Cats should not drink milk at all. Most vets recommend that you do not give your cat any milk as most cats are lactose intolerant, and dairy products can cause health issues, such as allergies, digestive problems, liver problems, and skin problems.
Cats should not drink milk because they lose the lactase enzyme once they stop weaning their mother’s milk.
So, can cats drink oat milk? Oat milk can be drunk by cats. However, it should not be part of your cat’s regular diet and should only be used as an occasional treat. A tablespoon or two once a week, no more than that.
Oat milk is made by grinding oats together and adding water. It should only be an occasional treat because cats are carnivores and cannot digest grains or vegetables properly. Grains and vegetables are not part of its natural diet, and its digestive system is not equipped to handle them.
Oat milk provides no nutritional value for cats and can bloat the cat, reducing food intake and water intake. For hydration, the best option is for fresh, clean water readily available. Especially if your cat is on a dry food diet.
Since oat milk is lower in fat and has no lactose, it is not as bad as animal-based milk for your cat. Therefore, the odd tablespoon of oat milk will not be too harmful. Some cats quite enjoy the taste of oat milk and can be used as a treat.
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Can cats drink cow’s milk?
Cats should not drink cow’s milk – ever. Forget about the pictures of healthy-looking cats drinking a bowl of milk. Most cats are lactose intolerant, and cow’s milk can cause allergies, vomiting, and/or diarrhea.
By the time a kitten is two months old, it is weaned from its mothers’ milk onto solids and loses the lactase enzyme to break down lactose in milk and dairy products.
As well as this, cow’s milk is high in fat and sugar. Even if your cat is not lactose intolerant, regular cow’s milk can cause diabetes, digestive problems such as diarrhea or vomiting, and skin pigmentation.
Can cats drink goat’s milk?
Goat’s milk is lower in fat, sugar, and lactose than cow’s milk. So it is suitable as an occasional treat for your feline. A couple of tablespoons once a week at the most.
As with cow’s milk, goat’s milk offers very little in the way of nutritional value for cats. And therefore, it should be saved as an occasional treat rather than part of their diet. But it is much better health-wise than cow’s milk for your cat.
Can cats drink plant-based milk?
This is a definite no. Cats cannot digest the protein in plant-based milk, and this can lead to digestive problems. Such as diarrhea or vomiting.
Plant-based milk includes;
- Soy milk
- Almond milk
- Coconut milk
Although these are lactose-free, they are high in fat. Extra fat in your cats’ diet can cause liver problems and issues with the pancreas.
What can my cat drink?
Kittens drink their mother’s milk up until they are fully weaned at two months old. This is the only milk that is good for a cat to drink.
Once the kitten has been weaned, it starts to lose the lactase enzyme to digest milk. Most cats are lactose intolerant. Milk provides no nutritional value at all to cats once they have stopped taking their mother’s milk.
Other animal milk sources tend to have a high fat and sugar content which can cause digestive problems for cats.
Cats are unable to process the protein in plant-based milk, so these should be avoided.
The only liquid a cat should be drinking once weaned is water.
My Cat Doesn’t Like Water, what should it drink?
Cats have a powerful sense of smell. If you are using a plastic water bowl, you could try switching to a glass bowl or a metal bowl. Glass or metal is easier to clean, and don’t hold onto odors as much as plastic.
It is also worth noting that you should clean the water bowl regularly and always put fresh water out daily. Ensure that you thoroughly rinse the bowl after washing it, as any detergent odors will put your cat off from drinking from the bowl. You may not be able to smell any scents from the detergent, but your cat will.
It may be that your cat doesn’t like the tap water in your area, so that you could try filtered water.
Some cats only like drinking running water. If you are not always available to run the tap when your cat wants a drink, it may be worth investing in a water fountain. This option will ensure that your cat always has access to freshwater.
Another alternative is if you make chicken or beef broth and freeze them in an ice cube tray. Then you can drop one or two cubes into their water bowl to add some flavor to their water. This is an alternative, healthier option.
Some cats like plain water ice cubes in their water. A much healthier option than milk as a drink.
What About Young Kittens?
Suppose you have a pre-weaned kitten who doesn’t have access to its mother’s milk, for whatever reason. Don’t despair. There are other options available.
It is not always possible to have access to another nursing cat, but you can get milk specifically for nursing kittens. These are available at most vets and pet food stores. Some come in baby formula powder or pre-made liquid form. You will also need a baby-type bottle as the kitten may not be able to lap up the milk.
You should not give a nursing kitten any other type of milk. This can cause gastro problems, as well as reducing the cat’s life span.
I hope that you found this article helpful.