Cats have been associated with drinking milk since practically forever!
Although there are many types of feline specific cat milk on the market these days, cats drinking regular milk is a rather controversial topic.
Historically cats have always been given regular milk to drink as part of their diet, but research has shown that dairy products, in general, are not a good option for your cat’s delicate stomach and digestive system.
Many pet owners wonder whether it is okay to give cats milk. In particular, those that are plant-based rather than dairy-based such as oat milk. Here we will delve a little deeper into the reality of providing your cat with oat milk since is such a popular choice and a great alternative to dairy.
So, can cats drink oat milk? Yes, cats can safely drink oat milk in moderation, however oat milk is not beneficial for cats in any way. Although it may be a better option than dairy milk for cats and will likely be fine in moderation, no milk should be the main part of your cat’s diet, and should only be given in moderation.
In this article we’ll go into more detail about cats and oat milk, including how much is okay for your feline, milk consumption (or a lack thereof) and cats, and other concerns.
Is Oat Milk Safe For Cats to Drink?
Oat milk is generally safe for your kitty to consume in moderation. Compared to regular cow’s milk, it is much easier on your cat’s stomach and digestive system, too.
Although oat milk is not especially nutritious for your cat, you probably don’t need to worry if kitty took a swig from your glass.
Although a cat’s diet should consist mostly of protein-based products such as meat and fish, cow’s milk (which is also a good source of protein) is not recommended for our feline friends. Too much milk can make your cat vomit, have severe stomach cramps, and diarrhea.
For that matter, cats don’t get any nutritional benefit from oat milk and it is not part of their natural diet. So it is better not to give it to them very often.
If you are going to feed your cat a little as a sparing treat, choose more natural, less-processed oat milks.
Oat milk is widely available to buy in supermarkets and stores, however opting for the least processed versions is usually best. A cat’s diet should contain mostly natural ingredients and therefore heavily processed oat milk can have a somewhat similar effect to regular cow’s milk.
Is Oat Milk Better For Your Cat Than Regular Milk?
Because oat milk is lactose-free, it is a better option for cats to consume than regular milk is, providing it is still offered in moderation.
Regular cow’s milk is not only disagreeable with your cat’s delicate system but can add unnecessary amounts of fat to your cat’s diet that they don’t necessarily need. Dairy milk does not provide your cat with the right amount of essential nutrients needed for their diet and can also make your feline friend quite ill.
Oat milk is therefore a much better option for your kitty if you are determined to give your furry loved one a treat either way. But again, it should still be consumed only in moderation.
By moderation, we mean that your cat should not have oat milk as part of their main diet, and even once daily could be too much for your cat.
For this reason, it is always wise to have a proper plan in place of how often you will provide your cat with oat milk. We recommend giving your cat oat milk as an occasional treat only.
Oat milk is low in both calories and sugar which is good in a cat treat. However, this doesn’t mean oat milk is good for cats. Rather it is simply unlikely to cause harm in moderation.
Are Cats Lactose Intolerant?
Yes. Most – not all per se, but most – cats are considered to be lactose intolerant.
You wouldn’t find a human that was lactose intolerant consuming dairy products and therefore we should not expect our feline friends too. Anyone who is lactose intolerant avoids dairy with good reason. The symptoms are not fun at best, and at worse can cause overall feelings of sickness or even more severe symptoms like diarrhea.
A cat’s small intestine does not produce enough of the digestive enzyme ‘lactase’ which breaks down the lactose in food so the body can absorb it sufficiently.
Leaving dairy products out of your cat’s diet will not penalize them in any way since most of their nutrition comes from other food sources providing they are fed the right types of feeds. In fact, it is perfectly natural for your cat not to eat dairy products.
How Often Can You Give Your Cat Oat Milk?
We wouldn’t suggest giving your cat oat milk often. Most that are bought in supermarkets for human consumption are highly processed and can still cause similar symptoms to that of regular milk.
A little at a time, once in a while, is likely to be okay for your kitty.
Again, we want to make it clear that you should never consider this option as a main meal and you don’t want to risk it in large quantities. It’s best to stick to your cat’s natural diet as much as possible.
Specifically formulated cat milk is a better option for your kitty. However, even then it is not advisable to offer too often and should be considered as a treat rather than the main food source.
Really, when it comes to cats, just stick with water and veterinarian-approved treats (these are our favorites!).
Do Cats Like Oat Milk?
It depends. Cats are pretty smart creatures when it comes down to it and they instinctively know what they do and don’t like.
