Stereotypically, cats love milk. We’ve all seen them drink milk in the movies. You may have even offered your cat some milk yourself. You may consider giving your cat chocolate milk, as well. After all, it’s even tastier than regular milk!
But this generally isn’t recommended. Cats are lactose intolerant after a few months of age. They aren’t made to drink milk into adulthood, so they will often get sick after drinking milk as adults. This is often just short-term sickness, usually involving stomach upset and vomiting. Some cats react more negatively than others. Some may not get sick at all, while others may have digestive upset for days to come.
Chocolate adds quite a bit of sugar and extra ingredients to the milk. This sugar may not be such a big deal to adult humans, but it can be a problem for cats – as they are much smaller. Even just a little bit of sugar can upset a cat’s digestive system and seriously upset their stomachs. Over time, too much sugar can cause chronic health problems.
Chocolate milk can be hazardous in some situations.
Can Chocolate Milk Kill Cats?
Chocolate milk is known for being toxic to cats. Chocolate milk contains a decent amount of chocolate. However, it is incredibly diluted with sugar and milk. Therefore, it will take quite a bit for your feline to get seriously sick. Baking chocolate and dark chocolate can cause significantly more harm to your feline. Very watered-down chocolate is not nearly as dangerous as other types of chocolate.
Therefore, you shouldn’t be concerned with your cat getting sick off of chocolate milk alone. Instead, the long-term effects of chocolate milk are what you have to worry about.
What Are the Downsides of Feeding Your Cat Chocolate Milk?
There are many potential downsides to feeding your cat chocolate milk. Firstly, many cats are lactose intolerant after a few months of age. After weaning, they stop making the appropriate enzyme to break down lactose. They weren’t made to drink milk very far into adulthood for this reason. After they grow out of drinking milk, cow milk will often cause digestive problems. Many felines will have an upset stomach and vomit after drinking a substantial amount of milk.
Cats have different levels of sensitivity, though. Some may be able to drink quite a bit before becoming sick, while others may have difficulty drinking even a little bit. Cats may vary throughout their lives. Just because your feline can drink milk fine now doesn’t necessarily mean that your feline will be able to continue drinking milk.
On top of this, milk is substantially high in fat. Cats do need fat to survive. They need quite a bit of fat. However, too much of a good thing isn’t necessarily good. Fatty liver disease and similar illnesses can be caused by excess fat in your cat’s diet. Of course, this must occur over a long time. One bowl of chocolate milk isn’t going to cause these chronic diseases. However, you should avoid feeding your excess dog amounts of chocolate milk over the long term.
Chocolate milk includes quite a few extra ingredients when compared to regular milk. The more problematic ingredient is sugar. Chocolate milk includes quite a bit of extra sugar. While this sugar may not be a terrible deal for adults, cats are much smaller than adults. Therefore, even a little added sugar can be highly harmful to cats.
Furthermore, cats did not evolve to eat large amounts of carbohydrates, including sugar. Therefore, they don’t crave milk for the extra sugar in all likelihood. Instead, they likely crave the fat. Therefore, they don’t particularly need (or want) the extra sugar in the chocolate milk, anyway.
What Are the Benefits of Feeding Chocolate Milk to Cats?
There are few benefits of feeding cats chocolate milk, honestly. Chocolate milk is full of many potentially dangerous ingredients, including chocolate and all the extra sugar. Milk does contain quite a lot of calcium. Cats need calcium to survive, just like most other mammals. They need calcium for their bone health and can develop problems if they don’t eat enough calcium.
However, there are better ways for felines to get calcium than drinking chocolate milk. Generally, dry cat food is fortified with calcium and provides everything that your feline needs to thrive. You shouldn’t have to supplement or worry about a cat’s calcium intake if they eat commercial food.
Of course, calcium is necessary, but you shouldn’t feed your cat chocolate milk to increase their calcium intake. There are countless supplements and other cat-safe options. Your cat would get the appropriate amount of calcium from bones, organ tissues, and meat in the wild. In captivity, they can typically get away on a regular diet. Sometimes, health problems may cause the cat to need more calcium than usual to need a supplement.
If this happens, your vet will probably recommend a calcium supplement. Milk is typically not used or recommended.
Are There Any Alternatives to Chocolate Milk?
Generally, cats should not be given anything but water. A whole bowl of fresh water is all that the average cat needs to stay hydrated. So naturally, cats would get the majority of their moisture from their food. However, in captivity, cats may not get the correct amount of moisture if they eat dry food. Furthermore, some felines may need to drink more due to specific health conditions. For instance, urinary tract problems are often prevented with more hydration.
If your cat needs extra nutrition, it is often recommended to add more wet food to their diet. You can also add water flavorings to your cat’s water that may encourage them to drink it. However, this is often not necessary.
Chocolate milk is generally not recommended for cats. It is unnecessary for their nutrition and includes quite a few potentially dangerous ingredients. Chocolate and high amounts of sugar are all included in chocolate milk.
We don’t recommend chocolate milk on any occasion. Cats are often lactose intolerant and don’t need all of the extra sugar. If your cat needs extra hydration, there are plenty of other options for your feline. Speak to your vet if you think your feline needs extra hydration.
Featured Image Credit: Steve Buissinne, Pixabay