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Are cats and kitten lactose intolerent

Travel Forums Off Topic Are cats and kitten lactose intolerent

1. Posted by randallL (First Time Poster 1 posts) 9y

I have hear pro/con on the question of lactose intolerance in Kittens and Cats. Some vets have told me that they can have vanilla ice cream or 1-2% milk. Anyone know for sure?

I would appreciate some feedback.

RandallL

2. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 9y

UMM!!!
It is traditional to feed cats a bowel of milk.
But maybe if people did not give them milk, they would live to 100 years, instead of 20.

3. Posted by summer910 (Respected Member 1342 posts) 9y

Quoting randallL

I have hear pro/con on the question of lactose intolerance in Kittens and Cats. Some vets have told me that they can have vanilla ice cream or 1-2% milk. Anyone know for sure?

I would appreciate some feedback.

RandallL

Yes, cats are lactose-intolerant (to cow's milk, ie). They don't need to drink milk and it shouldn't be their primary source of food. Milk upsets the cats' digestive system and they'll get diarrhoea.

I'm sure Isa can offer more insight into this issue (and she has! ).

[ Edit: Edited on Sep 17, 2007, at 7:55 AM by summer910 ]

4. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 9y

Hi Randall!

I assume from your question that you have a cat (or maybe more than one). If so, is there a reason you are or want to give the cat(s) dairy products? Only during the first 2-4 months of their lives do they consume milk from their mother. After weaning, dairy products are not part of a cat's normal diet. It is much better to supply water only for their intake of liquids.

As for the lactose intolerance question...
Not all cats are lactose intolerant. It is more common in breeds originating from Asia but is also found in many others breeds as well. Young kittens (as do humans) have an enzyme called lactase which helps them digest their mother's milk. Following weaning, the amount of lactase in their body decreases and they have a harder time digesting any type of milk. Cow's milk has a much higher lactose content than does cat milk which makes digestion of lactose harder still. A cat that is lactose intolerant will normally develop diarrhea after ingesting milk or dairy products. A cat who is severly intolerant will also exhibit vomiting after drinking milk.

The vanilla ice cream was suggested because some producers remove the lactose from the milk during production. The same holds true of unpasteurized yogurt. Pasteurized yogurt, however, will most likely contain lactose. Removing the lactose from unpasteurized dairy products aids in a longer shelf life. Some cheeses have also had the lactose removed. You will have to check the labels for the lactose content. If it does not say "lactose removed" or "0 lactose" - take for granted it's still in the product. Some pet stores do sell lactose-free dairy products for cats. The 1-2% milk will have less lactose in it because it has a lower fat content but it is still a higher level than feline milk.

Currently, I have 7 inside and 23 outside cats. (I've had as many as 60+ cats at one time.) None of them have had dairy products following the weaning period. My inside cats usually ignore the odd piece of cheese than falls on the floor because they have never been given dairy products. It's just not their normal diet. Now a piece of chicken or beef...

Personally, I wouldn't give them dairy products. It's not a pleasant job cleaning up after an intolerant cat when they don't make it to the litter box in time.

One other bit of information - do not give a cat (or dog) chocolate. Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine which can be lethal even in small doses. It affects several systems of the body and can cause diarrhea, vomiting, seizures, severely elevated heart rate and blood pressure, and many times - death. Basically, chocolate acts like a poison.

(Just in case you're wondering, my training is in veterinary and human medicine.)

[ Edit: Edited on Sep 17, 2007, at 7:59 AM by Isadora ]