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Can Cats Eat Cheese?

Can Cats Eat Cheese?

The long answer: Kittens are born with the capacity to handle lactose, but they lose this ability after weaning. Adult cats are generally lactose intolerant, which means they cannot handle food that contains lactose. Lactose is a natural sugar commonly found in dairy products such as cow’s milk, yogurt, and cheese. Predominantly made of protein and fat from milk, cheese can also include flavourings (herbs, spices, hot and sweet peppers, horseradish, and port wine) that may not be safe for your cat to eat.  

Similar to milk, cheese can wreak havoc in your cat’s digestive system, causing her to release gas, experience vomiting, or have diarrhea. However, it depends on your cat’s sensitivity to lactose and the amount of lactose found in the cheese she consumes. The richer the cheese, the more you should refrain from feeding it to your cat to avoid health complications. Hard cheeses like cheddar, Swiss, or Gouda are your safest bets, while bleu cheese should be avoided. 

Some paw parents choose to give medicine to their cat by inserting the pill in a small block of cheese. It is best to clear this with your veterinarian first, as Dr. Tawnia Shaw, DMV explains, “Some medicines do not do well if taken with high calcium foods. Doxycycline, an antibiotic, for example, gets bound to the calcium and then does not get absorbed.” 

What to do if your cat accidentally eats cheese: Observe your cat for any changes within 8 to 12 hours. She may experience vomiting, upset stomach, and diarrhea. When this happens, call your veterinarian and ask for the best course of action to take.  

In summary: As meat eaters, cats do not need cheese in their daily diet. Though cheese is high in calcium and protein, this dairy byproduct also contains high levels of milk, salt, and fat, which will not benefit her body. If you’re considering giving your cat a treat, you’re better off feeding her a small portion of fresh fruits such as apples, blueberries, or cantaloupes. 


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