Can Kittens Drink Cow’s Milk?

We often don’t think before giving milk to our kittens because, according to us, milk is going to be their absolute favorite.

But that only happens in cartoons. It is really important for people to know whether they should be giving cow’s milk to their cats or not.

No, you should not give cow milk to newborn kittens because it is not suitable for their digestive system, and they often get diarrhea because of cow’s milk. Want to know more about how kittens can drink cow’s milk? Keep reading.

Should Kittens Actually Drink Cow Milk?

No, it is highly advised by the vets to never give your kittens cow milk. If your kitten is smaller, drinking cow’s milk can cause dehydration and diarrhea, which is why most doctors recommend you avoid giving cow milk to your kittens.

The reason why cow milk is not suitable for your kitten is that they cannot digest it as they do not have the proper enzyme that digests lactose.

Lactose is a very important component of cow milk, so when it is not digested properly, it causes problems.

It might surprise you that kittens drink cow milk eagerly, and they seem to be loving it, which encourages a lot of people to actually give cow milk to their kittens. However, you will see the results of cow milk in just a couple of hours.

Even if your kitten seems unaffected by cow milk and does not show any symptoms of diarrhea or dehydration, you should still not give her cow’s milk because doctors do not recommend it at all.

Does Cow Milk Provide Enough Nutrition to Kittens?

No, milk does not provide the required level of nutrition to kittens which is why it causes sickness and weakness in smaller kittens as their nutritional needs are not being met. The balance of nutrients that kittens need is not present in cow’s milk.

Also, many cats are lactose intolerant too, which is why it is even harder for them to get nutrition from something their body is not digesting.

Cats require proper protein, so you are not supposed to rely on cow’s milk for their nutritional needs because they would rather have a piece of meat.

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Also, drinking milk right after eating a protein-rich meal dilutes all the nutrients that your cat will get, which can result in malnutrition at certain times.

Side Effects of Drinking Cow’s Milk in Kittens

There are many side effects of drinking cow’s milk because your kitten is just not supposed to drink it, and it is not meant for that either. People don’t pay attention and often just give their kittens cow’s milk which can result in severe consequences.

1. Itchiness

Not every cat experiences itchiness after drinking cow’s milk, but those that are lactose intolerant might have this effect after drinking milk. In this condition, their body itches, and the itching can be mild or severe.

Itchiness can cause your cat to be a little annoyed too, and it might spoil her mood, so your cat will not particularly be in a playful condition.

2. Vomiting

Vomiting usually happens when the condition of your kitten is a little severe because her body cannot digest even a drop of cow milk, and that is why it is vomiting.

Also, the vomit can continue for several minutes and even for hours at times which could be very painful for the kitten.

Once your kitten starts vomiting, the best thing you could do is just take her to a vet because you are not supposed to wait in this condition as it will only worsen, and the best decision would be to try and save your kitten’s life.

3. Flatulence

Flatulence or gas buildup is only the problem of humans, and kittens go through that too. It can be very uncomfortable and, at times, painful too. And if your cat drinks cow milk excessively, the flatulence could be worse.

During this condition, your cat will be very uneasy and uncomfortable, and you just need to comfort her and take her to the vet. Also, keep the cow milk away from her.

4. Diarrhea

Diarrhea is the worst condition, and it can make your kitten severely dehydrated. Most kittens who drink cow milk usually get diarrhea, but it is not severe at times.

Serious cases of diarrhea could be life-threatening for your kitten, so just don’t take this chance and make sure that your kitten is not drinking cow’s milk, neither intentionally nor by mistake.

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Which Milk is Healthy for Kittens?

We have rambled about how bad cow’s milk could be for kittens, but it is also very important to know that there are some types of milk that are not only suitable but also very healthy for your cat.

● Coconut Milk

Coconut milk could be a great alternative to cow’s milk because it does not contain lactose and looks pretty much the same too. When people think about milk for cats, coconut milk does not really come to their mind, and it is not very mainstream, but it still is the best.

Just make sure that you are giving this milk to your cat occasionally and in the form of a treat because coconut milk is rich in fats, and excessive use of it can lead to weight gain in your cat, which you obviously do not want.

● Cat’s Milk

The best and healthiest milk you can give to your kitten is the milk of a cat. Because this milk is specifically for kittens, it fulfills all their nutritional needs, and your kittens also love cat’s milk after trying it just for once.

It is often advised that if your kitten is losing a lot of weight, give it cat’s milk, and it will not be weak anymore because cat’s milk gives a lot of strength to your kitten.

● Almond Milk

Almond milk is another great option if you want to give your kittens some milk without damaging their digestive system. Cats are not particularly fans of nuts, and they might not even eat them even if you place the nuts in front of them but, when it is in the form of almond milk, kittens seem to enjoy it.

Moreover, almond milk contains lots of proteins which are really necessary for the proper and healthy growth of your kitten, and even though the protein in almond milk might not be as much compared in meat, it still is pretty good.

● Formula

Most people don’t really like formulas, and when they talk about them, they portray them as if it is a bad thing. But, at times, the formula is a lot better than trying soy milk or almond milk because it is made specifically for your cat, which means everything is considered while making a formula.

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Formulas are very less likely to cause any problem in your cats, but it might be a problem if your kitten is allergic to one of the ingredients.

Otherwise, we highly recommend you to go for formula as it is not as harmful as other options available. Also, cat formula is available almost everywhere, and it is pretty reasonable too.

Can Cats Eat Dairy Products?

Even though kittens usually have a very strong reaction to drinking milk, it does not really mean that they cannot drink dairy at all.

Whether they are able to consume dairy also depends upon your individual cat, so you need to let them try different things of dairy to understand their nature.

There are a lot of cats that can eat cheese or yogurt without any problem, but they get diarrhea every time they drink milk. It is pretty common, so don’t freak out if it happens to you too, because it is not necessary that your cat hates dairy.

The main reason why cats love ice cream or yogurt, even though they are a form of dairy, is that they do not have an overwhelming quantity of lactose.

Even though lactose is present in dairy products other than milk, it is highly diluted with water, so it does not have a lot of effects.

Also, microorganisms that survive on cheese and yogurt consume lactose, so in the end, there is not much left for you to consume, which makes these dairy products safe to be consumed by kittens. Just make sure that you are not giving dairy to your cat without proper consideration.


So, cow milk is not that great for your kittens, and it can have side effects too that are pretty severe. It is better to look for alternatives to cow milk, just like the ones we have listed above.

Also, make sure to notice your kittens properly if they are showing signs of discomfort, especially when they have drunk cow’s milk. So, just hide cow milk and do not let your kittens drink it as it is not suitable for them at all.