It’s one of the images we’re most acquainted with: a picture of an adorable cat indulging in a saucer of milk with a blissful expression on its face. And the fact that it happens to be pretty common also means that most people believe that cats not only love milk but deserve to enjoy it frequently as an essential part of their diet.
But just how true is it? Is milk really an all-important dietary requirement for our beloved Persians? In this post, I’ll be taking a look at just how nourishing this creamy drink is for our feline charges as well as suitable dairy alternative treats which are just right for them.
Your Persian’s Capacity To Digest Milk
In order to digest milk, cats like every other mammal, require an enzyme referred to as lactase. And just like other members of that vast family, they start out life fully equipped with it. But somewhere along the line, that handy little enzyme vanishes – and with it their ability to digest milk. According to Cattime, this occurrence normally takes place around eight weeks which is when kittens tend to get weaned.
Only a lucky few make it to adulthood fully able to enjoy felines’ most loved creamy drink. The rest experience a pesky condition known as lactose intolerance which unleashes a bout of diarrhoea, bloating and even vomiting following any attempt to indulge in that much-loved treat.
So how can you determine if your Persian happens to be one of the few felines fortunate enough to be able to enjoy a drink of milk whenever they feel like it?
CatHealth recommends giving them a tablespoon or two and placing them under close surveillance for a total of 12 hours. The absence of any of unpleasant side effects means they’re indeed one of the lucky few who may indulge in a drink of milk every now and again – as long as it’s carefully monitored.
Alternatives To Milk
What if your Persian loves to drink milk but happens to be among the lactose-intolerant majority? One of the best options is giving them other dairy products which contain less lactose than milk such as yoghurt. It’s also possible to give them lactose-free milk.
But what about dairy alternatives such as soy or almond milk?
Starting off with the former, it’s worth noting that it comes with a few issues of its own as well. Soy milk is known to cause hormonal issues in felines and the unique protein it contains can actually trigger allergic reactions in your Persian.
Encouraging your tabby to drink almond milk isn’t such a great idea either since it will cause the pet to have an upset tummy.
Getting Your Persian To Drink Enough
The absence of any of these alternatives is by no means a serious issue since the one fluid which is absolutely essential for your furry friend is water. Cattime notes that felines generally don’t get to drink enough, hence special care must be taken to ensure they remain adequately hydrated. Providing your Persian with wet food is also an efficient means of ensuring they get some of the water they need.
Giving your Persian milk is a great idea if they happen to be lactose-tolerant or if the available drink happens to be a suitable alternative.
It’s also worth noting that the milk intake of lactose-tolerant felines must be monitored carefully. That’s because cow milk actually contains a hefty dose of lactose which is capable of overwhelming your kitten’s lactase, resulting in a few unpleasant side effects. And it’s also best for adults to indulge in moderation due to its calorific content as noted by Pet Health Network.
However, milk itself is by no means absolutely essential to an adult tabby’s diet. And as long as you feed your Persian nutritious, high-quality food, it will be able to obtain all the nutrients it requires and enjoy great health as a result.