Is it OK to give my kitten milk?
Giving your kitten milk can cause upset tummies, cramps and
severe diarrhea. Diarrhea can be deadly to kittens because it
dehydrates their little bodies very quickly.
Cats and kittens do not need to drink milk and can live their
entire lives without having one lap of milk. Water is all they will
ever need. If you really want to give them milk then you can
purchase special kitten milk which is lactose free from your pet
food store, vets or supermarket but they really don't need it.
Most cats are lactose intolerant because they lack the enzyme
'lactase' which helps them digest lactose and take it into their
blood stream. Lactose is the sugar found in milk. As undigested
lactose passes through the kitten's digestive system it draws water
from the intestines. Lactose cannot pass easily through the
intestinal wall into the bloodstream, so it remains in the
intestines. Soon, gut bacteria invade and fermentation sets in
causing large amounts of gas to form. The result is pain and
diarrhea for your kitten.
Very young kittens and indeed all mammals produce the enzyme
lactase when suckling from their mother but the ability to produce
the enzyme diminishes after weaning.
The bottom line is not to give cats or kittens milk