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Can Cats Drink Oat Milk? Vet-Approved Safety Facts

Jeff Weishaupt

By Jeff Weishaupt

oat milk in a glass and pitcher

Vet approved

Dr. Lauren Demos  Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lauren Demos

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Cats are always up to one thing or another. Has your feline friend started showing interest in oat milk every time you fix yourself a coffee in the morning? That might make you wonder if oat milk is safe for cats.

While it’s safe for cats to drink oat milk, they don’t get much nutritional value from it. Oat milk can hydrate cats and give them the treat they crave, but it doesn’t give cats the nutrients they need in their daily diet.

Should you still feed oat milk to your cat? Are other types of milk better for cats? Let’s discuss this below.

hepper cat paw divider

Is Oat Milk Safe for Cats?

Oat milk is technically safe for cats if it’s not flavored or sweetened. A common flavor of oat milk is vanilla. It’s safe for your furry friend to drink, but it has a lot of necessary sugar that can cause your cat to be overweight.

As a cat owner, you would know that many adult cats are lactose intolerant. So, they cannot drink cow’s milk, which is rich in lactose. Oat milk does not have this problematic component, but there’s always a risk that your cat may have a negative or allergic reaction to it.

With that in mind, it’s always better to not give your cat milk at all and to just offer them fresh water at all times of the day.

oat milk in a glass on wooden table
Image Credit: Naumenko, Shutterstock

Potential Dangers of Oat Milk for Cats

Even though oat milk is generally safe for cats, it may have several harms in some cases.

  • Excessive Consumption: Drinking too much oat milk can cause cat digestive problems. It’s best to limit the amount to 10% of the cat’s daily diet.
  • Additives: Commercial plant milks are rich in sugar and other additives that are not healthy for cats. These sugars may cause bloating and stomach upsets in cats.

Signs of Digestive Upset

Diarrhea and vomiting are obvious signs that you must stop feeding your cat oat milk. But here are some subtle symptoms of digestive distress:

  • Loud meowing
  • Lip smacking
  • Hiding and retreating

If your cat shows the symptoms listed above, you should take it to the vet. Also, stop feeding them oat milk immediately, as this isn’t recommended anyway.

When to Feed Oat Milk to Cats?

As mentioned, many adult cats are lactose intolerant and should not drink milk regularly. However, you can give your cat oat milk as an occasional treat if it is free from harmful ingredients and added sugars.

Beautiful feline cat eating on a metal bowl
Image Credit: Krakenimages.com, Shutterstock

How Much Oat Milk Can Cats Drink?

Even if you give oat milk to your cat, ensure it does not exceed a few tablespoons per week. The PDSA (People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals) explains two reasons for not feeding too much milk to cats.

First, cow’s milk contains lactose, a sugar processed by the enzyme lactate. But since many adult cats do not produce sufficient lactase enzymes, they cannot digest cow’s milk. However, oat milk doesn’t contain lactose, so it’s safe for cats in this regard. But it is harmful due to the second reason.

Milk is full of fat, which is why cats like its taste so much. The PDSA explains this by showing that a saucer of milk for your cat is the same as a 12-inch pizza for one person.

While it may not sound like a lot on its own, you should consider that a cat will consume that many calories on top of its regular diet. Suddenly, it sounds a lot unhealthier, doesn’t it?

What Can You Give to Cats Instead of Milk?

Water is perfectly healthy and sufficient for cats. Access to clean and fresh water will keep your cat happy and hydrated. If you feel your cat is not drinking enough water, keep multiple bowls around the house.

Refresh the drinking water daily and clean the bowls regularly. If water bowls aren’t working, try a water fountain. It also helps to move the water bowls around since cats don’t like them to be in the same place at all times.

Besides water, also feed a healthy and nutritious diet to your cat. But make sure to stick to daily caloric limits to prevent obesity.

hepper cat paw divider

Wrapping Up

Just as you love oat milk in your everyday caffeine kick, your cat might also like the taste. But that doesn’t mean you should feed it to your cat regularly.

Oat milk is generally safe for cat consumption, but it does not provide much nutritional value. It may also cause a negative response, such as tummy aches or vomiting in some cats.

While it’s okay to give a few tablespoons of oat milk to your cat as a treat, you should not make daily consumption a habit. Instead, provide fresh water to your cat 24/7 and maintain a healthy diet according to its body weight and nutritional requirements.

Featured Image Credit: Alter-ego, Shutterstock

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