Lactose Intolerance In Cats

by Michael

Cat drinking milk - Photo copyright pepozzo (Flickr)

Cat drinking milk - Photo copyright pepozzo (Flickr)

Lactose is the sugar in the milk of mammals. Kittens consume lactose as a source of carbohydrates through their mother's milk (colostrum). After weaning the adult cat's diet contains very little lactose.

Most kittens can digest milk. However, some adult cats cannot digest milk and milk byproducts. I don't know the percentage of adult cats that are lactose intolerant. I would presume that your cat is lactose intolerant at least to a certain extent.

Adult cats do not have enough of the enzyme in their digestive system that aids in the digestion of lactose - milk sugars. This enzyme is called "lactase".

The result is that the milk sugars are not digested properly. The undigested lactose passes to the large intestine where is ferments due to the presence of bacteria causing gas, loose stools and diarrhea.

Undigested lactose also holds water in the small intestine. This promotes increased mobility and a large stool.

I don't think small amounts of dairy products are a problem in a cat's diet. Cats like dairy products and small treats are, I believe, perfectly acceptable.

But to put down milk in the time honoured way as has been portrayed in magazine illustrations for decades is unwise. The sensible alternative, albeit pricey, are the commercially available cat milk products.

People have become more aware of lactose intolerance in cats probably thanks to the internet.


Click here to post comments.

Simply click here to return to Cat Health Problems Submissions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Please try and upload photos that are small in size of max 500px width and 50 KB size. Large images typical of most default settings on digital cameras may fail to upload. Thanks. Comment rules: (1) respect others (2) threatening, harassing, bullying, insulting and being rude to others is forbidden (3) advocating cat cruelty is forbidden (4) trolls (I know who they are) must use real name and upload a photo of themselves. Enforcement: (1) inappropriate comments are deleted before publication and (2) commenters who demonstrate a desire to flout the rules are banned. Failure to comply with (4) results in non-publication. Lastly, please avoid adding links because spam software regards comments with links as spam and holds them in the spam folder. I delete the spam folder contents daily.