There are plenty of health benefits associated with drinking goat milk in humans, so it’s only natural to wonder if it’s safe to allow your cat to drink it as well. The short answer is yes, your cat can drink goat’s milk, and there may be some health benefits associated with it as well. However, there are a few things you need to consider before you start leaving a bowl out.
Is Goat Milk Bad for My Cat?
Let’s look at a two reasons you should not give your cat goats milk.
The main problem with feeding your cat goat’s milk is that it contains lactose. Most adult cats are lactose intolerant, which means they cannot digest lactose, so it can give your pet an upset stomach or even diarrhea and vomiting. Goat’s milk has slightly less lactose than cow’s milk, but there is still enough to affect your pet negatively. However, there are different degrees of lactose intolerance, and some cats can consume limited amounts of goat’s milk without suffering ill effects, and some lucky cats may not be lactose intolerant at all.
Fat is another concern when feeding your cat goat’s milk. It’s lower in fat than cow’s milk, but cats do not require fat in their diet, and providing it can lead to weight gain. Like cow’s milk, you can purchase goats milk skimmed and partially skimmed to reduce the fat content.
Is Goat Milk Good for My Cat?
There are some benefits to allowing your cat to drink a little goat milk from time to time.
Calcium and Phosphorus
Goat’s milk has plenty of calcium and phosphorus, which are vital nutrients for cats. Calcium helps with muscle contraction, blood coagulation, and strong teeth and bones. Calcium requires phosphorus to do its work, and you should provide them at the rate of 1.2 parts calcium to 1 part phosphorus. A calcium deficiency can lead to rickets, which causes the bones to become softand deformed. Symptoms of a calcium deficiency include restlessness and convulsions.
Vitamin A is essential to a cat’s health and must be part of their diet. Vitamin A is part of the processes that control the development and operation of eyes, skin, coat, muscles, nervous and immune systems even more important to pregnant cats and kittens. A lack of vitamin A can cause night blindness and weakness. It could also impair muscle and neurological development.
Vitamin B5 plays several important roles in the energy metabolism of carbohydrates. It’s required for the body to synthesize fatty acids, hemoglobin, and steroids. It also participates in the synthesis of vitamin D.
Biotin is another B vitamin that helps with the metabolism of carbohydrates, fat, and protein. Your cat does not stop store biotin, but they do create it in the digestive system. Biotin helps with the development of the coat and claws, and it allows the body to remove by-products from the synthesis of protein. Cats are carnivorous, so they eat a lot of protein, and this nutrient helps them get rid of it.
A biotin deficiency usually manifests itself as a skin problem. The cat’s fur usually looks scruffy, and it may develop lesions on the face and legs before they spread to the rest of the body. A biotin deficiency in cats is rare as most cats produce enough in the digestive tract, but supplementations can help reduce the risk.
Potassium is an important mineral and electrolyte that helps with the function of muscles and nerves. Too little potassium in the bloodstream causes a condition called hypokalemia.
Prebiotics and Probiotics
Goats milk also contains oligosaccharides, which can act as a prebiotic in the body. Prebiotics will help balance and maintain a healthy gastrointestinal tract, which can help prevent constipation and diarrhea. They work by supporting the growth of good bacteria, which help with digestion and fight off bad bacteria. It is also rich in probiotics or beneficial bacteria.
How Do I Feed My Cat Goat Milk?
We can recommend starting very slowly when attempting to feed your cat goat’s milk. Start with no more than a teaspoon and see how they react. Wait for 12 to 16 hours to see if you notice loose stools or diarrhea, but if they are extremely intolerant to lactose, they may start vomiting much sooner.
If you notice any loose stools or other negative reactions, you should avoid feeding your cat goats milk. If you don’t notice any negative reactions, you can slowly increase the amount to a tablespoon or two, but we wouldn’t go any further than that even if they enjoy it without problems. There are still many ingredients they don’t need in their diet, like fat, that can reach harmful levels if you provide too much per day.
We hope you have enjoyed reading over our look into whether or not cats can drink goat’s milk. If your cat drank some by accident, it’s going to be fine and may have even received some needed vitamins and minerals, though it may suffer loose stools and diarrhea. If your cat likes it and can tolerate the lactose, providing it in small amounts can be a healthy treat.
Featured Image Credit: Couleur, Pixabay