Does your cat have a taste for cheese? Before you feed her a piece, you should know if cats can eat cheese.
Whether you’ve given your cat some cheese and he seemed to like it, or your cat looks at you like he wants a bite whenever you have cheese around, a commonly asked question is: can cats eat cheese? We did some research so we could dig into this topic below.
Cats and Cheese Don’t Really Mix
According to experts in veterinary medicine and feline nutrition, it’s not natural for kitties to consume dairy products, including cheese. Your cat is an obligate carnivore in need of meat, just like felines in the wild, so milk and cheese aren’t foods that your furry friend would need for health.
Related: Can Cats Eat Tuna?
Also, dairy products often cause kitties to experience gastrointestinal upset because many of them are lactose intolerant. This basically means that they can’t produce the enzymes required to digest dairy properly. Symptoms like diarrhea or vomiting, as a couple of examples, might occur after a cat has milk, cheese, or other dairy products.
Note: if you want to avoid giving your cat dairy, be sure to read the ingredients label on any foods and treats that you’re feeding him, as some brands include cheese in their formulations.
What If It’s an Occasional Treat?
Some cat owners will give their pets a bit of cheese every once in a while as a little treat. This might be fine, especially if your cat tolerates the dairy, but it’s best to keep it a rare occasion.
Although cheese isn’t considered dangerous, it isn’t considered a part of a healthy diet for cats either. But if your pet insists that you give him some, stick with a small amount of cheese that’s made from plain milk. Your kitty’s digestive tract might also tolerate cheese that’s made from goat’s milk, rather than cow’s milk, as it tends to be easier for cats to digest it. And, according to experts, you should avoid giving your kitty any blue cheese or cheeses that are described as rich.
Again, feeding a cat cheese isn’t generally recommended, but these suggestions are considered better options if you really want to give your kitty some cheese. And if your pet does experience any symptoms, such as gas or diarrhea, after having cheese, it’s best to just eliminate it from your pet’s diet altogether. With so many other feline-appropriate treats, there’s no need to stick with cheese if it doesn’t make your feline feel good.
When Cheese Might Come in Handy
If your cat likes cheese, you could ask your vet if you can use it as a means to get your frisky feline to take a pill. The cheese might be helpful if your kitty tends to give you a hard time when it’s come to medicating him. As an example, wrapping a pill in a slice of cheese, or even in a bit of cream cheese, might be enough to entice your cat to gobble it down, without having to struggle to get the pill down his throat.
The general consensus among experts seems to be that dairy products like cheese aren’t suitable for cats, so it’s recommended that you avoid getting your cat used to eating these foods in the first place. If you have any questions about what foods you should give to your cat, and which you should avoid, you can always talk to your veterinarian for advice.
Lisa Selvaggio is a writer who has volunteered in animal rescue, caring for cats of all ages and learning their many quirks. She is certified in clinical pet nutrition, and enjoys helping pet parents give their fur babies the best care possible. Read more of her work online at Creatively Informative Writing.