Although cats are obligate carnivores, there are certain ingredients or products for humans that are safe for cats to consume (meaning it is not toxic), and cow’s or goat’s milk is one of them. Many people think that this is the favorite drink of cats, but they can’t be more wrong! Although kittens can consume small amounts of cow’s milk without problems, most adult cats are lactose intolerant. Lactose intolerance is manifested through bloating, flatulence, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, etc. Now, here comes the question of whether cats can consume vegan milk or vegan milk by-products?
The most popular types of vegan milk are almond milk or soy milk. Almonds and soy are two safe ingredients for cats, but there are still cats that are allergic to soy.
Even if vegan almond, soy, oat, coconut, or rice milk are safe to drink (unless your cat is allergic), they should be given in moderation because they can cause gastrointestinal problems. Most plant-based milk options can be found on the market are already sweetened or contain a lot of fat and their consumption can lead in time to tooth decay, obesity and other health problems. Dairy substitutes like vegan cream, sour cream, ice cream, butter, yogurt or cheese, should also be offered in small amounts as they can cause abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, vomiting, etc. Also, products containing xylitol should be avoided in pets, as it is toxic.
Even if we are talking about cow’s or goat’s milk, it is well known that almost any cat would drink milk regardless of its age. The kittens are fully weaned at the age of 8-9 weeks, and during this time they will drink their mother’s milk or be fed special formulas for cats. In the kittens’ stomach is an enzyme that allows them to break down lactose from their mother’s milk, which is missing in adult cats. Therefore, adult cats are lactose intolerant, and although they may have digestive problems that give them a hard time, they still continue to consume it. But what really attracts cats so much to milk? It is known that cats do not perceive the sweet taste – they do not have sweet taste buds. So that’s not why cats like milk! What really attracts them so much is the fat in the milk (it is high in fats).
Regarding goat’s milk, although it is more nutritious and contains less fat than cow’s milk, it can still cause your cat’s digestive problems because it also contains lactose. But cats do not need extra fat as long as they have a quality and balanced diet. Too much fat can lead to an obese cat.
However, if your cat is not lactose intolerant, it is a good idea to purchase cow’s or goat’s milk with less fat to prevent your cat from becoming obese.
Cats can drink vegan milk (soy, almond, hazelnut, etc.), meaning that is not toxic for them, but this doesn’t mean they are supposed to. Even if soy or almond milk does not contain milk, it can still cause your cat some digestive problems such as bloating, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, etc. In addition, excess calories can “help” your cat become obese, and obesity, like in humans, can become fatal.
Now, if some vegan milk happened to spill on the floor and your cat licked it from there, be sure that nothing happens.
Also, there are cats that are allergic to soy and this allergy, as in dogs, is manifested through excessive scratching, hair loss, red skin, etc.
In our opinion it doesn’t matter if the soy milk is organic or bio, it still doesn’t give your cat the essential nutrients its organism needs to function properly.
Like soy milk, almond milk does not contain essential nutrients for your cat. So it should be offered in exceptional cases. Their only benefit is that they do not contain lactose and are less likely to cause associated gastrointestinal problems and can be a good substitute for cow’s or goat’s milk.
Hazelnut milk should not be undrinkable for your cat unless it is allergic to hazelnuts. Like almond milk, hazelnut milk contains a lot of fat, being contraindicated in your cat’s diet. Also, the hazelnut milk that is found on the market has high sugar content, which is not good for your cat’s health.
Rice milk is obtained by pressing the rice. To make it taste better, sweeteners are added, in addition to preservatives and other artificial ingredients. It is not toxic to your cat, but it is not necessary to add it to its diet. Cats will not look for plant-based milk or other sources of vegetarian food.
Like vegan soy or almond milk, rice milk can cause gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, etc.
!Never raise a kitten with vegan milk, whether it’s soy, almonds, or rice. These can cause diarrhea and compromise the life of the kitten. Moreover, they do not contain the necessary nutrients that a kitten needs to develop and grow harmoniously. If you have a kitten that lost its mother, but who still feeds on milk, you can buy milk specially formulated for cats.
In general, oat milk is safe for consumption, and compared to cow’s milk, it is easier to digest by your cat. But like any other vegan milk, oat milk is not beneficial for your cat in any way.
If you still want to give your cat oat milk, then choose one that is as little processed as possible. The quantities offered should be small. Highly processed oat milk can have the same negative effects on your cat’s digestive system as cow’s milk.
Coconut milk is safe for consumption by your cat, but as with almond or hazelnut milk, it is concentrated in fat. Also, cats do not have an optimal digestive system to digest vegetable protein; therefore, consuming coconut milk in large quantities can lead to digestive problems and obesity.
