Does Cheese Affect Cats?

Cats and dairy don't mix very well.
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If your cat enjoys the taste of "people" food, then he's certainly not alone. Most fluffballs go wild at the mere prospect. However, just because your cat likes it doesn't mean it's suitable for him. In fact, people food frequently leads to discomfort in kitties -- notably dairy.


Cheese is a dairy product because milk is one of its primary ingredients. Any food item that includes milk is classified this way, whether yogurt, ice cream, sour cream or butter. Although cheese may taste absolutely yummy to your cutie, the consequences may not be so terrific. Take your cat's health seriously and avoid feeding him dairy products, no matter how much he begs and pleads with his adorable, longing eyes.

Lactose Intolerance

The majority of felines are lactose intolerant, meaning their systems simply don't respond well to milk and milk products. Cat bodies don't make sufficient levels of an enzyme known as lactase, which is responsible for healthy digestion of lactose. Since lactose, a type of sugar, is one of the main components of milk, this means that cats and cheese are just not a love match -- unfortunate for your fluffball, of course.


According to the ASPCA, diarrhea is one of the ways in which cheese negatively affects cats. If your cat somehow got some cheese into his mouth, don't be surprised if you notice him making abnormally frequent stops to the litter box afterward. Tummy woes are a primary indication of the aftermath of lactose in cats. Your cat's feces will likely have a runny and watery look to them. You also may notice that he seems a lot more exhausted than normal, and he may even lose his appetite and seem slightly feverish.


Another decidedly unpleasant effect that cheese may have on your cat is flatulence -- yikes. Dairy products don't sit well with cats, so be prepared for an irritable cat with a stomachache and unhappy noses all around. Other key signs of excess gas in cats include a wee potbelly, loud grumbling sounds coming from the stomach region, watery stools and often even vomiting. If either diarrhea or gas symptoms seem severe and fail to quickly subside, get your pet to the veterinarian immediately. What you may be confusing as lactose intolerance due to cheese consumption may be something else entirely, such as inflammatory bowel disease.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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