Almond milk is the best choice for people with lactose intolerance or those who follow a strict vegan diet. However, can cats drink almond milk too?
Is almond milk safe for cats? First of all, we’re going to find out what almond milk has in store for us. Why do some people prefer this nutty beverage over cow’s milk?
The popularity of plant-based milk has increased over the years. Soy and almond milk are the most preferred beverages by vegans and those who are lactose intolerant.
It is produced by grinding almond nuts, mixing the finely ground nuts with water and then filtering the mixture. The product looks a lot like cow's milk, but it has an entirely different flavor.
Since it was made from almond nuts, it has a nutty flavor and a hint of sweetness. It has a very light taste that some people describe as almost having no feeling at all. At first, it was initially used as a creamer for coffee, cereals, and smoothies.
Manufacturers of plant-based milk have been trying to imitate the creamy taste of cow's milk that most people (and even animals) love.
Due to its insipid taste, most commercial brands of almond milk add ‘natural flavorings' such as sugar, chocolate, and vanilla.
Now, we can find this beverage almost everywhere – from supermarkets to coffee shops. More people are switching to almond milk due to its amazing health benefits.
If you have some kitties at home, you’ve probably wondered if it’s okay to give a saucer of almond milk to them.
Felines and the need for almond milk
Can cats drink almond milk? Well, we could only assume that milk is an essential part of a feline's diet because that's what we always watch on the TV, right?
However, contrary to what we see in the movies, cats do not need milk in their diet. Felines are obligate carnivores.
This means that they can survive on a strict meat diet alone. Their bodies are designed to absorb all the essential nutrients they need from their meat food.
Besides, most cats are lactose intolerant, and they are likely to suffer gastrointestinal problems if they consume milk. However, the case is different with a plant-based beverage such as almond milk.
Unlike cow’s milk, almond milk doesn’t contain lactose. So, even those with lactose intolerance can drink this nutty beverage without any ill issues.
Plus, it does not contain any animal products making it a popular choice for vegans.
Since it contains no lactose, can cats drink almond milk without any side effects? Is almond milk safe for cats?
Can Cats Drink Almond Milk?
Milk that doesn’t contain lactose is like a holy grail for people with lactose intolerance. Of course, cats are no exemption because their love for milk is undeniable.
That is why it’s no surprise that more people are choosing almond milk over the lactose-rich cow’s milk. So, can cats drink almond milk?
The answer is yes – cats can drink it. However, this doesn't mean that they need to.
Drinking milk is necessary for newborn kittens because their fragile body isn't capable of handling solid foods just yet.
During this stage, young kittens still possess the ability to process lactose, so it's safe for them to consume it as much as they want.
However, felines lose this ability as they grow into adulthood. That is why most felines become lactose intolerant when they become adults.
Moreover, this also explains why most cats suffer from diarrhea and other digestive problems after consuming dairy products.
Now here comes plant-based substitute for dairy products. Beverages that don’t contain lactose and any animal products is like a dream come true.
Finally, lactose intolerant and vegans can drink milk without worries. How about our feline pets?
Yes, they can. However, remember, adult cats don't need to drink it because they already get everything they need from their meat diet.
You can give this nutty beverage as an occasional treat. However, it shouldn't be included as an integral part of their daily diet. If it doesn’t contain lactose, why can’t we consider adding it into its daily meal?
Is Almond Milk Safe for Cats?
Can cats drink almond milk without any adverse effects on their health? For humans, this healthy drink offers a plethora of health benefits.
It is a good source of protein, vitamin E, riboflavin, potassium, zinc, manganese, selenium, and thiamine.
This nutty beverage is not nearly as nutritious as cow's milk, but commercial varieties usually add extra nutrients to boost its nutritional value.
They usually add calcium and vitamin D to help improve bone health. It may stand a step behind cow's milk when it comes to nutrition. However, it also has its advantages.
Compared to cow's milk, almond milk has much lower calories and fat content making it an ideal option for those who want to lose weight.
Unsweetened variant contains little to no sugar, and it's cholesterol-free. Additionally, it contains fewer carbohydrates than cow's milk.
However, probably its most significant edge from cow's milk is the absence of lactose which allows people with lactose intolerance to drink it without worry.
So, can cats benefit from drinking it too? There's no doubt that almond milk is beneficial for people. However, the amazing effects of this beverage may not be favorable to felines.
Let us not forget that almond milk is derived from almond nuts. Although almond nuts are not considered to be toxic to cats, it can still pose potential health problems to your kitty.
Almonds contain cyanogenic glycosides that can cause cyanide poisoning if consumed in high amounts.
Cyanide poisoning can be manifested by symptoms including upset stomach, dilated pupils and hyperventilation. In severe cases, cyanide poisoning can make your kitty go into shock and even die.
Just like any other nut, almonds are high in fats that can lead to digestive upset when consumed in large quantities.
Since almond nut is the main ingredient, almond milk may cause abdominal pains, diarrhea, and vomiting in cats.
Commercial brands only use very few almonds, so its cyanide content isn't enough to poison your feline friend. However, consuming too much of it can still lead to potential cyanide poisoning.
