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Milk - the one and only drink for cats?

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Milk - the one and only drink for cats?

Have you ever seen all these cute pictures and drawings of milk-drinking cats in children's books or on postcards? For many years, cats have been automatically associated with milk!

These days, it's alarming how many people still believe that the only appropriate drink for cats would be cow milk! I remember this from my own childhood: I was more than happy when I was allowed to offer a bowl of milk to the ferals in the backyard - I was sure I did something good to the cats! And of course it's a fact that cats love milk, they would drink it enthusiastically! But many cats don't tolerate cow milk very well, they're getting diarrhea from drinking it. This is because cow milk contains more lactose (milk sugar) than the cat mother's milk. The organism of an adult cat is lacking the enzyme lactase which breaks down the milk sugar - and this leads to cow milk intolerance. The cat's breast milk, on the other hand, contains more fat and different proteins, so the composition of both cow milk and cat milk cannot be compared. As a result, cow milk is unsuitable for cats, they are supposed to drink water.

There are different brands of so-called "cat milk" on the market now. These products are lactose-reduced so it's easier to digest. This milk often contains further additives, such as vitamins. In my eyes, they are more a supplement than a drink.

If a cat has only drunk cow milk so far and doesn't accept water, you can temporarily switch to such a cat milk product. Then add more and more water, until eventually the cat is used to water alone.