All cheeses contain lactose, which is a sugar that can’t be digested by cats after they’ve been weaned. They are lactose intolerant because they lack the enzyme needed to break it down. Eating dairy can cause them digestive problems like vomiting and diarrhea. Can cats eat cheese and be fine? The severity of the symptoms depends on how much they’ve eaten and how sensitive their stomach is.
Why Shouldn’t Cats Eat What We Eat?
We stated that human food is generally bad for cats, and that’s because they’re obligate carnivores. Their digestive system is optimized to digest and use only animal proteins and fats. They don’t need any carbohydrates in their diet, and human meals are usually full of them.
So what about commercial cat food that contains grains, legumes, and vegetables? Some fiber helps these animals regulate their bowel movements, which is why they eat grass when they’re outside. However, pet nutritionists warn about grains in cat food – they can lead to obesity.
Can Cats Eat Cheese of Any Type?
Cheese is an animal product, right? Yes, but it’s not a natural part of your cat’s diet, and a cube of cheese will at least give them an upset belly. Let’s delve into different types of cheese and how harmful they are to felines.
Cheddar is one of the most consumed cheeses in the world, and it’s also one of the more acceptable for cats. An ounce of sharp cheddar only contains 0.4 to 0.6 grams of lactose. If your cat has eaten a small piece of cheddar, they will probably be fine. But if they’ve had a lot, they might experience some digestive issues.
This cheese can be lower or higher in lactose than cheddar – the amounts range from 0.08 to 0.9 grams. So, if your cat has a small piece, they will probably be okay. But again, if they’ve eaten more than that, then they might have some problems. Also, never let your cat steal a piece of pizza – the cheese may be fine, but the spices certainly aren’t!
This type of hard Italian cheese contains almost no lactose – less than 0.5 grams per ounce. So, if your cat can’t resist stealing a few flakes off your plate, they should be okay. They’re unlikely to eat a big piece of cheese that is so sharp in taste.
This type of cheese is made from curdled milk and has a high lactose content. Once ounce can contain as much as 4 grams of this sugar. Cottage cheese can cause stomach upset in cats and should be avoided. A small amount can lead to vomiting and diarrhea.
Other soft cheeses, such as Brie, can vary in their amounts of lactose, so if your cat has eaten some, keep an eye on them and see if they develop any symptoms.
Cream cheese is made from milk and cream, so it contains lactose. However, the amount is lower than in many other cheeses. One ounce of cream cheese only has 0.1 to 0.8 grams of lactose. So if your cat steals a lick, they should be fine. Just make sure they don’t eat a chunk of sugary cake.
These cheeses are on the higher side of the spectrum when it comes to lactose content. One ounce will contain about 2 to 4 grams of this sugar, so it’s not a safe choice. Besides, the mold on blue cheeses is toxic to cats and should be avoided at all costs.
Gorgonzola is considered to be naturally free of lactose, but it’s still a type of blue cheese, so you shouldn’t feed it to your cat.
How About Lactose-Free Cheeses?
Can cats eat cheese that is marketed as lactose-free? These cheeses only contain trace amounts of lactose, so your pet may not have any adverse reactions to them. However, cats shouldn’t eat cheese on a regular basis because it’s rich in casein. Studies have shown that cats fed casein absorb less of certain nutrients (e.g., taurine) from their food.
Can Cats Eat Cheese Substitutes Made from Plants?
Vegan cheese contains neither lactose nor casein, so it should be safe for cats to eat in small amounts. However, it depends on the exact plants used in production. If the non-dairy cheese contains nuts or coconuts, it may not exactly be toxic, but will certainly be too fatty for your cat. Besides, you shouldn’t feed your cat plant products anyway.
It’s Better for Cats Not to Have Cheese – Stick to Safe Treats
What are some safe treats you can give your cat instead of cheese? You can make homemade cat treats with simple ingredients like chicken or fish. There are also many store-bought options that are safe for cats, such as freeze-dried meats or catnip. Let’s keep cheese off the menu and stick to things that are good for our feline friends!
In conclusion, can cats eat cheese? No, they shouldn’t. All types of cheese can cause them digestive problems, and some can even be dangerous. If your cat has eaten cheese, watch out for vomiting, diarrhea, and other symptoms of digestive upset. If they develop any of these, call your veterinarian right away.
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