Through illustrations, cartoons, movies, .... the image of a kitty happily lapping at a dish of milk has been ingrained into the mind of many people. Since the felines also seem to enjoy the white stuff, numerous cat parents assume that it's fine to give their kittens milk from the fridge. Unfortunately, such a notion is incorrect: Kittens often experience health issues if they drink milk designated for human consumption. That is why pet owners need to refrain from sharing their milk with their cats. So what kind of milk can you give a kitten?
Want to know if there is a type of milk that kittens could safely drink? If that happens to be the case, this article should be of use to you. Check out the following information to understand the role of milk in the diet of cats as well as varieties that suit their delicate stomach.
Is It Possible For Kittens To Drink Milk: It Depends
To answer the question of "what kind of milk can you give a kitten?", it's essential that you understand the nature of the felines. Being obligate carnivores, cats acquire nutrients through the fleshes of other animals so they don't need to drink milk. That being said, for a time, kittens indeed have to drink milk to develop properly.
During the nursing phase after birth, kittens need to drink milk from the mother cat to get much-needed antibodies, fat, protein and so on. As your furball enters the weaning phase, it would move from milk to solid food. Once they become fully weaned, the kittens no longer require milk in their daily diet. At that point, milk brings negligible benefits to the felines. Actually, if you continue to give your fluffy friend milk after it's weaned, the pet could run into trouble.
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Why Giving Milk To Weaned Kittens Is A Terrible Idea
Newborn kittens have an easy time drinking milk from their mom but why the white stuff give weaned kitten problems? Well, the answer is rather straightforward: Many kittens happen to be lactose intolerant after weaning.
In case you don't know, lactose is a natural sugar found in a variety of dairy products including milk. To properly digest lactose, an enzyme called lactase is necessary. As the felines go through the weaning phase, the production of lactase in their body steadily come to a halt. Therefore, most kittens eventually lose the capability to handle lactose which makes them lactose intolerant. Needless to say, giving milk to lactose intolerant pets tend to be a terrible idea.
"So what could happen if I accidentally give my kitty some milk?" some people wonder. As lactose intolerant kittens lack the ability to digest lactose, the sugar is going to sit in the intestines of the felines and slowly ferment. The fermentation often entails diarrhea, dehydration and alike that may prove fatal in fragile kittens.
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What Make Milk So Attractive To The Average Kittens
Generally speaking, milk tends to give the stomach of kittens a hard time but your fluffy friend would lunge toward the liquid at every opportunity. What makes your kitten so motivated here is the high-fat content of the milk, not the actual milk itself.
It's common knowledge among cat parents that the felines have sharp senses which permit them to detect what they like/hate in a heartbeat. As the pets like fat, it only takes a moment for them to realize the high-fat nature of milk. As a result, if your furball catches a glimpse of you drinking milk, it's going to hop over begging for a sip right away. While it's hard to resist the urge to share some milk with the pet, you have to be firm. In fact, you must make sure that your fluffy friend is unable to reach milk in the fridge as well as on the dining table.
Milk For Kittens: Available Options
All things considered, besides milk from the mother cat, it's unwise for pet owners to give their kitten milk. But if the circumstances require you to give milk to your kitten, which leads you to the question of "what kind of milk can you give a kitten?", you have a couple of choices here:
For Nursing Kittens
During the nursing phase, most of the kittens drink exclusively milk, ideally from their mom. In the case that your nursing kitten happens to be an orphan then it necessary for you to substitute mother milk using kitten milk replacers. Nowadays, PetAg KMR Kitten Milk Replacer Powder, Hartz Kitten Milk Replacer Powdered Formula, and GNC Pets Ultra Mega Premium Milk Replacer Kitten Powder Formula would be some of the most popular choices on the market.
For Weaning Kittens
While weaning, kittens must reduce their reliance on milk as they switch to solid food. You could keep giving your fluffy friend kitten milk replacers. At mealtime, mix solid food with milk replacers before serving. The point is to steadily decrease the amount of milk replacers and increase the amount of food in daily meals. Obviously, you have to proceed at a slow pace in order to ensure that your kitten would accept the mixture. In most cases, the weaning phase in kittens should last around two weeks.
For Fully Weaned Kittens
Once weaned, kittens only need solid food in and water. Therefore, in the case you want to give your furball milk, consider specialized products such as Cat-Sip Real Milk. Additionally, quite a few cats accept soy milk, almond milk, chocolate milk, and coconut milk without much difficulty but the result is somewhat inconsistent so be careful. Again, it's best that you don't give milk to your furball after the conclusion of the weaning phase.
Checking If A Kitten Could Drink Milk: Tip And Tricks
After knowing all the possible answers to the question of “what kind of milk can you give a kitten”, you could easily decide the ideal milk for your kitten. But it's worth noting that different cats have different constitutions, some felines simply handle milk much better than others. To determine if it's safe to give your fluffy friend small amounts of milk as treats sometimes, you must keep in mind the following.
- Offer a teaspoon of milk to the pet at first
- Keep your kitten under close observation for the next 12 hours
- Drop by the litter box