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
Amazon Buy Cat Food
Chewy Buy Cat Food
Whiskas CatmilkWhiskas CatmilkBeef flavor
Protein rich
98% reduced lactose
Vitamin enriched
Dehydrated cows milk base
Amazon Buy Cat Food
KMR Kitten Milk Replacer PetAg KMR Kitten Milk Replacer Milk Powder Formula Newborn to 6 WeeksPrebiotics probiotics
Complete diet
Amazon Buy Cat Food
Chewy Buy Cat Food
Tailspring Milk Replacer LiquidTailspring Milk Replacer for Kittens in Liquid FormNo mixing
Goat milk base
Human grade
No preservatives or artificials
Amazon Buy Cat Food


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.

What Do 4 Week Old Kittens Eat?

What can 4 week old kittens eat

Not only will we address our viewer’s question, ‘What do 4 week old kittens eat?’, but we review several kitten food products that you can buy in preparation for your kittens arrival to your home.

A critical time for kittens

Taking care of 4-week-old kittens can be an overwhelming job. It’s around the age where a kitten should just be beginning the weaning process from its mother. It is the most important time to be providing foods that boost growth and development.

So, what do you need to know about getting messy in the kitchen and looking after your young cats?

It’s important to get specific when feeding your kittens by following criteria that will ensure they grow strong and healthy.

When should you feed 4 week old kittens?

what do 4 week old kittens eatThe older your kittens get, the space between feeding them gets longer. Kittens less than 4 weeks tend to need feeding every few hours and 4-week-old kittens should be fed around every six hours.

However, it’s crucial that once you’ve picked a feeding routine, you should stick to it to avoid unnecessary stress on your pet.

What do 4-week-old kittens eat?

4-week-old kittens can be fed a ‘gruel mixture’, cat food to help in the process of weaning and easing them into eating solid foods safely. Gruel is made up of kitten replacement formula (used to replace its mother’s milk), warm water and high quality wet or dry kitten food, stirred to oatmeal consistency. Our recommended kitten foods can be found below.

Gruel is the best option as you can slowly create a thicker and thicker mixture over the following weeks, until your kitten has transitioned to plain food.

If your cat doesn’t take to the diet immediately, don’t stress! Just include the milk addition to make sure they’re getting enough calories. Most milk replacements contain 1 calorie per millilitre and 4-week-old kittens generally need about 8 calories per ounce of body weight.

Getting Started

There are a few important things to note before you jump straight into the kitchen!

Milk replacements should never be sourced from cow’s milk, it doesn’t have the nutrients your kitten needs and can cause gastrointestinal upset.

Teaching 4-week-old kittens how to eat thicker foods might be a bit new to you too, but here are some tips:

After washing your hands, stick a bit of gruel on the tip of your finger and place it in the kitten’s mouth. Slowly let it follow your finger back to the bowl of gruel until it starts to eat by itself.

Make sure your gruel is made with good quality products specifically made for kittens. It should be labelled on the packet you buy, or to save you some time, we’ve listed our favourites here.


Our recommended foods for 4-week-old kittens

Purina ONE Healthy Kitten Formula Dry Cat Food

Purina One Healthy Kitten Formula

4.7 Star rating

Purina One Cat Food is a popular cat food brand, because of its more affordable prices and stated high protein content. The Purina One Healthy Kitten Formula Dry Cat Food’s number one ingredient is real chicken and can be bought in bags ranging from 3.5lb to 16lb.

  • Made from real higher quality chicken, peas and carrots.
  • Contains DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid usually found in the mother’s milk that’s good for brain development.
  • A source of 4 antioxidants, including vitamin E and A.
  • Texture and taste are appealing to kittens, helping them transition to their new diet.
  • More affordable than a variety of other cat food brand alternatives
  • One flavour variety
  • Chicken by-product 2nd ingredient
  • Rice flour and corn/soy meal ingredients included
Buy on Amazon Buy on Chewy


Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free Kitten Dry Cat Food

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain Free Dry Kitten Food

4.8 Star Rating

Blue Buffalo is a well-establish cat food brand, acknowledged especially for its lack of artificial flavours, preservatives and by-products of chicken and poultry. The Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free Natural Kitten Dry Cat Food, Chicken can come in 2lb and 5lb bags, along with a bag bundle option that includes a salmon grain-free canned kitten food.

  • A high protein meal option
  • Made from real chicken and other poultry.
  • Grain, soy and corn free.
  • Contains DHA/ARA, omega-3 fatty acids usually found in the mother’s milk, essential nutrients for healthy brain development.
  • Contains taurine, another essential nutrient for healthy heart and brain functioning.
  • No chicken/poultry by-products and no artificial flavours or preservatives
  • A slightly more expensive option than other cat food brands.
Buy on Amazon Buy on Chewy


Wellness Complete Health Kitten Canned Wet Cat Food

Wellness Complete Health Kitten Canned Wet Food Pate

4.6 Star Rating

Wellness Complete Health Kitten Canned Wet Cat Food, Chicken Pate is a meat-based wet food option that comes in packs of 24 cans, either 3 ounces or 5.5 ounces. This product can be bought as a bundle that includes the CORE Natural Grain Free Turkey & Chicken Liver Pate Canned Kitten Food.

  • Real chicken is the number one ingredient (other recipes available too).
  • High protein content.
  • Contains added taurine, to ensure healthy brain and heart functioning.
  • Wet food provides kitten with extra hydration.
  • No wheat, soy, preservatives or added artificial flavourings.
  • Can be bought in bulk, particular beneficial if feeding more than one kitten
  • Slightly on the pricier side for the amount of product you receive.
Buy on Amazon Buy on Chewy


Purina Pro Plain Focus Kitten Favourites Variety Pack Canned Food

Purina Pro Plan Canned Kitten Food Pack

4.5 Star Rating

Purina Pro Plan variety pack includes 24 cans of high protein wet kitten food offering nutritionally balanced meals with a choice of three recipes.

  • A tender texture, easier for kittens to digest in most cases.
  • Contains taurine, good for developing healthy heart and brain functioning.
  • Contains DHA and vitamin A, which helps develop keen eye vision.
  • An appealing flavour for kittens.
  • High protein content.
  • Real poultry/fish
  • Health-checked for quality and safety in the US
  • Some kittens can be fussy about the soft, dense consistency of the wet food.
  • Uses artificial and natural flavoring.
Buy on Amazon Buy on Chewy


What do 4 week old kittens eat? Final Thoughts. 

What Do Four Week Old Kittens EatBeing prepared is key to your new kitten getting the nutrients it needs. Having the correct kitten food ready to go before kitty arrives to live with you is important and will allow for a smooth weaning process.

Observe as your kitten adjusts to its new diet. If it develops gastro problems or is resistant to eating the kitten food, then take a step back. Moving from kitten milk formula (or mother cat milk) to a dry or wet kitten food is a gradual process and shouldn’t be rushed.


A Final Word

Cat Food Advisor is privately owned. We do not accept money, samples, gifts, or other incentives in exchange for special consideration in preparing our reviews.

However, we do receive a referral fee from online retailers, like Chewy or Amazon (at no extra cost to you) when readers click over to their websites from ours. This helps cover the cost of operation of our free blog. Thanks for your support.

For more information, please visit our Disclaimer and Disclosure page.