Yogurt is considered the ultimate superfood due to its essential nutrients. Eating it every day provides a plethora of health benefits. However, can cats eat yogurt too?
Is yogurt good for cats? If it is, should we include it as a part of their daily diet? Whether it is good or bad for our feline friends, we’re going to find out the answer.
When it comes to behavior, there are two types of cats. While most cats are typically creatures of habit, there are also those kitties that like to get out of their comfort zone.
This shows that felines are much like us. Although they thrive on routine, they also get bored and would want to try something new for a change.
If your pet is more of the adventurous type, you’ll need to be more vigilant because these cats are more prone to dangers.
However, why do we need to be more heedful with daring cats? Why can't we just let them explore and discover new things by themselves?
Leaving a curious kitty on its own may not be a good idea. They tend to gulp down anything in sight especially when you’re not around.
Felines as obligate carnivores and they are restricted to a particular mode of diet – meat.
Being a strict meat-eater, meat provides them all the vitamins and nutrients that a cat needs. In other words, our furry friends must eat meat because this is their absolute biological necessity.
The digestive system of cats has a shorter digestive tract compared to other mammals. This is specially adapted to digest raw flesh that is highly digestible.
Aside from that, cats lack metabolic enzymes to break down nutrients. It means that their body isn't capable of adequately digesting food other than meat.
To put it, cats don't need to eat plant-based food such as fruits and vegetables. Furthermore, certain foods are toxic to cats.
As a responsible pet owner, we must learn the foods that can endanger our pets. What we're eating right now may not be safe for your kitty to eat.
Before you toss a chunk of chocolate or a piece of raisin to your furballs, take a moment to stop and determine if those foods are safe for them.
By the way, chocolate and raisins are highly poisonous to cats. So don’t even think of feeding these foods to them. However, how about yogurt, can cats eat yogurt?
You’ve probably wondered if it’s okay to let your kitty lick a spoonful of yogurt. Besides, this yummy snack is particularly tasty and healthy. Our furry companions would surely love it.
You're not the only one. Many people want to know – can cats eat yogurt? We've heard other people say that yogurt can treat digestive problems in felines. However, how true is this?
Cats and yogurt
So, Can Cats Eat Yogurt? Can cats eat yogurt? If so, can they also get the same health benefits that we’re getting from it?
Our feline pets can eat anything. They tend to show interest in the foods we eat. If they see you munching on a pizza, they’ll surely want to have some of it. With their begging eyes and pleading yowl, how could you say ‘no’ to them?
Of course, common sense should tell you that pizza is a big no-no for kitties. Yeast is another thing that a feline digestive system cannot break down.
How about yogurt then? Can cats eat yogurt? Yes, cats can physically eat yogurt.
They would even find its creamy texture and pleasant smell appetizing. Simply put, our feline pets will want to eat it if they have the chance.
Is yogurt good for cats? Yogurt is produced by bacterial fermentation of cow’s milk. So basically, this superfood is a dairy product.
Any food containing milk can upset a feline’s digestive system because most of them are lactose intolerant.
How does lactose intolerance affect cats?
Milk contains lactose, a disaccharide sugar made of glucose and galactose. Newborn kittens have an inborn ability to produce enzyme lactase that helps digest lactose.
However, they’ll lose the ability to break down lactose as they grow, making them intolerant to lactose.
When a lactose-intolerant cat consumes milk, the undigested lactose accumulates into the intestines. From there, bacteria ferment the undigested lactose as it pulls much water into the intestines.
As a result, the cat experiences upset stomach, flatulence, bloating and diarrhea. That is why cats have no real need to have milk into adulthood.
Considering that it is made from milk, does it mean that it’s not safe for our feline buddies?
Well, yogurt is different. It contains less lactose than milk because the lactose is utilized in the fermentation process.
It is produced using a bacterial culture of probiotics or friendly bacteria which make it easier for felines to digest.
Probiotics are often called ‘good bacteria' because they act as the gut's first line of defense against ‘bad bacteria.'
