Why do people think milk is good for cats?

Why do people think milk is good for cats? Answer: because cats like milk because (a) the fat content attracts them and (b) it is comforting – a reminder of kittenhood.

Milk or water for your cat?
Milk or water for your cat?
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

But cats don’t realise that “milk” for humans is cows milk. Cows milk is made by a cow for calves and not for humans or cats.

For this reason some cats and people are lactose intolerant. We don’t make enough of the enzyme lactase to break down the sugar content of milk called “lactose”.

The result of drinking “milk” if a person is lactose intolerant can be sinus problems and gas, diarrhea and bloating. People with sinus problems should try lactose free milk.

Cats get diarrhea if they drink to much cows milk, which is why you have to buy special and highly expensive (over priced) cat’s milk. As for people, you can buy lactose free milk. I wonder if cats can feed lactose free milk? Probably can.

I think all people should buy lactose free milk. I am sure the majority of people still believe that cats like milk, which is unfortunate.

There is a phrase, “the cat that got the milk”. It is still a well used phrase. Sometimes an alternate phrase is used: “the cat that got the cream”. It means a person is pleased with himself having done something successfully, reflecting the fact that a cat is pleased after he drank his milk (until he has diarrhea!).

The phrase perpetuates the misconception that cats like milk and that cat owners should give their cats milk. Wrong, I am afraid. A bit of milk is probably alright but that should be it. Diarrhea in young cats is dangerous as it causes dehydration, which can be fatal.

A lot of people search online for a treatment for cat diarrhea. Well, it may be wise ask if the cat is being fed cows milk.

9 thoughts on “Why do people think milk is good for cats?”

  1. I drink almond milk, unsweetened, but I never give it to my cats. I have considered giving them a small dose of my lactase presecription (based on their body weight). I wonder if this would allow them to have a saucer of milk as a special ‘treat’ now and then… ? You see, when Shrimp watches me pour whole milk on my oatmeal in the morning, he likes to jump up and help me make it disappear. It’s just another one of our morning rituals. 🙂

    • So long as your cats keep getting some dairy they will most likely keep making lactase to break down the lactose. Monty eats cheese and has no problems from it. He likes Crystal Farms string cheese. I prefer Sargento’s but he doesn’t like that. Sometimes I buy Crystal Farms because he likes it and then I share that with him off my breakfast tray.

      I think buying and eating cheese you don’t like because your cat likes it definitely qualifies a person as a crazy cat lady.

  2. Cows’ milk is for baby cows. If you are not a baby cow you should not be drinking it. It’s that simple. End of story.

      • I think that too- why a cow? I have had cheese from Carr Valley Cheese made from sheep’s milk and goat’s milk. I tell people about that and they act like that’s weird. Some aren’t sure they would try it. Why is sheep’s milk weird, but cow’s milk is perfectly normal?

        My husband doesn’t get this line of reasoning. We live in the Dairy State after all! But I haven’t liked milk since I was a little kid. The push is for everyone to drink more milk for stronger bones. Osteoporosis is serious and widespread– I get that. But research shows that people who get more of their calcium from plant sources have the strongest bones. Eat more spinach, broccoli and kale. Buy supplements actually made from plant sources of calcium. Eating dairy is not a necessity.

        That being said, though I’m not pouring myself a glass of the stuff, I do eat a lot of cheese and yogurt. Wisconsin makes great cheese. I have tried almond milk, but I sometimes put cow’s milk on my cereal. I just don’t believe it’s all that good for me. “Milk does a body good.” That’s the slogan. Well, unless you’re a baby cow, not so much. But I eat sugary snacks and those aren’t good for me either.

  3. There are rare times when I give a cat a small amount of fat free milk that I have put some medicine in but never for any other reason.
    I know which cats will take meds sprinkled on their food, which ones will allow liquid meds squirted into their inside cheek, and which ones will take a pill “disguised” in something. It’s a rare cat that allows a pill in the back of the throat, so I don’t bother anymore. So, it’s a little milk with meds for those that won’t go any other way which are usually my inside or outside semi-ferals.
    Self preservation… I value my fingers, face, and throat!

  4. Whiskas make a special milk for cats, it’s very low in lactose.
    We once bought some to try but our cats don’t like it and water is much better for them anyway.

  5. I have always thought that it gives them a bit of a tummy upset so I only let them have a tiny bit. Actually I have a system where if I have the milk out and one cat comes along wanting some milk then I give them a lid full of milk basically. Like a tiny bowl – I just put it down and they drink that tiny little bit in the lid. I have always found milk to be fine in tiny amounts occasionally. I also buy that cat milk but they don’t really go for it that much. Molly does – she likes all kinds of things but the other 2 are only interested in the milk I am having with my cerial or whatever and thats when they want some.


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