Should Cats Drink Milk?

It's one of those stereotypical cat images - the cat drinking milk from a saucer. But is cow's milk actually good for cats? Jim C. writes:

I’ve read conflicting reports on this — is it okay to give my cat Chico a small saucer of milk in the morning? She isn’t vomiting (unless she goes outside and eats some grass). Is there another way to tell if she’s lactose intolerant? Thanks!

Many cats are lactose intolerant. A lactose intolerant cat will usual have diarrhea when fed milk. A lactose tolerant cat can also become more intolerant over time because they aren't really built to digest cow's milk. If Chico's litter habits happen outside, she may have bouts of diarrhea without your knowing about it.

Even those cats that can digest cow's milk really shouldn't due to the the fact that it has very high amounts of carbohydrates. Overall, it's best not to feed cats any dairy products, even those like Cat Sip that have the lactose removed.

In the wild, cats get almost all of the moisture they need in the food they eat. That's one of the reasons why dry kibble is so bad for them. They have a very low thirst drive because most domestic cats are descended from desert dwelling wild cats.

Jim, your best bet is to feed Chico a high quality wet or raw diet supplemented with fresh, clean water that's changed daily. We wish you and Chico all the best!