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Can Cats Eat Cheese?

Cat eating cheese

Cats are very interested in any food consisting of milk or other dairy products because they feel the smell of milk in these foods, so they want to taste and eat them right away.

If some people can drink milk without any problems, others have a hard time drinking it because they don’t have an enzyme in their small intestine called lactase, which is required to digest lactose (milk sugar).

Cats have the same problem when consuming cow milk, the lack of the enzyme called lactase makes them feel bad after drinking cow milk or any dairy products produced from cow milk.

Is Cheese Beneficial for Cats?

We all know that cats are carnivorous animals, so their diet should be mostly based on meat.

However, cats love milk and the related products because they don’t know anything about lactose intolerance, even if they feel sick after that.

Anyway, not all cats have lactose intolerance, some of them have no problems after drinking cow milk, but this is pretty rare, so you should never experience giving cow’s milk to your cat.

Cheese is a very common food in almost all households, and because cats love to live inside the house with us, cats can become interested in this food because they see us eating it.

Cheese Nutritional Facts

Cheese is a very ancient food with origins that predate the known history, and today, we can find more than 300 varieties of cheese on the market.

Cheese contains a large number of nutrients such as: protein, saturated fats, minerals (Calcium, Phosphorus, Zinc, Sodium, Potassium, Iron, Magnesium), and vitamins (vitamin A and vitamin B12), Thiamine (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) and Niacin (Vitamin B3).

Not long ago, cheese was considered a less healthy food because contains lactose that affects a large number of people on the planet, also salts, and a good amount of saturated fats which were previously considered a primary cause of heart disease in the United States.

The proteins found in cheese are essential building blocks for strong muscles, while the good amount of calcium and other minerals, and also the large number of vitamins are essential for a healthy and balanced life.

However, the large number of calories in cheese is telling us that this not a food for people and cats that want to lose weight.

To avoid the lactose intolerance, cats should eat very small quantities of Cheddar or Swiss cheese, because these being aged cheeses, they contain almost no lactose, so they are well tolerated.

Facts About Cats and Cheese

The following facts about cats eating cheese will teach you how to properly feed cheese to your feline.

1. Many People Use Cow Milk Instead of Goat Milk To Feed Their Cats

Cow milk can be safe for some people, but not safe for cats. In fact, cow’s milk is not entirely harmful for cats, but it doesn’t provide significant health benefits to your feline.

Maybe you are not aware of the fact that your cat could have lactose intolerance, so giving her cow milk might not be such a good idea.

If you consider that your cat should drink milk, try raw goat milk.

Raw goat milk is considered a superfood both for dogs and cats, because being unpasteurized, it still contains enzymes that will help your cat to digest lactose with ease.

2. Cheese Is Safe For Cats In Small Quantities

Cheese being produced from cow milk (not from raw goat milk) could harm your lactose intolerant cat.

This is the reason why a product made from cow milk like cheese, should be used only in small quantities when feeding the cat (and preferably not very often).

3. Any Dairy Products (including cheese) Should Be Given Only In Small Quantities

After weaning, any cat tends to become lactose intolerant, which means that any dairy product can be harmful for her.

However, if your cat’s diet is not based mainly on dairy products, you can complete its diet with a piece of cheese, some yogurt, maybe sour cream, mozzarella or anything related, but only in small doses.

4. Goat’s Milk And The Related Dairy Products Are Very Beneficial For Cats

I already mentioned that raw goat milk can be easily digested by cats, so if you want to include milk in your cat’s diet, try to use raw goat milk or even cheese made of goat milk.

Any dairy products made of raw goat milk are very beneficial for cats, so you should include them in your feline’s diet as an occasional supplement.

5. Too Much Cheese Could Lead To Obesity

Let’s not forget that cheese contains high levels of fats and salts, so if you make a habit of feeding cheese to your cat, will increase the amount of calories ingested daily, which can lead to obesity.

You don’t want to make your cat obese by feeding her with too many fatty foods, so this is another reason to threat cheese as an occasional snack, and preferably in small quantities.

6. Treats Made Of Raw Goat Milk

If your cat loves goat cheese, you can include this food in her diet, but only in small quantities.

If your cat is interested in milk but not in cheese or other dairy products, give her of him only raw goat milk to satisfy its appetite.

7. Can Kittens Eat Cheese?

We know that the primary source of nutrients for a tiny kitten is her mother’s milk, which means that before weaning, kittens have the enzyme required to digest cow’s milk.

However, the enzyme secretion (used to digest lactose) decreases as the kitten grows and is getting closer to weaning, which means that by the time the kitten has grown enough to consume solid foods without the risk of choking, her ability to digest cow’s milk, cheese, and other dairy products is long gone.

Kittens need a very specific and controlled nutrition as they grow and develop, and this means that cow’s milk, cheese and other dairy products should not be included in their diet.

Using cow’s milk, cheese and other dairy products to feed a growing kitten or a small cat can be very harmful for her, and could even lead to permanent problems in their digestive tract.

8. The More Complex And Richer A Cheese Is, The More Harm It Can Cause To Your Cat

The more complex and rich the cheese is (Cheddar, Camembert, Emmental, etc.) the more harmful will be for your cat.

If you decide that your cat should eat cheese, always choose the simplest cheese possible that is made of raw goat milk.

How to Feed Cheese To Cats?

If you have a small kitten don’t forget that after weaning, she is already lactose intolerant, so if you choose to give her cow’s milk, cheese or other dairy products, you can harm not only her stomach, but in time, its entire digestive tract.

Raw goat milk, cheese made of goat milk or related dairy products are all very beneficial both for small kittens and also for adult cats.

Always use small chunks of simple goat cheese that can be included in your cat’s diet for a healthy development.

Don’t forget that cheese can make your cat fat, so use this food only occasionally and in small quantities.

Blue cheese is a rich and complex cheese that cats should never consume.

Symptoms of Cheese Indigestion in Cats

Most cats are lactose intolerant, so by eating cheese containing lactose, the first symptoms that can appear would be an upset stomach, gas and diarrhea.

If you see that your cat is feeling sick after eating cheese, stop giving her cheese.

Once the cheese is out of her body, all the bad symptoms produced by the consumption of cheese will disappear, but this doesn’t mean that your cat should ever eat cheese again.

Try with cheese made of raw goat milk, and if the cat feels good after eating it, now you know that this is the only cheese that she would ever eat.

If your cat feels bad even after eating cheese made of goat milk, call your vet for advice.

Article written by:

Darius Savin is a lifelong animal lover and protector and the chief editor of Checkmember. He writes and edits articles and is also the creator of the distribution maps for all the creatures featured here.