The simple answer is not regularly! Cats are more or less lactose intolerant though in small amounts, it's likely okay every now and then. Especially if you rely on cheese when you want to dose medication. Many cat owners use a little bit of cheese to get those pills in their cat!
A suggestion by experts is to try goat cheese, which may be a better option than cheese made from cows. The bottom line is that cats are carnivores and cheese or dairy are not part of their natural diet.
CleanerPaws.com tell us there are four reasons why cheese is not a great snack for your cat. Cheese is salty and can be fattening so two reasons to look for alternatives! Also, adult cats are lactose intolerant and they prefer a carnivorous diet. With that in mind, they recommend looking at vegan cheese as an alternative.
How much cheese is safe?
A very small amount is okay, experts tell us, if you insist. Try a very tiny amount and see if your cat's digestive system can handle it.
According to CleanerPaws.com,
"The group of feline-friendly cheeses includes aged cheese varieties and hard cheeses like Cheddar, Swiss cheese, Parmesan or Gouda. These cheeses have lower lactose levels and high calcium and protein contents and are relatively easy to digest. Usually the harder the cheese the less lactose it contains."
What are the side effects if my cat overeats cheese?
Cats can become lactose intolerant when they become adults! If ingested, dairy products can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
The main symptoms are:
- Upset stomach
PetCentral.Chewy.com interviewed Dr. Brad LeVora, DVM,
"As a protein, needed by meat-eaters, cheese is a very poor choice--it's got milk, cream, and fat in it. Look at jungle cats like lions, cheetahs--they are not looking for a source of milk, they're hunting for fresh meat."
You also don't want him to pack on the pounds! What about a cheese flavored treat that isn't dairy?
Many human foods are not safe for cats like onions, garlic, and chives. Make sure your cat's diet is mainly a well-balanced cat food. Cow's milk is proven to cause some GI upset and can become a problem for adult cats so look for alternatives. Our staff loves the idea of using goat cheese! Goat cheese is sticky and easier for them to eat than a piece of cheese that's typically larger in size.
Small doses may be ok but as experts recommend, try very tiny amounts and see if that causes any problems since we know this lactose intolerance issue may cause diarrhea.
Soft cheese like mozzarella, cottage cheese, and cream cheese can be used to hide pills if you need other types of cheese to consider for medicine! There are many cat treats that are cheese flavored you can purchase at a local pet boutique. Ask the staff for their recommendations.
Has your cat ever had an adverse reaction to the lactose in cheese? Please let us know in the comments below?