Chocolate is toxic to both cats and dogs. The toxic compound in chocolate is called theobromine and is found in cocoa beans. Intoxication is directly proportional to the amount of chocolate (cocoa) your cat consumes. Dark chocolate has a higher concentration in cocoa than milk chocolate, which makes it more dangerous.
Common symptoms of theobromine intoxication include vomiting, tremors, agitation, hyperactivity, seizures, high heart rate, and eventually the death of the pet.
If your cat has consumed chocolate milk, it is best to consult your veterinarian for advice on what to do next. So it is out of the question if chocolate vegan milk is good for your cat!
Whether it is rice and oats, coconut, soy, or another vegan ingredient, condensed milk has a much higher amount of sugar than normal, and is not recommended to be given to your cat for consumption. As mentioned at the beginning of the article, cats do not have sweet taste buds, and too much sugar can cause various health problems.
As long as your cat has no adverse reactions from consuming milk, it may consume whole milk, skim milk, or lactose-free milk, but in small amounts.
Cats can drink lactose-free milk, but there is no reason why you should give your cat something like that. If, however, your cat has developed an unusual taste for lactose-free milk, you can give it to it from time to time as a treat.
The most suitable is the lactose-free milk specially formulated for cats, but even if it provides hydration to your cat, it also contains many calories and you risk your cat becoming obese.
What you need to remember is that you can give lactose-free milk to your cat, but in moderation, because it is not intended to be an important part of your cat’s daily diet. The same goes for unsweetened, salt-free, fat-free, or additives-free milk.
Although there are many types of vegan yogurt, it doesn’t offer any nutritional benefits to cats. It can be made from oats and fava beans, soy, coconut, or other vegan ingredients. If it doesn’t contain chocolate, avocado, or macadamia nuts (I’ll talk about them below), it’s safe for consumption.
Vegan cream is made from soy, oats, or cashews; none of which are toxic to cats. It is not toxic to your cat, but even if it consumes it, it does not offer any nutritional benefits. It should be offered in small quantities and rarely.
Vegan sour cream is mostly prepared from cashews, which are rich in protein and other nutrients, but they don’t provide any benefits to your cat’s organism. However it can be given as a treat from time to time. Any excess leads to health problems.
No ice cream is good for cats; although vegan ice cream is milk-free, it has a high concentration in fats and sugar. Some non-dairy ice creams are also fat-free, but it will still cause your cat gastrointestinal problems if given often.
Vegan Butter is made from olive, avocado, coconut, palm kernel oil, or another combination of oils. It is better to avoid giving your cat avocado oil (avocado skin is toxic to cats). Any other oil is safe if given in small quantities, but not necessary.
Although vegan cheese is lactose-free, it contains a lot of fat and salt and is contraindicated to give to cats.
! To remember:
If you are a vegan and want your cat to have some small bites of your favorite food from time to time, it is important to remember that chocolate, avocado, and macadamia nuts are toxic for your fluffy friend. These ingredients should be avoided at all costs.
Chocolate causes seizures, vomiting, tremor, elevated heart rate, diarrhea, hyperactivity, and even death.
The consumption of whole macadamia nuts or products that contain them can lead to digestive, nervous, and muscle problems such as weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors, and elevated body temperature. As with grapes or raisins, it is not known what makes them toxic to pets.
When it comes to avocadoes, their skin contains persin – an organic compound known to be toxic for cats and dogs.
Also, avoid at all costs sweetened dairy substitutes; the ones that contain xylitol. This is not a commonly used sweetener in vegan milk and other dairy substitutes but is best to double-check.
Cats should not eat vegan food because their digestive system is not built to process vegetable protein. All vegan dairy products can cause your cat digestive problems if consumed in excess.
The best alternative is to buy milk specially formulated for cats, but it should also be offered in moderation because it contains a lot of fat.
Most vegan dairy substitutes are not toxic to cats. They can be consumed rarely and in small quantities.
Please pay special attention to products that contain chocolate, avocado, or macadamia nuts, as they are toxic to your cat.
The sweetener xylitol, which is not very common in vegan dairy products, is also toxic to pets.
Cow’s or goat’s milk contains lactose, and most adult cats are lactose intolerant. In addition to digestive problems, they can also cause obesity if consumed in excess, because they have a lot of fat in their composition.
If you have a small kitten without a mother to nurture it, you can buy milk that is designed for cats from your local pet-shop or veterinary clinic. Do not give them cow’s or goat’s milk because they are too high in fat.
We hope this article has answered all your questions about cats, vegan milk, and dairy substitutes.
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