Live strains of probiotics help promote a healthy digestive tract and boost the immune system in both humans and animals.
Furthermore, the health benefits of this superfood are so impressive that many people include it in their daily diet.
Plain yogurt is a good source of calcium, vitamin B12, riboflavin, phosphorous, selenium magnesium, and potassium.
It would be nice if our feline pets can also get these health benefits from eating this healthy food.
Is Yogurt Good for Cats?
Without a doubt, many people can benefit from the probiotics and nutrients of yogurt. However, can cats eat yogurt and gain the same health benefits? It’s important to point out that not all yogurts are beneficial.
Some commercial brands of yogurts add a lot of sugar, artificial sweeteners, artificial flavorings, and other ingredients that are not healthful.
With these additives, the natural health benefits of yogurt are significantly degraded. The high amount of sugar and unnecessary additives can even pose health problems to felines when ingested.
If you plan to let your kitty eat yogurt as a treat, choose the plain variant that is free of sweeteners and fats.
However, remember, cats are not supposed to eat a lot of it. A small amount is fine, and you should only think of it as an occasional treat for your kitty.
Essential nutrients from yogurt are beneficial to humans but are not as equally helpful to felines.
Generally, felines don’t need any supplement as long as they are provided with sufficient meat-diet.
Giving them more than what their body can handle is too risky for their health.
Can cats eat yogurt? Yes, they can. However, they should only eat it occasionally in a small amount.
Yogurt as Treatment of Feline Diarrhea
Probiotics are typically found throughout a feline's natural system. Cats obtain certain levels of probiotics from the meat they eat.
The good bacteria circulate throughout the body to fight off harmful bacteria that could be potentially harmful to the cat.
The concentration of both good and bad bacteria is at its highest in the stomach. When the harmful bacteria outnumber the good bacteria, that's when digestive problems are imminent.
Probiotic supplements can help relieve the symptoms of diarrhea in cats by increasing the number of good bacteria.
If your kitty is suffering from diarrhea, give half a tablespoon of plain, unsweetened fat-free yogurt before its main meal.
Do this until your pet’s condition improves. Once your pet’s digestive distress is treated, you should stop giving it your feline pet on a daily basis.
Moreover, it should only be given as an occasional treat to avoid overworking the gastrointestinal tract.
However, if symptoms persist, it's best to take your pet to the vet. Feline diarrhea stems from thousands of possibilities. Physical exams and laboratory tests can help the vet pinpoint the cause of diarrhea to identify the best medical treatment.
Remember, this food can be used to ease the symptoms of diarrhea, but it shouldn't be regarded as a curative treatment as such.
Feline Lactose Intolerance
Pet owners with lactose-intolerant pets are very cautious in considering yogurt as a cat treat. Also, there's a good reason why they should worry.
Lactose intolerance is usually manifested by the following symptoms:
Of course, no one wants their beloved pets to suffer these aggravating symptoms. That is why many pet owners wouldn’t take the risk by keeping dairy products out of their pet’s reach.
Milk and other dairy products like cheese and butter have a high content of lactose that can trigger digestive problems.
Yogurt, on the other hand, contains live bacteria that can break down lactose into lactic acid. As lactose is converted into lactic acid, it won’t pose any digestive issues to lactose-intolerant felines.
The strains of live bacteria also serve as an army of good bacteria to wipe off harmful bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.
If you are still uncertain about giving yogurt as a cat treat, try offering your pet a spoon of the plain variant. Observe your pet for any potential symptoms. If there are no symptoms within a day, your pet is likely to be okay with it as an occasional treat.
When Is Yogurt Bad For Cats?
Let's face it, only a few of us can appreciate the bland taste of plain, unsweetened yogurt. Most of us would be quick to grab a fruit-flavored or nut-filled yogurt over the plain one.
What we didn't know is that the sweet-tasting and more delicious variants are less beneficial to our health.
With their added sugar and artificial additives, we get fewer nutrients and a higher risk of health problems. That goes the same with cats.
Felines, in general, are prone to high blood sugar. Frequent intake of foods high in sugar can potentially cause diabetes mellitus or chronic hyperglycemia in cats.