Can cats drink almond milk? Yes, they can. However, animal nutritionists would recommend not to because almond nuts don't have a room in a feline diet.
It is safe to let your kitty drink a small amount of this nutty beverage, but it shouldn't be given on a daily basis.
In other words, it should only be given as an infrequent treat for your beloved furball.
Health Benefits of Almond Milk to Cats
One of the best things about almond milk is its calcium content. It has the highest level of calcium in comparison with cow’s milk and other plant-based products.
Calcium is considered an essential nutrient for feline as they also need this mineral for healthy bones and teeth.
Cats generally get calcium from their food sources which include bones, meat and organ tissues of their prey.
However, calcium level in cats should be regulated because too much or too little of it can be detrimental to their health.
As long as they are provided with a sufficient meat diet, there's no need to include calcium supplements in their meal.
Excess calcium can result in hypercalcemia with distressing symptoms such as polyuria, polydipsia, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, and depression.
Furthermore, calcium level also needs to be balanced with the concentration of phosphorous. Cats should get 1.1 parts calcium for every 1 part of phosphorous.
Almond milk is very rich in calcium, but it is low in phosphorus. The balance between the level of calcium and phosphorous in almond milk is not suitable for felines.
Is there anything that cats can benefit from this beverage? Well, there's one. Felines can make use of its high vitamin E content in protecting cells from oxidative damage.
Although it’s a rare condition, vitamin E deficiency in felines can lead to liver hepatitis and heart problems.
Except for chicken thigh, meat does not contain sufficient vitamin E., And you may need to include vitamin E supplements if your feline pet has vitamin E deficiency.
There are vitamin E supplements in powder form that you can mix with their meal. However, since cats are known to like the taste of milk, you can give them a small cup of almond milk from time to time.
Other than vitamin E, all the vitamins and minerals found in this beverage have little or no effect on our feline friends.
Meat is very rich in protein, and they don't require any more protein from other foods. The good thing about this nutty beverage is that it contains less protein than cows and soy milk.
However, this doesn't mean that it's safe to let your kitty drink a large amount of it. As explained earlier, a high amount of almond consumption can be dangerous to a feline's health.
How Much Almond Milk Can You Give to Your Cat?
Can cats drink almond milk? It is safe for cats, but this doesn't mean that you should allow them to drink as much as they want on a regular basis.
Now that you already know the potential risks of consuming too much of it, you need to restrict the amount that you’re giving.
Start small by giving about ¼ a cup to see how your kitty reacts to it. If your pet refuses to lick some more and walks away, then you may want to give up on it.
However, if your furry friend likes the taste and consumes all of it, then you may consider using it as a cat treat.
A small cup of this nutty beverage on rare occasions should be safe for your kitty. Choose the unsweetened variant to make sure that your pet is getting nothing but the best.
Stay away from variants with added sugar and artificial flavorings as these additives can devalue its nutritional value.
Therefore, it is essential to check the ingredients list and nutrition label of the product. If you've decided to use almond milk like a cat treat, always keep an eye on possible symptoms that may arise.
Symptoms may not manifest right from the start, and your pet might demonstrate some of these later.
That’s why you need to be vigilant at all times and immediately stop giving this nutty beverage if you notice any adverse reaction.
Almond Allergy in Cats
Another thing to look out when giving food to your pet is whether or not they’re allergic to it.
Nut allergies are common in felines even though nuts are generally non-toxic to them. If your pet is particularly allergic to nuts, it's best to stay away with foods that contain any kernel.
Of course, this also includes almond milk. Allergic reactions to almond may consist of:
If your pet happens to show any of these symptoms, take it to the vet right away for proper diagnosis and medical treatment.
What to Do If A Cat Accidentally Drinks Almond Milk
Let's admit it; we can't always keep our eyes fixed on our pets 24/7. As curious creatures, cats won't hesitate to drink anything especially if they see us drinking it too.
There are instances when they would sneak and try our foods when we’re not around. That’s why leaving a glass or an opened carton of almond milk on the table isn’t a wise idea.
So what would you do if your kitty gulps down a large amount of almond milk? Each cat is unique on their own, and their system has different levels of sensitivity to certain foods.
If your kitty isn't manifesting any adverse reaction after drinking it, the chances are good that it isn't allergic to almond and it should be fine.
However, if your pet shows adverse reactions, call your vet for immediate advice or bring your distressed pet to the vet right away.
Can cats drink almond milk without any side effects? As long as it is given in moderation and a small amount, it should be safe for cats to drink it.
Also, as long as they are not allergic to almonds, your kitty should be okay with it as an occasional treat.
Keep in mind though that this nutty beverage is no better than water in keeping your pet properly hydrated.
Because of its very light taste, some may think that it tastes like water. So this may lead them to believe that it can be a better substitute for water due to its added nutrients.
Unfortunately, almond milk has no significant nutritional value to felines, and there's no point in letting them drink it.
Cats love the taste of milk, and they can drink more than their stomach can handle if we let them be. However, letting them do so would greatly endanger them.
Only give your feline pet a small amount, ideally half a cup, as a treat. If your pet begs for more, be firm and don’t give in to its demand.
Always remember that moderation is the key. Almond milk should not be regarded as cat food and should only be given sparingly.