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Can cats eat cheese?

Cats are lovers of the good life. They know how to enjoy the great pleasures such as eating, sleeping, and playing all day long, but above all things, eating well, especially if they are kittens, because it seems they are never satisfied. Have you ever noticed that cats are obsessive about getting some cheese? Is it OK? Can cats eat cheese?

If you have a cat, you’ve probably already noticed that when it’s time to eat, your cat is the first to sit at the table, waiting for you to share something or get distracted to steal a piece. If you’re eating a delicious spinach salad, your cat won’t show any interest, but how about when it’s a grilled cheese sandwich with cheese?

can cats eat cheese - cliche

We have all seen the popular image of a furry cat drinking warm milk, so we might assume that cats love milk and, therefore, cheese and that there is no problem if they consume it, but have you ever questioned this? Is it true, or is it all a myth that cartoons have taught us?

Can my cat eat cheese?

As you may have already seen, cats are obligate carnivores in many places. They should only eat meat because it gets all the nutrients their body needs. Therefore, if a cat eats anything else, whatever food it is, its organism may have problems digesting it since its stomach can’t process anything other than meat.

Any extra food we give a cat can be hefty for their sensitive stomachs, and the same goes for any dairy product. Dairy products can even become more detrimental to their health because most cats are lactose intolerant and may even be allergic to dairy.

The cliché that cats drink cow’s milk is a myth because it is neither recommended nor beneficial for their health, and the same happens with cheese, although I must say that they love it. But just as we like french fries and shouldn’t eat them, cats shouldn’t eat their beloved cheese.

Okay, we know you love to spoil your cat, so I’ll tell you a secret. Although cats shouldn’t eat cheese, you can occasionally give them a small portion as a treat, but only if you know your furry friend isn’t allergic.

When can I give cheese to my cat?

Cats are obsessively attracted to dairy, be it cheese, milk, or yogurt, not because of the rich taste and texture but because of the fats and proteins they can sense and smell in dairy products.

Although, in theory, they should not consume it, there are certain occasions when we can be flexible and spoil them a little, for example, when they are sick and must take medicine. This little secret is a trick for you and a reward for your cat because you can hide the pill inside a cube of cheese, and he won’t notice. Your cat will take medicine without complaining.

can cats eat cheese - when

And very occasionally, if your cat has been very well-behaved and you want to reward him, you can also give him a small portion of cheese, but be aware of the type of cheese you give him as most of them contain a high sodium content, which is not recommended in the diet of any feline. Also, please remember that the cheese is not flavored with herbs or spices, as they can cause terrible intestinal discomfort.

What kind of cheese can I give to my cat?

When it comes to cheeses, there is a wide variety to choose from. Unfortunately for your cat, its body only tolerates those hard cheeses with low dairy and shallow sodium content and, of course, those without any seasoning. 

If you want to give a cube of cheese to your furry friend, choose Cheddar or Swiss cheese, as they are the least likely to cause gastrointestinal discomfort. And, of course, avoid soft cheeses such as Brie or the famous Mozzarella, which, although very tasty, have a high lactic content. 

Why is cheese bad for cats?

Like all other adult mammals, adult cats are lactose intolerant to a greater or lesser extent because it is a food that the body no longer requires and, therefore, no longer produces the enzyme to break down lactose (and yes, that includes humans as well). As the cat’s stomach is not prepared to digest lactose, it can suffer very annoying gastrointestinal problems such as the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Smelly gasses (farting)
  • Abdominal pain and swelling
can cats eat cheese - why is it bad

Saying that a cat is allergic to cheese does not necessarily imply an allergy to dairy products but rather to the ingredients it may contain, such as seasonings or additives. The allergy can become more dangerous because, in addition to the above symptoms, it can also be accompanied by rapid weight loss, swelling, hives, scratching, and hair loss.

Can cats eat cheese? Final thoughts

Now you know why your cat loves cheese so much, and more importantly, you know how to pamper it while taking care of its health. It is advisable to keep an eye on your cat when you give it cheese to see if it causes any reaction, and if you notice any symptoms of discomfort, it is best to take him to the veterinarian.

Do you have a cat at home that loves cheese? Tell us in the comments!

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