Some manufacturers are using artificial sweeteners as a sugar substitute in their products.
You need to be cautious because artificial sweeteners come in many forms. Xylitol, for example, is highly toxic to cats as it can trigger insulin production that can lead to liver failure.
Felines may not be able to digest artificial sweeteners, and these may lead to stomach upset.
You may also want to steer away from nut-filled variants because nuts are high in fat that can cause tummy problems in cats.
Too much fat in felines can also lead to pancreatitis and kidney failure.
Do Cats Like Yogurt?
It’s easy to assume that cats and milk are like a match made in heaven. Well, this is because cats are often portrayed in movies and cartoons with a saucer of milk.
However, that's not how it is in reality. As we explained earlier, felines lose their ability to digest lactose as they grow into adulthood.
Forcing them to drink milk instead of water is a very dangerous idea. Most kitties will still drink milk if you offer it to them. For them, the savory taste of milk is much more preferable than the taste of water.
So if most cats love milk, does it also mean that they like the taste of yogurt? While many kitties appreciate the taste of yogurt, there are still those that don’t.
If your kitty immediately turns away after licking the yogurt, the message is clear that your pet doesn’t like it.
However, if your feline pet seems not to get enough of it, the chances are good that you have found a healthy treat for your kitty.
Your feline buddy is likely to prefer sweetened and flavored variants. However, don't compromise their health for the sake of their demands.
Only give them plain, unsweetened fat-free yogurt.
Yogurt Allergy in Cats
Allergy is a very complicated medical condition, and it can affect anyone and any species of any age. Although it's a rare case, some people are allergic to dairy products including yogurt.
The symptoms of yogurt allergy in humans are similar to those in cats suffering from the same ailment.
Some symptoms may include:
If your pet has an existing allergic condition, it’s best to consult with your vet before feeding yogurt.
With the veterinarian's advice, start off with a tiny portion and watch out for any adverse reaction.
Can Kittens Eat Yogurt?
Newborn kittens solely rely on their mother’s milk to get all the nutrients they need for proper growth and development.
During this stage, their body can produce the enzyme lactase that allows them to digest lactose from their mother’s milk.
Does this mean that it’s also safe for kittens to eat yogurt? The answer is ‘no.'
Please take note that kittens are on the phase where their body structure and internal functions are still developing.
Introducing live bacteria into their delicate stomach may disrupt their digestive system.
Other than their mother's milk, kittens don't need any other supplement because they get everything they need from the milk itself.
If you’re planning to adopt a newborn kitten, we recommend that you use kitten milk replacement formula.
Can Cats Eat Greek Yogurt?
Compared to regular yogurts, Greek yogurt is much thicker and creamier. This is because the whey in Greek variant is strained more off it than the regular ones.
Plain, unflavored Greek yogurt should be safe for cats. However, please take note that this variant has more protein and fat than their regular counterparts.
Felines can get sufficient protein from their meat food without the need for other supplements. Foods high in fats should be avoided if you want to keep your feline pet healthy.
Moreover, straining off the whey also removes a significant amount of calcium. For felines, calcium is an essential nutrient for the growth and development of their skeletal, joint and oral health.
Conclusion: Can Cats Eat Yogurt
Felines are carnivorous by nature, and they are ‘obligate' meat-eaters to boot. However, it won’t harm them to try other foods from time to time. It would be our duty as pet owners to make sure that the foods they’re eating are safe for them.
Can cats eat yogurt? As long as we're talking about every day, unsweetened fat-free yogurt that is free of inactive ingredients and artificial emulsifiers. Yes, cats can eat yogurt!
Is yogurt good for cats? If given in small doses, our feline buddies can benefit from the probiotics as these friendly bacteria can help improve their digestive system.
So if you're looking for a healthier alternative for a kitty treat, then plain variant is the answer.
It's technically safe for adult kitties and senior cats to eat plain yogurt, but you shouldn't give too much of it to them. So you certainly must not let your pet consume it every day.