Can cats eat cheese? Yes, they can! Cheese is not dangerous for cats. Cats lack the digestive enzymes essential to convert dairy into other nutrition. While a little slice of cheese is unlikely to harm your cat, cats are lactose intolerant and should not be fed more than a small complimentary piece on occasion.
Digestion in Cats – A Sneak Peek
Cats are obligate carnivores. This means that cats obtain all of their nourishment from animal-based protein sources such as muscles and organs.
Animal proteins such as organs (liver, kidneys, etc.) and muscles have a high concentration of amino acids that cats require to thrive. They consume just the plant components that have been digested in their prey’s digestive tract.
The cat has evolved over time to be capable of processing plant nutrients that have already been absorbed by its prey. The liver enzymes required to break down those nutrients have been depleted from the cat’s digestive tract, rendering them incapable of efficient metabolization.
As a result of this evolutionary transition, cats have significantly shorter digestive tracts (small stomach and shorter intestines) that rapidly and effectively break down proteins into nutrients, but not fats or plant proteins.
So, Can Cats Eat Cheese?
Can cats eat cheese? Yes, experts agree — but only in moderation. If you do offer your cat cheese at all, give them a little piece around the size of a dice every now and again. For instance, you may choose to restrict your cat’s cheese consumption to times when you need to conceal a medication for them.
While many cats can take tiny amounts of cheese, if your cat is lactose intolerant or allergic to milk, even a small bit of cheese can cause havoc with their digestive system.
The Different Types of Cheese: The Good vs. The Bad
If you must sneak a cheesy treat to your cat, certain types may be preferable:
Cheddar: It is one of the most renowned cheeses available, is a semi-hard cheese with low lactose content. This is not to say that your cat should consume enormous amounts of cheddar, since this might cause stomach upset.
Swiss: A popular sandwich cheese, it is considered a healthy cheese for humans due to its high protein content and low salt and fat content. While it contains less lactose than cheddar, it might still cause stomach problems.
Mozzarella: While many pet owners have caught their fur babies getting into the pizza box, is all that gooey cheese beneficial to your cat? Not nearly enough. Soft cheeses such as mozzarella, either raw or cooked, are toxic to cats due to their high lactose content.
Brie: It is a popular soft cheese, is manufactured with raw milk, which may include diseases such as Salmonella and Listeria. Camembert is another raw soft cheese to avoid.
Blue cheese: Are you aware of what causes cheese to be blue? Mold. This kind of cheese, which includes Stilton, is created using cultures of the mold Penicillium, which is harmful to pets. As a result, avoid feeding moldy cheeses to your cat.
Cottage cheese: It is recommended that you do not feed cottage cheese to your cat. 100g cottage cheese contains around 3.3g lactose; consumption may cause diarrhea and stomach discomfort.
Feta: While feta cheese contains less lactose than other cheeses, it should still be avoided by cats. It’s heavy in salt and fat, both of which may wreak havoc on your cat’s digestive system and contribute to long-term health concerns if consumed on a frequent basis.
Goat’s cheese: While goat’s cheese is low in lactose, you should avoid feeding it to your cat since it is heavy in calories, salt, and saturated fat.
How about the kittens?
Who isn’t moved by photos of a cute little kitten drinking from a warm cup of milk? We were raised on films and videos depicting this scenario. And how is this possible if cats are unable to digest dairy?
Kittens are quite remarkable. As mammals, they consume their mother’s milk after they are born. During the breastfeeding stage, kittens’ bodies produce sufficient lactase to digest the dairy component of their mother’s milk.
As kids mature and wean, their bodies generate less and less lactase. As a result, by the time the kitten is weaned, it has the same amount of lactose as an adult cat, resulting in lactose intolerance.
When Is Cheese Injurious to Cats?
It’s critical to understand that cheese is not a natural component of a cat’s diet. While cheese includes fat and protein, which cats require, a balanced diet consisting primarily of meat will already meet your cat’s nutritional requirements. As a result, they will never require cheese.
The hazards associated with giving cheese to your cat nearly usually outweigh any advantages they may receive. Lactose is found in cheese made from cow’s milk, and the majority of cats are lactose intolerant to some extent. Certain individuals are more lactose intolerant than others.
Cats should have little amounts of cheese on rare occasions. While it is unlikely to be harmful or cause acute disease in your cat, an excessive amount of cheese might result in serious consequences.
Here are a few ways that cheese can be detrimental to cats:
Intolerance to lactose: The majority of cats are lactose intolerant to some extent, but you may not realize how lactose intolerant your cat is unless you serve them a dairy product. If your veterinarian indicates that it is OK to feed your cat a slice of cheese, begin with a very little piece and observe your cat’s reaction.
If they become ill, discontinue feeding them dairy products. If cats that are lactose intolerant consume cheese, they may experience diarrhea, upset stomach, vomiting, or other digestive issues.
Excessive fat content: Cheese is fairly rich in fat, and excessive consumption can cause health issues in cats, just as it does in humans. Cats who consume an excessive amount of fat may develop heart diseases, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.
Excessive salt content: Numerous varieties of cheese include a high salt content, and an excess of salt can result in excessive thirst and irregular urine. Consuming an excessive amount of salt over an extended period of time can result in hypertension, renal difficulties, and other health concerns.
Additional components: Certain types of cheese contain salt, garlic, spices, and other taste enhancers that are hazardous to cats. Feed them no-additive cheese.
The following are common indicators that your cat has a dairy allergy after ingesting lactose products:
- Itchy and/or red spots of skin
- Hair thinning
If your cat exhibits any of these or other strange behaviors, call their veterinarian immediately to schedule a check-up.
What about non-dairy or vegan cheeses?
Vegan cheeses are lactose-free, so they should be okay, correct? Sadly, the truth is no. They are highly processed and contain a significant amount of salt and fat, rendering them unfit for consumption by cats.
Can cats eat cheese?
Yes, your cat can eat cheese, but only in moderation. Due to the fact that cats are obligate carnivores, they lack the lactase enzyme required to digest milk and dairy products. Cheese is absolutely a splurge. Only offer the natural cheeses, not any processed cheeses. Your finest cheese option is goat cheese.
Numerous cat parents utilize cheese to make medication administration simpler. If you are careful with the quantity you provide, a cheddar or soft cheese might make the pill-giving process smoother.
If your pet consumes an excessive amount of cheese, he or she may suffer digestive problems such as belly discomfort, diarrhea, or constipation.
The majority of pet retailers provide cat treats and cat food that contain a trace of cheese. These are acceptable. The manufacturer portioned the cheese for you, ensuring that they are safe for your cat.