cats, it is not life-threatening. However, your cat could suffer from indigestion which may be severe or mild.

Generally, symptoms may manifest within 8 to 12 hours after consumption. However, if the symptoms persist after a day, you should schedule a visit with a veterinarian as there might be a more severe cause of indigestion.

Cats are predatory animals, and as such, their metabolism is not built to process high amounts of sugar.

Feeding cow milk to your cat could have a long-term effect on her health. A cat’s diet high in carbs could result in several conditions, including diabetes, obesity, intestinal blockage, pancreatic disease, liver, and kidney failure.

What type of milk can my cat drink?

Can cats drink cow’s milk? No. So the question is, what type of milk is suitable for my cat. The following are some types of milk you can give to your cat;

1.      Kitten milk replacer (KMR)

Kitten milk replacer is a unique cat milk formula available in pet stores. It contains less lactase which reduces the likelihood of your cat falling sick.

KMR comes in canned and powdered forms. Note that unique cat milk formula contains a high amount of fat.

So, it would help if you offered it in small quantities to your pet or as an occasional treat.

2.      Goat milk

Goat milk contains less lactose than cow milk, so it is easier for cats to digest it. Similarly, goat milk has less fat than cow milk.

However, it would be best if you serve your cat with limited amounts to prevent any medical condition resulting from a high-fat diet.

3.      Almond milk

Almonds are not toxic to cats. As a result, you can safely give your cat almond milk. However, you must note that almond milk has a high-calorie content and should be given to your cat in limited quantities.

4.      Soy milk

Soy milk is also perfect for cats as it is a good protein source. Milk made from soy can be found in many cat food stores and supermarkets.

The main problem with soy milk is that it is a leading food allergen in many pet food. As a result, it should not be given to cats with food allergies.

4 Milk alternatives for your cat or kitten

Goats Milk for CatsThe Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Goat's Milk 12 pkHuman grade
No GMO, preservatives or by-products
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Whiskas CatmilkWhiskas CatmilkBeef flavor
Protein rich
98% reduced lactose
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Dehydrated cows milk base
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KMR Kitten Milk Replacer PetAg KMR Kitten Milk Replacer Milk Powder Formula Newborn to 6 WeeksPrebiotics probiotics
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Tailspring Milk Replacer LiquidTailspring Milk Replacer for Kittens in Liquid FormNo mixing
Goat milk base
Human grade
No preservatives or artificials
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Best way to feed your cat milk

Dairy products should only be used as occasional treats for your cat. An average-sized house cat should consume about 200 calories per day. Therefore, any treatment should not exceed 10% of the daily requirement.

Conclusion- Can cats drink cow’s milk?

Although milk is not lethal to cats, it should be given only in moderate quantities.

If your cat experiences stomach upset, vomiting and diarrhea, they are likely lactose intolerant, and you should discontinue feeding it milk.

So, cats cannot drink cows milk, but can they eat chocolate? That’s the topic for our next article.

10 Fun Facts about Calico Cats

Fun Facts about Calico Cats

Calico cats are a curiosity. Their patterned colored coats, interesting genetics and friendly nature make calico cats a favorite choice for prospective cat owners. In this article we will delve into some interesting fun facts about calico cats.

Fun Facts About Calico Cats- Questions Answered!


Are Calico Cats a Breed in Themselves?

There is no single calico breed. Rather, calico is in reference to the color variations in a cat’s coat. Although black, orange, and white are the most common calico colors, some cats may have bluish-black, cream, red, or chocolate brown in their coats.

The calico cat coat coloring can occur in any cat breed, whether a Persian, Manx or Japanese Bobtail. Calico coat coloring is unique to domesticated cats, and haven’t been seen in wild pure strain cats.


Calico Cats

What’s Difference Between Calico and Tortoiseshell Cats?

As with calico cats, tortoise shell cats are not a specific cat breed. The difference between the two comes down to their color. Calico cats have three colors, whilst tortoise shell cats have two colors in their coat. Calico will have white fur patches in the mix.

Why are Calico Cats Mostly Female?

Now this fact will astound you! I would say it is definitely the most interesting of the fun facts about calico cats. The calico cat color is determined at their conception. Only if the embryo receives one orange-coded X chromosome and one black-coded X chromosome will it be calico, thus expressing both black and orange coloration. A cat must receive both of these genes for color, one from each parent, in order to have fur with orange and black patches.

When this pairing of chromosomes occurs, the female embryo will shut down one X chromosome in each cell, resulting in the black and orange variations in a calico’s coat.

Calicoes are almost always female because their coloring is related to the X chromosome. Two X chromosomes are required for a kitty to have that distinctive tri-color coat. If a cat has an XX pair, she will always be female. Male cats have an XY chromosome pair, so they will never be Calicos (except in rare circumstances- see explanation later in the article).