Quite often substitutes are very different from the real deal and you can be sure cats know the difference! Oat milk does not taste like regular cow’s milk and cats who are used to dairy milk will likely notice the difference! There is no fooling our feline friends (not usually anyway).
This isn’t to say that all cats will not like oat milk. Some are more than happy to consume this as a tasty snack. Others won’t go for it.
Still, cats are however renowned for being pretty fussy eaters at the best of times and you should not expect your feline friend to jump for joy at the prospect of oat milk. Many cats much prefer the taste of real milk, but unfortunately due to the side effects associated with this, it is best to avoid cow’s milk altogether.
If you love the idea of feeding your feline milk as a treat, try a specially-formulated cat milk which is lactose-free and completely safe for cats to consume.
It has been formulated to taste more like real milk which may entice your kitty to consume. Plus, you can be more at ease knowing it’s been formulated to be safe for your beloved pet.
Is it Safe to Feed Cats Homemade Oat Milk?
Keeping in mind that you still don’t want to feed your cat oat milk too often, yes, it can be safe to feed cats homemade oat milk.
By making your own, you can closely monitor what ingredients are going into the formula and have peace of mind knowing it has not been highly processed as with some of the supermarket-bought oat milk that has been designed for human consumption.
You can be sure that there are no added colorings, preservatives, or unnecessary bits such as sugar or fat added into the mix and can ensure it is fed to your kitty in the purest way possible.
What Ingredients Does Oat Milk Contain?
One of the best things to do when deciding if a particular food source is suitable for your cat is to take a close look at the ingredients list and try to get a good idea of what the formula contains, how much is in the formula, and how processed the product is.
This can give you a fair understanding of how suitable it may be for your kitty if there are likely to be any unwanted side effects.
One of the most popular brands of oat milk is Oatly which is widely available to purchase from many supermarkets and stores. Let’s take a look at what this product as a baseline contains and how agreeable it is likely to be with your feline friend. (Just remember every brand will vary somewhat.)
- Oat Base
- Rapeseed Oil
- Calcium Carbonate
- Calcium Phosphates
- Iodized Salt
- Vitamins (D2, Riboflavin and B12)
|Generally Safe for Cats?
|Oat Base (Water and Oats 10%)
Cats can only consume oats that have first been soaked. The addition of water in this formula ensures that the oats are safe for cats to consume. Oats are considered to be fairly nutritious for cats and contain high protein and fats as well as lots of fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins. Too much fat however is not great for cats, particularly those that are on a weight management plan or suffer from obesity.
|Rapeseed (Canola) Oil
Rapeseed/Canola and other types of seed oil such as flaxseed oil are generally safe for cats. Rapeseed contains high levels of Omega 3 Fatty Acids which can be a great alternative to other non-animal oil substitutes which are often substituted for fish oils in pet food.
You will notice that many cat foods contain calcium carbonate for three main reasons. 1. To provide a source of calcium cheaply. 2. To preserve the product. 3. As a color retention agent. Calcium is an essential mineral for cats; however, too much can cause kidney damage.
Cats only need 0.6 % of calcium in their daily diet and too much oat milk is likely to send this way over the essential limit. That’s one of the reasons it’s best to treat them sparingly, or not bother with oat milk at all.
Phosphorus levels can cause cats problems and oat milk is likely to take the ratios out of sync, unfortunately. The carbonate phosphates levels in oat milk in conjunction with the calcium itself can be way too high for cats.
This is why it is a wise idea if you choose to feed oat milk to your feline, to do so in small doses. Cat milk is still the better option since the ratio requirements are set at the correct levels to ensure your kitty does not become ill.
Salt in high doses can be potentially dangerous for cats. The salt levels in oat milk are not exceptionally high, however, high levels can cause sickness and vomiting in cats. There is also the consideration that salt can dehydrate very quickly and since cats generally tend to not drink enough water as it is this could in extreme cases cause life-threatening issues or even death. It would however take a very high dosage of salt to reach this stage.
|Vitamins (D2, Riboflavin and B12)
Oat milk contains a variety of vitamins that are typically beneficial for your cat’s diet. Vitamin D helps to maintain a balance of calcium in the body. Riboflavin helps to protect your cat’s skin and can also assist with turning fat into energy. B12 is crucial to your cat’s immune system, nervous system, digestive tract, and is essential for healthy cognitive function.
Still, it is important to note your cat’s food is likely already formulated with the right balance of vitamins your kitty needs.
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