Cats should not be given things like soy or almond milk because overall it is not good for them. In fact, contrary to what many have grown up seeing on TV or being told, most cats are technically lactose intolerant and should therefore not even be drinking actual milk products that contain dairy. While soy and almond milk may seem like healthy alternatives since they don’t actually contain dairy, the truth of the matter is that they can still do more harm than good.
A Kitten’s Digestive System
From the time a kitten is born up until about 4 weeks of age, its diet is compromised solely of its mother’s milk. A kitten is able to derive all of the nutrients he or she needs from mama cat’s milk. During this stage of development, a kitten is producing its peak levels of an enzyme that is known as lactase. This enzyme is what aids in the digestion of lactose, found in milk. As kitty begins to mature and is weaned from mama’s milk, the amount of lactase produced actually begins to drop off. It is at this point that the cat’s digestive track becomes quite delicate and begins to further develop, making it harder for them to tolerate milk, whether it be animal based or a synthetic form such as soy and/or almond milk.
The Pros And Cons Of Milk Alternatives
Pet owners may be tempted to try and give kitty a taste of soy or almond milk, or maybe even regular cow’s milk. However it is important to keep in mind that this will not really benefit your cat in any way and will most likely just cause more harm than good. Most kitties’ will end up with indigestion and experience vomiting and/or diarrhea when given products such as these, or could become finicky eaters as a result. It is extremely important for cat owner’s to remember that until a kitten is weaned, it only needs its mother’s milk. After it has been weaned, about 30% of its total energy should come from protein, which soy milk does contain. However, soy milk and/or almond milk should never become a major component in your feline’s diet as it does not contain all of the nutrients needed to help your kitten grow up to be a healthy cat. Milk or Milk alternatives should also never take place of water. Making sure your cat is drinking plenty of water is crucial to his or her health.
Technically speaking, from the time kitty is weaned to about 1 year of age, she or he should be fed a nutrient-rich kitten formula, which can be easily found in the pet supply section at your local grocery store or at your local pet store. If your cat seems to enjoy the flavor of soy milk or almond milk it can be offered to your cat as a special treat but should only be done so every once in a blue moon. Soy and/or almond milk should never be anything more than the occasional and very special treat for kitty. In fact “treats” that are given to kitty should also never compromise more than 5% of its daily calorie intake. It should also be noted that cats cannot technically taste sweets, so they probably won’t be too disappointed if you don’t give them milk or soy milk as they probably can’t taste much of it anyways.
How To Tell If Your Cat Has Indigestion
A cat’s stomach can be quite delicate, especially the younger the feline. It is not uncommon for your kitty to be easily upset by new foods. It is for this reason that when you are introducing new foods or drinks to kitty, to do so in moderation. Whether you are giving your cat soy products or dairy products, it is best to start out with a teaspoon or other very small amount to see how kitty will react.
Symptoms Of Indigestion
- Symptoms of indigestion include the following
- Upset stomach
- Constipation (this is less common but does sometimes occur)