A little known fact is, cats are lactose intolerant. Yes, you heard it here first. So, all those images of cats drinking bowls of milk are lies! Cats are strictly carnivorous, slowly losing their ability to break down lactose at 12 weeks and then completely. Ingestion of dairy products can cause them to have diarrhea, vomiting, and an upset stomach. So, no dairy obviously, but you have almond milk sitting in your fridge. Can cats drink almond milk?
Almonds to Almonds: Vet Approved
Almond milk gets the green light from veterinarians and your cat. It is an excellent milk alternative with few additives and doesn’t contain anything toxic to felines.
Even better news is cats love the sweet taste of almond milk. They’ll love it as a treat or mixed in to hide medicine in their food.
Cats & Almond Milk: Cons
Almond milk is sweet and delicious which as most things that do, is high in calories. Just one cup of soy or almond milk contains 40 calories. This is compared to the fact that a 10-pound cat only needs 200 calories per day. These calories are also devoid of needed nutrients for cats and thus are empty calories. So, drinking almond milk can cause cats to become obese if not moderated.
Cats get all the nutrients they need from protein, thus although there are benefits to almond milk, they aren’t necessary for healthy cats.
Almond milk isn’t overly sweet, but many brands add sweeteners and flavoring. Cats, fortunately, don’t like excessively sweet things. Your best option is to read the ingredients, making sure there isn’t any added sugar or artificial sweeteners. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener now used now in a lot of food made for humans, it isn’t poisonous to us, but its toxicity could be fatal.
How to Introduce Cats to Almond Milk
Moderation is the key to introducing your cat to anything new. Almond milk is like anything else in this department. Never pour out a giant bowl and set it on the ground for your cat to lap up. 1/4 of a cup or less should be enough.
When allowing your cat to have a small drink of almond milk watch their initial reaction within the next hour Also observe bowel movements for the next one to two days to see how it affects the cat’s digestive system. If your feline companion seems normal than it is safe to say they are tolerant to milk. Cats should not ingest more than 4 cups of almond milk a day, but even a whole cup can be too much. This all depends on the individual’s weight, age, activity level, and health status.
It is unlikely but your cat could have an allergic reaction, here are signs:
- Itchy runny eyes
- Excessive itching
- Swollen paws
- Uncontrollable vomiting and bowel movements.
- Difficulty breathing
- Swollen eyes
If your cat is experiencing a severe reaction take them immediately to the vet as it can be fatal.
Cats & Almond Milk: Pros
Cats love almond milk, it also loves them. Although they don’t need the nutrients it offers, that doesn’t mean they aren’t healthy benefits.
It contains Omega-3 fatty acids that are “good” fat that aids in heart health. Rich in proteins as well, it contains vitamin E, potassium, manganese, zinc, selenium, and riboflavin.
Commonly added to almond milk is calcium and Vitamin D which are also nutritious. Carbohydrates in this kind of milk if unsweetened are low so blood sugar is not affected. This is good news for cats with diabetes
Other Almond Products for Cats
Almond milk isn’t the only almond product cats can have. Cats can have almond butter as well in moderation, along with hard almonds. Although hard almonds are not encouraged as they can cause blockage or choking in cats. This is due to their dense nature.
Hard almonds can also be tricky as “bitter” almonds exist and are poisonous to cats due to containing small traces of cyanide. Fortunately in the US, they are scarce.
There are concerns that almond crops are not highly sustainable. This is due to the amount of water that has to be diverted to this thirsty crop; as an example is it takes 15 gallons to grow 16 almonds. 80% of the world’s almonds come from California. California diverts ground and surface water from aqueducts for irrigation purposes. These crops have also taken up a substantial amount of land, 23,000 acres of natural land to be specific. Some critics feel these numbers are too extensive for crops that have a high enough nutritional value.
The Almond Board of California states that almond farmers are making proactive choices to reduce these issues and promote sustainable almond farming.
Dairy Alternatives and Cats
Almond milk isn’t the only dairy alternatives on the market these days. Soy milk was the reigning champion for years before almond milk took over. Cashew milk is also becoming popular. Just like cats can drink almond milk these alternatives are non-toxic to cats, but as usual, they should be fed in moderation.
The Almond Milk Conclusion
Go ahead, pour your cat a cold one. They’ll enjoy some unsweetened almond milk as a cool tasty treat. You can also just give them a few laps of your finished cereal if you’re lazy. Cats can drink almond milk with no problem and other kinds of dairy alternatives as well. Take the sustainable factor in, but decide for yourself.