The primary concern of every kitten owner is what to feed and how to keep them warm. The first thought that comes in our minds is that, can I feed a kitten milk. Most people think that cats love milk and it is not their fault. We have been hearing stories about how cats love milk and how they enter houses just to steal milk. So it is natural for most cat owners to feed milk to their pets thinking that they may just love it. But, the truth is that milk is not good for kittens. Actually cats and kittens can survive without a drop of milk all through their lives. They only need sufficient amount of water.
Can kittens digest milk?
Kittens will drink milk if they are offered a bowl of milk. Actually the body of cat is not able to digest the lactose contained in the milk leading to indigestion, and diarrhea. The facts about cats is kittens should not drink milk. Once the cats are weaned most of them are intolerant to lactose in milk. Their body is not able to produce the enzymes required to digest the milk proteins. This enzyme by the name lactase is needed to completely digest milk, which is missing in cats.
Why you should not feed kittens milk?
A lactose intolerant cat, when it drinks milk he is not able to break down the milk proteins leading to indigestion. He is unable to break down the sugars present in the milk, which would then be absorbed into his body. Instead, the sugars remain in the system leading to fermentation due to bacteria. The fermentation is the main cause for diarrhea, indigestion, gas and bloating. Lactose cannot pass through the intestines of a kitten and remains in the intestines leading to pain in kittens. Lactase is produced in very young kittens and in all mammals when they are drinking their mother’s milk. The enzyme lactase diminishes after weaning. Diarrhea can be very fatal for kittens and causes severe dehydration, which is very difficult for their little bodies. Actually, after weaning kittens do not require milk in their daily diet. You can still feed limited amount of cow’s milk if you need to or not at all.
Water is actually what is needed for cats. You need to feed kittens fresh and clean water regularly.
Newborn kittens require milk to survive. The weaning process usually starts after 5 weeks of age. Prior to the weaning process they require sufficient amount of milk to gain their health. It is their only source of nutrition. As an owner of a kitten you should be aware that you are not supposed to feed them cow milk. The best milk for young kittens is their mother’s milk. If you have an orphaned kitten and you fail to find a foster mother for the kitten, then you can feed the kitten specially formulated kitten milk after consulting a vet. This special milk is formulated taking into consideration the requirements of a kitten. This milk is lactose free and can be purchased from pet stores in your neighborhood.
Are all cats intolerant to milk protein?
Not all cats have shown intolerance to lactose present in the milk. You can check if your cat is lactose intolerant by feeding him little milk initially and wait to see if he develops any digestive problems like diarrhea. If you notice that your cat is okay with cow milk, then you can feed him a bowl of milk occasionally. Milk should be given as only a treat and not included in his daily diet.
Milk is not the only source of calcium for kittens. Most commercially available kitten food is formulated to meet all the nutritional requirements of your kitten. Commercial kitten food contains all the required minerals, vitamins and adequate amount of calcium suitable for kittens and according to their age. Make sure the food that you serve your kitten is specially formulated for them. Keep your young kitten warm by wrapping him in a towel. Monitor the health of your kitten on a regular basis to prevent any serious health issues arising out of improper care and attention. The commercial food prepared for kittens provide all the necessary nutrients for them to grow healthy.