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Calico Cats

Do Calico Cats Have a Friendly Personality?

Calicoes tend not to share the personality trait of tortoiseshell cats commonly described as “tortitude.” They are sassy, spirited and independent. On the other hand, calico cats are loving, sweet and loyal cats. If you yearn for unconditional love, a calico cat will gladly and enthusiastically fulfill that need.

Both Calicos and Tortoiseshells are commonly talkative. They make their presence and needs known with anything from a hiss to a meow to a strong purr. These traits tend to be stronger in tortoiseshell felines than in calicos– it seems as though these personality traits are somewhat diluted with the addition of more white in the cats coat!

Is There Any Such Thing as a Male Calico Cat?

For a tom cat to have a calico pattern, the feline must have three sex chromosomes- two Xs and a Y. This event can happen in both humans and animals and is, in either case, known as Klinefelter syndrome. It isn’t very common with calico cats, about 1 in every 3000.

As a result of having an XXY chromosome trio, the cat is not entirely male. It will have male sexual organs; however, they will not develop fully. All male calico cats will be sterile.

Calico Cats

How Long Do Calico Cats Live For?

The average, a Calico Cat will live twelve to fifteen years. However, some calicos have been known to live twenty years or more. When nutritional requirements are optimal and other cat needs are met, then calico cats’ lives will be greatly extended.

Due to the genetic disorder that the rare male calico cats have (Kylie-Filter syndrome), the male usually has a shorter life span. This is due to their genetic accompanying health problems.

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Do Calico Cats Have Any Major Health Issues?

Generally, calico cats are free from any major health dispositions. However, this isn’t the case for male calico cats. Due to their genetic disposition, they are fraught with health challenges.

Klinefelter Syndrome can lead to several health problems such as the risk of fractures and diabetes. They tend to have cognitive and developmental issues that can lead to behavioral problems. In addition, increased body fat brings about conditions such as joint pain, heart disease, and diabetes. These health problems lead to a shorter lifespan.

With all calico cats, it can be difficult to spot skin conditions. This is because of their patchwork colors, making it difficult to see issues. The good news is, calicoes don’t tend to have many skin issues.

Regardless of whether your cat is a feline or tom, you can help them have a good quality of life by providing them with good shelter, feeding them a wholesome diet, and providing quality veterinary care when needed

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Are Calico Cats Rare?

Female calico cats are quite common. Calicoes are considered a good luck charm all over the world. In the United States, calico cats are sometimes referred to as “money cats” because they bring good fortune to their owners. In Germany, the word  “Glückskatze” or “lucky cat” is used for a cat with calico coloring is

Male Calico cats are rare. About 1 in every 3000 calico cats is a male.

Do Calico Cats Give Birth to Calico Kittens?

Due to their unique genetic makeup (and the fact that male calico cats are born sterile), calico cats cannot be bred. Rather, nature produces these colorful kitties randomly.

Where Did Calico Cats Originate?

While nobody knows for sure where Calico cats originated, it is thought that they originated in Egypt. From there, they may have been brought down along the Mediterranean to port cities in France, Spain and Italy.

The Ultimate Care Guide for Calico Cat Owners
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10 Fun Facts About Calico Cats

  • Calico cats have different names in different cultures. In the Holland they are called logjesket, which means “slap cat”, and in Japan – mi ki, which means “triple fur”.
  • Calico cats are regarded as being a symbol of good luck and fortune in many places in the world.
  • Calico Cats are Brave – The calico cat saved the Japanese railway station from shutting down. In 2007, Kanokawa Station was close to closing due to budget troubles. As a last resort, the city dispatched a domestic calico cat as the stationmaster, where she greeted passers-by. The calico cat became a celebrity, which led to a 17% increase in station attendance.
  • Sometimes referred to as Chintz- an archaic term for a tortoiseshell and white.
  • Calico cats are not a breed and cannot be specifically bred.
  • It is thought that calico cats treat warts. Wipe the wart on the calico cat’s tail in May and it will go away. We haven’t tested this notion!
  • Each calico is unique in color, and temperament, that you’re unlikely to encounter two of the same.
  • Female dominance is a unique inheritance of calicoes. Coat color means 0.999.9% of calico cats are female.
  • Male Calico cats are sterile and are burdened with health problems.
  • The coat color of calico cats is a mixture of black, orange and white.

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Fun Facts About Calico Cats Final Thoughts

Calicoes are often referred to as the world’s most colorful cats. After all, they are one of the only cats to exhibit such a wide range of color variations in its coat. Their attractive coats, unusual genetics and friendly nature make them a wonderful pet choice- they may even bring you and your family good fortune! There are many more fun facts about calico cats which we will delve further in a later post.

Further information 

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