Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Healthy Cats

Select An Article
Font Size

Cats and Dairy: Get the Facts

WebMD discusses the facts about cats and dairy, and why substituting a saucer of milk for water may not be best for your kitten.

Cats and Dairy Fact 2: Many Cats Can Drink Milk

Most of us have probably given our cats a bit of milk and never noticed a problem. That’s because some cats tolerate milk just fine, Wynn tells WebMD.

How can you tell? Try offering your cat a tablespoon or two of milk. If you don’t see symptoms within a day, chances are good your cat will do fine with milk as an occasional treat.

Still, most veterinarians don't recommend it. Cats don’t need milk, and the potential problems outweigh the potential benefits.

Remember that treats of all sorts -- such as tuna, meat, cheese, or other “people foods” -- should make up no more than 5% to 10% of your cat’s diet. The rest of your cat's calories should come from a high-quality, nutritionally complete cat food.

If you’re not sure what that means for your cat, talk to your veterinarian. Also, remember that offering table food to a cat often teaches a cat to be finicky.

Cats and Dairy Fact 3: Yogurt and Cheese May Be Easier to Digest

Sometimes a cat that can’t tolerate milk may have no problem with other forms of dairy, like yogurt, cheese, butter, or ice cream. That’s because “different forms of dairy food contain varying amounts of lactose,” Wynn says.

There are two reasons for that. Foods like yogurt and ice cream are often diluted with other things, such as water or added fats. They may also be cultured, meaning microorganisms have digested part of the lactose.

So if you want to give a sensitive feline a bit of dairy, the chances of an intolerance reaction are less with cheeses, yogurts, and other cultured dairy.

Cats and Dairy Fact 4: Kittens Don't Need Cow’s Milk

Despite those charming storybook illustrations, “cow’s milk is completely inadequate for kittens,” Wynn says.

Though kittens have lactase in their system, there’s just not enough of it to tackle the lactose overload found in cow’s milk.

But lactose isn’t the only problem. “The casein to whey proportions are all wrong in cow’s milk too,” Case tells WebMD.

Next Article:

Today on WebMD

cat at table
What's safe for them to eat?
Maine Coon cat breed
What they do and why cats have them.
Kitten in litterbox
How to solve them.
cat meowing
Why some cats are so talkative
cat on couch
Kitten using litter box
sleeping kitten
sad kitten looking at milk glass
cat at table
muddy dog on white sofa
Maine Coon cat breed
Pets: Behavior Problems in Cats