We all have seen cats drinking milk in cartoons. However, if you are a responsible cat owner, you must have thought, can cats even drink milk in real life?
Well, the answer to this question is No. According to many studies, most felines out there are lactose intolerant, meaning they cannot process milk and other dairy products effectively. If your lactose intolerant cat consumes milk, it can lead to gastrointestinal issues.
Continue reading to learn whether buttermilk is safe for cats or not.
What is Buttermilk?
Let’s start with the most basic question: what is buttermilk?
Generally speaking, buttermilk is fermented milk. Even though it contains butter in its name, this milk is completely free from butter. Instead, buttermilk is actually the leftover milk that is obtained after making butter.
The procedure to make buttermilk is quite simple: milk is homogenized and pasteurized, and then the bacteria cultures are added to induce fermentation. With this approach, bacteria ferment will give the milk a sour taste and slightly lower lactose content.
Lactose Intolerance in Cats
Did you know most cats out there are lactose intolerant, meaning they cannot process dairy products? Just like humans, most cats cannot produce lactase – an enzyme required to process dairy. If your offer your lactose intolerant kitten dairy, it will lead to gastrointestinal issues, including gas and bloating.
But what about buttermilk? Well, even though buttermilk has lower lactose content in it, it still contains lactose. So, if you are wondering is buttermilk good for cats, then the answer is NO. Buttermilk is rich in nutrients, but it can still lead to gastrointestinal issues.
What to Do If My Cat Drinks Buttermilk?
Can kittens drink buttermilk? If your kittens are younger than 6 months old, there is a chance they still have lactase. If that’s the case, you can offer them buttermilk. It won’t cause any health problems.
However, if you have an older cat who is lactose intolerant, buttermilk will certainly lead to health complications. According to many experts, your little furball will surely experience symptoms of lactose intolerance within 24 hours of consuming buttermilk.
The clinical signs of lactose intolerance in cats are:
- Stomach upsets
If your little feline is showing these signs, you should immediately visit your veterinarian and ask for their professional assistance. If your cat suffers from diarrhea, try to keep them hydrated to prevent more health issues.
Best Alternatives to Buttermilk
Generally speaking, you cannot give your feline buttermilk that contains lactose. However, if you still want to treat your little furball with some milk, you can offer them lactose-free, homemade buttermilk or milk that is exclusively created for milk.
However, this approach is costly and unnecessary; you should give these alternatives to your feline only on rare occasions because they are deficient in essential nutrients.
Can cats drink buttermilk? Well, the simple answer is NO. buttermilk contains lactose that your little feline cannot process effectively. So, unless you have lactose-free, homemade buttermilk, it is certainly a no-no for your cat.