We’ve all seen movies where someone gives a cat a bowl of cow's milk or cream. Although this is classic imagery, cow's milk actually isn’t the best food for most cats. Some cat owners are turning to goat’s milk as an alternative to provide their cats with calcium and other vitamins and minerals.
If you've been wondering about goat milk, the good news is cats can safely drink it. Goat milk is a nutrient-dense food that helps support good bacteria in the gut and supports hydration for your cat. But there are some things you need to know about goat milk and how your cat may respond to it.
Kittens shouldn't drink goat milk as a primary food source because it lacks some of the essential nutrients and vitamins found in their mother's milk or specialized kitten formulas, which can lead to malnutrition and developmental issues. Additionally, some kittens may have lactose intolerance and may not tolerate goat milk well.
This guide will help you learn about adding goat's milk to your pet's diet, including some of the benefits and potential risks, and ways to serve it up.
Health Benefits of Goat Milk for Cats
Goat milk is full of enzymes and other nutrients that can help support a healthy diet. While it can't be the sole source of food for your cat, it can supplement what you feed your cat. Here are some of the health perks your cat can experience from drinking goat’s milk.
1. Provides a Rich Source of Nutrients
Goat's milk has multiple nutrients that your cat can thrive on, including vitamins, antioxidants, triglycerides, and essential fatty acids. Some of these include:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B5
These are good supplements to work into your pet's diet.
2. Increases Hydration in Your Cat or Kitten
Dehydration is very common in cats and dogs. Simply put, most cats aren’t drinking enough water or getting enough water through their meals. Hydration is essential to your cat's health and a functional digestive system. Some cats really like the taste of goat's milk and prefer it to water, so it could help them drink more. You can also mix it into their food to add moisture and flavor.
3. Offers Probiotics for Gut and Digestive Health
Goat's milk contains probiotics which help both digestive and immune system health. It also has prebiotics, which are carbs that nourish the immune system and gut bacteria. This combination of probiotics and prebiotics help reduce the amount of bad bacteria in the gut while supporting better pet health overall. Some goat's milk products, like those from The Honest Kitchen, also have added probiotics for a boost.
Concerns With Goat Milk for Cats
In general, cats can start drinking goat's milk as soon as they are fully weaned. It’s not a good choice if they’re still weaning, because it has insufficient protein and fat for a newborn kitten. However, once they've transitioned to kitten food fully, it can be a good supplement. Senior cats can also benefit from goat's milk.
Overall, goat's milk is a healthy milk replacer for cats that has more nutrients and is easier to digest than cow's milk, but it's not a perfect pet food, and it can't replace the other food you feed your cat. Here are some concerns that some cat owners have about goat's milk.
Goat's Milk Still Contains Lactose
If your cat is lactose intolerant, goat's milk isn't going to be a good choice. It contains lactose and could irritate an already upset or sensitive stomach in your cat.
However, goat's milk has less lactose than cow's milk. Some cats can tolerate small amounts of lactose, and they may be able to digest goat's milk better than cow's milk because of the lower amount.
Fat in Goat Milk Products
Goat's milk has a high level of fat, and cats don't need a lot of fat in their diets. Too much fat can cause weight gain and other health issues. Goat's milk is lower in fat than dairy products like cow's milk, but it’s still something to consider.
Cat Allergies or Sensitivities to Goat Milk (Rare)
Some cats may be sensitive or allergic to goat milk and drinking it may cause diarrhea and an upset stomach. Keep in mind that true food allergies in cats are very rare, but you should monitor your cat's health when introducing any new food for signs of problems. If you notice signs, an elimination diet can help you determine which food in your pet's diet may be the source of irritation. You should also consult with your vet.
Ways to Feed Your Cat The Honest Kitchen's Goat's Milk
If you want to feed your feline friend goat's milk, consider the Goat's Milk Cat Blend from The Honest Kitchen. This instant goat's milk is packed with probiotics and works as both a supplement to their diet and a healthy, tasty treat for your cat. It’s a human grade milk you can feel confident feeding your cat. Additionally, it’s shelf-stable, which makes it easier to store and longer-lasting than other goat’s milk products. Simply add warm water, stir, and it’s ready-to-serve.
Even with a high-quality product like this, make sure you introduce the goat's milk slowly. Cats are small, and they may benefit from as little as 1/8 teaspoon to start. Feed this small amount, and then wait for 12 to 16 hours for any sign of stomach upset, like vomiting or diarrhea, or skin itchiness.
If your cat tolerates this small amount, add more until you are feeding the recommended amount of goat's milk (according to your vet or the product label).
Here are some ways you can incorporate goat’s milk into your cat’s diet:
Try It Alone as a Refreshing Drink
While nothing should replace fresh water, cats enjoy variety in their diets. You can serve Goat's Milk Blend on its own as a refreshing drink.
Pour Goat's Milk Over Dry Foods
If you feed your cat a dry kibble type food, you can make it more desirable by pouring Goat's Milk Blend over the top of the food to moisten it.
Use It to Hydrate Our Dehydrated Cat Foods
Lastly, you can pair the Goat's Milk Blend with our line of dehydrated cat foods for a big flavor boost and a helping of probiotics and prebiotics in your cat’s meals. Cats love the taste of our Dehydrated Grain Free Turkey Recipe, Dehydrated Grain Free Chicken Recipe, and Dehydrated Grain Free Chicken & Fish Recipe when they’re hydrated with goat’s milk.
Health Disclaimer: This post is educational in nature and doesn’t constitute health advice. Please consult your pet’s veterinarian or other healthcare professionals for specific guidance on this topic.