Can Cats Eat Cheese? (Nutritional Guide)
While cats have often been associated with dairy, and specifically milk in many adverts, dairy products are not particularly good for cats. Cats are curious creatures and might enjoy a small nibble of your food, however, cheese isn’t the best pick for your feline friend. Cheese is very high in fact and can in fact cause a number of digestive issues to your furry-friend. While some human foods are suitable for cats in moderation, cheese is something that should mostly be avoided. Although your darling cat might purr ferociously when you take the cheese out and stare lovingly into your eyes in a bid to get a bite, it’s probably best to opt for vet-approved treats that will taste delicious but also boost their health.
So let’s have a look at the cheese debate in greater detail and explore why cheese isn’t the healthiest pick for your cat and take a look at some better treat options to feed them.
Some Cats Are Lactose Intolerant
Most cheese is made from cows’ milk and cows milk is very high in lactose. Lactose is a sugar that’s found in mammals’ milk and many humans and animals can suffer from lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerance can cause digestive issues including diarrhoea, bloating, stomach ache, or gas. Some cats won’t be able to handle the lactose in cheese and it will make them feel really unwell.
Cheese Is Not A Part Of Their Natural Diet
Cats are naturally carnivores and thus dairy is not a usual part of their diet. Thus, they struggle to digest cheese properly and in fact do not possess many of the special lactase enzymes that enable them to digest lactose properly.
While kittens possess this enzyme in order to process their mother’s milk, cats produce far less and thus cannot always process milk effectively.
While nursing kittens can handle milk in their early months, they should only ever consume their mother’s milk and at such a young age should not be fed cheese or commercial dairy products.
Cheese Can Contain Other Harmful Ingredients And Lots Of Salt
Cheese is made of a myriad of ingredients and can also be very high in salt. Foods that are high in salt can put pressure on the kidneys, hypertension or lead to abnormal thirst.
Cheese can also contain certain flavors that can be harmful to your cat. This might include flavorants, preservatives, and additives. Herbs and spices like onion and garlic may also be harmful to your cat and thus should be avoided.
Cheese Can Be Very High In Fat!
While cheese is delicious, it’s also very high in fat and too much fat for cats can lead to an array of health issues. If you feed your cat a very high fat diet and constantly give them treats that are high in fat they could gain excess weight and this could put pressure on their vital organs. Obesity can also lead to health conditions including feline diabetes and can even cause heart disease. Thus it’s best to avoid treats that are very high in fat and opt rather for healthier treats that have been approved by your vet. Check out our recommendations for healthy home-cooked treats at the end. There are many delicious and healthy options available.
Can You Feed Your Cat Cheese Under Any Circumstances?
While cheese is not a healthy snack and should not bed fed to cats often, there is one exception. If you have to give your cat a tablet and are unable to feed it to them without the use of a delicious treat, you can pop it in a small bit of cheese. You’ll want enough to entice your kitty, but you don’t want to feed enough so that they get a stomach upset. Again, this is the exception to the rule and should only be if there is no other way to give them their tablets. Always ask your vet before feeding them human food.
If your cat is lactose intolerant you will soon know and they will experience digestive issues like a stomach upset, diarrhoea, bloating, or gas. In this case, you’ll have to opt for another pick.
So, What Treats Can You Feed Your Cat Safely?
There are a number of tasty and delicious foods that you can feed your cat instead of cheese. Be sure to feed your cat ‘clean’ foods that are in their natural state, rather than foods that are flavored and full of additives and preservatives. Many snacks are filled with herbs and spices, so you want to ensure that the snacks you choose are as healthy as possible. Some great and tasty picks include:
- Cooked eggs
- Cooked salmon or tuna
- Lamb, beef, chicken, or liver in small quantities
- Cooked carrots
There are many delicious and healthy options that you can feed your beloved cat. These food types are safe and shouldn’t cause stomach upset or any other problems.
As always, chat to your vet if you are unsure of what to feed your cat, or if they experience any reactions to new foods that you’ve integrated. As a rule of thumb you’ll want to avoid dairy as much as possible as it could cause digestive problems and cheese especially is high in fat and salt. Rather opt for healthy options that will make them feel good and support their overall health and wellbeing.