Yogurt is a very popular food among humans, and it comes in many varieties such as Greek style, lactose-free, fat-free, white, and fruit flavored. Very often, cats also like yogurt, and we find ourselves taking the lid off the yogurt jar and letting them have a lick. But can cats eat yogurt, or is it bad for them, and what is the right cat-yogurt balance? Let’s find out!
Can Cats Consume Yogurt Or Not?
We have all grown up with the stereotypical image of kittens eating a dish of milk in cartoons and movies. This image probably originated when there were still many farmers, and milk was the only source of nutrition other than water. However, cats are strict carnivores and have a digestive system suited for meat, so what we humans eat is often not suitable for cats and can cause medium to long-term problems for them.
When asked if cats can eat yogurt, the answer is “it depends”. Like many other animals, cats no longer drink their mother’s milk and therefore do not have lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose, in their stomachs, at least as adults. Yogurt contains a little bit of lactose, so you can let them lick the yogurt, but it shouldn’t be too much.
Illnesses that may arise in cats that eat yogurt are:
-Loss of appetite and weight loss
-Pain and discomfort in the abdomen
However, some cats tolerate dairy products well. You can test your cats for lactose intolerance by giving them a small amount and see if they have a reaction within a day. If they don’t show symptoms within 24 hours, they can eat yogurt occasionally, but it is still not recommended to give it frequently, and cats do not need it in their original diet. Remember, cats must eat mainly meat and not dairy products.
The Beneficial Properties of Yogurt
For us humans, yogurt is a healthy source of nutrition. Not only because of the nutritional properties of milk but also because it is fermented and contains live bacteria and probiotics that are very important for our intestines. Not only does a cup of yogurt provide half of our calcium needs and plenty of protein for the day, but it can also help with digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome and bloating. It is rich in phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and B vitamins: B12 and riboflavin, which help produce red blood cells, build strong bones, stabilize mood, and give you energy.
If your cat needs to be fed prebiotics or probiotics because of intestinal illness or to boost immunity, there are lactose-free products specially formulated for animals and can be added to their regular food.
Delicious Alternatives of Yogurt for Cats
If you’re looking for something to spice up your cat’s daily diet, there are plenty of human foods that cats enjoy that won’t harm their digestive systems, like yogurt. Here are some foods that are safe for cats to eat.
-Cooked ham, beef, and turkey
-Celery (crunchy ones are preferred)
-Spinach (full of vitamins A, C, and K!)
-Peas (found in many dog and cat foods as a vitamin supplement).
-Pumpkin (Pumpkin is often used as a way to add fiber to a cat’s diet.
However, please note that non-meat foods are not a preferred diet for healthy cats and should be fed in moderation. If you are unsure of what to feed your cat, consult a veterinary nutritionist. Additionally, each cat’s personality is different, and while one cat may tolerate yogurt and lactose, another may not.