Can Cats Eat Greek Yogurt?

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Cats are famous for their love of milk. In popular media, it’s not at all unusual to see a cat enjoying a saucer of milk or cream. However, this stereotype isn’t based in reality. Cats begin to lose the ability to produce lactose once they reach 12 weeks of age.

Because of this, a large number of cats are actually lactose intolerant.

With that said, you don’t have to completely avoid dairy-based treats for your cat. Many cats love the taste of yogurt. Since cats are carnivores, yogurt shouldn’t be a major part of their diet, but it can be a healthy and tasty snack.

Is it Safe to Give a Cat Greek Yogurt?

dipping into a cup of yogurt

Even if your cat is lactose intolerant, it will usually be safe to give them small amounts of Greek yogurt [1]. Greek yogurt is considered to be a lower lactose food.

A six-ounce container of Greek yogurt contains just 4 grams of lactose [2]

With that said, you’ll want to take some precautions when giving your cat yogurt. You should make sure you choose a plain yogurt; sugar and artificial sweeteners can be harmful to your cat.

You should also make sure you feed your cat an appropriate serving of yogurt. Cats have smaller stomachs than humans, and a few spoonfuls of yogurt should be more than enough.

You should also be aware that some cats have yogurt allergies, which means they can’t tolerate any yogurt at all. It’s best to talk to your vet before you start serving yogurt to your cat.

If your cat has never had yogurt before, you should only offer them a small spoonful. If you notice any negative symptoms, such as vomiting, you’ll want to avoid giving them yogurt in the future.

Can You Feed Your Cat Other Types Of Yogurt?

You don’t have to limit yourself to Greek yogurt if you want to give your cat a treat. Cats can tolerate other types of yogurt as well. Greek yogurt is a popular choice because it contains less lactose than other types of yogurt.

If you want to give your cat yogurt, but you don’t have Greek yogurt on hand, you should look closely at the lactose content of your yogurt.

If the yogurt you have is low in lactose, it should be appropriate for your cat. As mentioned above, any yogurt that you feed your cat should be plain and unsweetened.

Why Should You Feed Your Cat Yogurt?

a pretty house cat

Yogurt can be a treat for cats, but it also has all kinds of health benefits. It contains a number of valuable nutrients, including magnesium, potassium, and calcium.

Calcium is especially valuable to cats. It can increase bone strength, which can reduce the risk of osteoarthritis, a degenerative condition that is commonly found in older cats [3].

The primary benefit of yogurt, however, is the living cultures that it contains. Greek yogurt is packed with healthy bacteria, which can improve your pet’s immune system and their digestive system. The probiotics found in yogurt can be very helpful to cats that suffer from bowel issues.

If your cat is suffering from diarrhea, a small amount of Greek yogurt could actually bring them some relief. Probiotics are used to treat many digestive issues. However, you should avoid giving yogurt to your cat if you haven’t discussed it with your vet.

Can You Give Your Kitten Yogurt?

Because kittens can digest lactose, you may think that it is safe to treat your young cat to a spoonful of yogurt. It’s important to remember that young cats are still growing and developing.

You will want to be very careful about what you feed your pet during this important time.

Even though young cats can digest milk better than their older counterparts, you should avoid feeding your pet any sort of yogurt while they are in the kitten stage. Only give your pet food that was designed for kittens.

Summary

Although cats are lactose intolerant, they can benefit greatly from eating small amounts of plain Greek yogurt. Not all cats enjoy yogurt, but many pets find it to be a delicious treat.

If your cat has an upset stomach, or if you’d like to give them a special treat, you should consider feeding them a spoonful of yogurt.

Resources

  1. Feline Living, Can Cats Eat Yogurt? Which Kind Is Good For Your Feline? Retrieved at https://www.felineliving.net/can-cats-eat-yogurt/
  2. Elizabeth Wallace, Greek Yogurt for the Lactose and Gluten Intolerant, American Dairy. Retrieved at https://www.americandairy.com/news-and-events/dairy-diary/food-and-recipes/greek-yogurt-for-the-lactose-and-gluten-intolerant.stml
  3. Carmela Stamper, DVM, Osteoarthritis in Cats: A More Common Disease Than You Might Expect, U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Retrieved at https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/animal-health-literacy/osteoarthritis-cats-more-common-disease-you-might-expect

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