Often new cat and old cat owners come to me and tell me that their cat has gotten some cheese. They ask: Can cats eat cheese or will they become ill by it. Cheese is a dairy product containing lactose. Most cats are lactose intolerant and should therefore not have cheese at all. A little cheese ingested will not directly harm your cat, but it can cause vomiting or diarrhea and feeding cheese on top of a well-balanced diet will cause obesity in cats.
What Is It About Cats And Cheese?
As soon as I open the fridge for a nice piece of cheese or cream cheese to put on my slice of bread, cats appear from all around the house as if they could teleport.
Our cats are programmed to run towards the fridge to see if there is anything being dropped that they could get. Worse, some jump the table and try to steal it from your bread. Even when they are in a deep sleep or slumber, they wake up as soon as the package of cream cheese is opened or the cheese packaging is slowly unfolding a fresh piece of delicious cheese.
I love cheese, especially the Dutch matured farmers cheese or mature Cheddar, but my cats do so too.
It isn’t even just cheese that attracts them, also milk, yoghurt and other dairy products attract them. The art here is to not give in.
Can you resist the cute puppy eyes
Can you resist the cute puppy eyes that cats seem to have adopted from dogs? I can! Well, in most cases at least. I do know what is good for a cat or not and know what eating the cheese can lead to for them.
The thing is that the cheese is definitely not good for them. However tasty, it is basically a fat snack. Cheese is full of fat and protein. Cats smell or sense this protein and fat content and will be attracted to it as flies or ants to something sweet.
Most cats are lactose intolerant which means their stomach cannot handle the lactose which results in them getting a painful tummy with vomiting and diarrhea as result. It is not directly dangerous either, for as soon as the lactose has left the body, normality will be restored. Diarrhea and vomiting as a symptom are though dangerous to a level in that the electrolyte levels in cats will be reduced. A cat will get easily dehydrated by that and then it is suddenly a medical problem.
Cats aren’t the biggest drinkers and need to be made interested in drinking enough water with their foods.
I said that most cats are lactose intolerant, because there are the occasional cats that can handle lactose no problem. I would still urge you not to feed them cheese or other dairy products on a regular basis, because the extra fat and milk proteins are not required for an optimally well-balanced cat diet.
These fatty snacks become the junk food and sweets for cats. The possible intolerance on top of that makes that they will actually eat themselves sick, nothing we actually wish for our cats either.
Alternatives To Cheese And Other Dairy
There are great alternatives to the cheese and milk we got in our fridge. There are manufacturers of popular brands that create a kitten or cat milk that is safer for cats. These products are safer for cats because they remove or reduce the harmful elements, such as the lactose from the products.
The two biggest sellers of cat milk products are Whiskas and KMR.
Whiskas is sold in most supermarkets, while KMR is usually only available through veterinary clinics and specific pet stores. On Amazon you can find both no problem, but not everyone in the world can order from Amazon.
Lactose is a natural sugar in milk. Because they removed most of the sugar from the kitten milk, they replaced it with normal sugars and sweeteners, such as Corn Syrup and Dextrose. I am not the biggest fan of giving my cats all these ingredients that they do not need. See the cat and kitten milk as a type of treat. It will not make them ill, but is not necessarily good or healthy for them either. The lactose is not entirely removed in these products either (about 2% remains), so depending on your cat, you might still get the effects after drinking it (diarrhea).
Kittens are at birth and up to about 6-8 weeks not lactose intolerant and drink mothers milk. They also handle the kitten milk replacement (KMR) or Whiskas kitten milk better than adult cats. After their kitten hood, they grow more and more lactose intolerant, some cats more than others. The factor of how much lactose intolerant they grow to be also shows that some cats can handle cheese and other dairy products no problem, while some have huge stomach and digestive problems.
The Dangers Of Treats
Treats are therefore just what they are – treats. As long as you do not regularly feed them treats, it is something special and their natural diet will not be disturbed. Giving treats to your cat regularly can cause obesity and obesity in turn can cause a lot of illnesses.
Personally I would rather treat my cat with something that is truly good for them. As such we sometimes bake a whole chicken in the oven just for them, which is portioned and fed as a dinner.
A great alternative to treating them with sugary and fatty treats is to give your cat a raw meat product treat from Raw Paw Pet Foods. Cats are obligate carnivores and derive all of their nutrients from meat-based proteins. All the important minerals, vitamins and other nutrients are part of the entire animals body, the meat the tendons, the bones, the muscles.
Raw Paw Pet Foods produces treats for both cats and dogs as well as regular balanced foods from raw or freeze-dried meat. These treats are actually full of the healthy nutrients your cat loves to have. The raw meat meals come frozen, the freeze-dried foods and treats come in kibble-form.
Want to have a look yourself? Check what Raw Paw Pet Foods have on offer!