If you were unaware before, you should know now that cats are obligate carnivores.
This means that they can only get the nutrients essential to their survival from eating other animals.
You may have gotten the idea that cats love milk from TV, or somehow, your cat may have shown interest in drinking milk at one point.
But is milk really okay for your cat? Let’s confirm with chocolate milk as a case in point.
Can cats drink chocolate milk? Experts advise against cats drinking chocolate milk or any other type of milk.
After the first 2 months of their lives, cats typically become lactose intolerant. So, drinking milk will only cause digestive problems for them.
Besides, anything containing some amount of chocolate may contain theobromine. Knowing how toxic theobromine can be in cats, chocolate milk can lead to all sorts of trouble when they consume it.
As we go further in this post, we will elaborate on the topic and share other details you may find helpful.
Can Cats Drink Chocolate Milk?
The verdict from many veterinarians is that cats should avoid drinking chocolate milk or any other type of milk.
We discuss some reasons for this verdict below.
Cats Are Generally Lactose Intolerant
In the first 2 months of a cat’s life, it would get milk from its mother’s mammary glands as all mammals do.
But once it is done feeding on its mother’s breast milk, its digestive system gradually becomes less tolerant of milk.
What happens is a reduction in the production of lactase. Lactase is the enzyme that digests milk sugar, lactose, and when it is unavailable, lactose remains undigested. The consequence of this is lactose intolerance.
Some symptoms of lactose intolerance in cats include the following:
- Increased thirst
- Abdominal pain
- Excessive gas
- Rapid heart rate
- Dry gum
Of course, all of the symptoms above will make your cat uncomfortable. Hence, the advice to refrain from giving them chocolate milk.
Besides lactose intolerance, there might be a risk of chocolate toxicity if you give cats chocolate milk.
The thing is, if cats eat anything containing chocolate or cocoa, they are at risk of chocolate poisoning. Since chocolate milk may contain chocolate syrup or cocoa powder, the risk stands in this case.
Chocolate, cocoa, and related products are toxic due to the presence of the substance called theobromine.
Theobromine is a toxic substance that cats cannot metabolize.
Since cats cannot metabolize it, it elicits its toxicity in them.
So, a cat that drinks chocolate milk may experience some of the symptoms below:
- Abnormal heart rhythm
- Rapid heart rate
- Elevated body temperature
Once again, these symptoms will make your cat uncomfortable. In fact, the symptoms may kill your cat. So, staying off chocolate milk is better for them.
Now, things are not so straightforward. Some cats might take chocolate milk and not experience any adverse effects.
It appears that the chances of the said adversities may also depend on how much chocolate milk the cats drink and on how often they drink it too.
All in all, some cats might be able to tolerate chocolate milk to an extent. But it is better not to find out if they can.
Risk of Becoming Overweight
Besides lactose intolerance and theobromine poisoning, you should also be wary of the calorie and sugar content of chocolate milk.
According to the USDA, 100 grams of chocolate milk contains 83 calories and 10 grams of sugar.
It is estimated that around 50% of the cats in North America are affected by obesity.
Excessive intake of calories and sugar are some of the main factors in the development of obesity in cats.
So, giving your cat chocolate milk may just leave your cat overweight, especially when you do it regularly.
Knowing obesity leaves cats at risk of various diseases such as diabetes, skin diseases, and arthritis should be enough reason to refrain from giving them chocolate milk or any type of milk.
Why Does My Cat Want Milk?
You might be wondering why some cats still thirst for milk, even with the troubles it can cause for them.
Well, it turns out cats love the taste of fat. So, they go after milk for the fat it contains.
You may have thought cats love milk for the sweetness. But this is very unlikely since cats cannot taste sweetness.
What Can My Cat Drink Instead of Chocolate Milk?
So, most of this article has been about telling you why you should not give your cat chocolate milk. So how about some alternatives to milk?
In place of chocolate milk, you may let your cat drink the following:
Of course, no drink is as healthy as water. You cannot go wrong giving your cat water.
Water contains no lactose, theobromine, or any other substance that may cause issues for your cat.
So, you can rest assured that nothing will go wrong if your cat gets some water. Plus, water is quite refreshing.
Bone broth is a tasty alternative to chocolate milk for cats.
It is relatively safer, and it provides some nourishment for the little felines.
While it is more commonly offered to old cats with reduced appetite, any cat can have a well-prepared bone broth.
However, it should not be a mainstay for any cat. Bone broth does not replace regular cat diet – it only supplements it.
In place of chocolate milk, you can offer cats lactose-free milk that contains no chocolate.
With this type of milk, there is little to no risk of lactose intolerance and chocolate poisoning.
However, the risk of obesity may still stand with this type of milk. So, ensure you let your cat have it irregularly and in limited amounts.
This option is pretty helpful for cats who have already developed a taste for milk.
Another alternative to chocolate milk for cats is tuna juice.
So far, there are no indications that tuna juice can cause problems for cats.
But this is no reason not to be moderate when giving them this juice. In other words, do not make tuna juice a regular in your cat’s diet.
While some cats may tolerate chocolate milk, there appear to be more possible negatives than positives from drinking it.
Hence, many experts believe that safer alternatives should be given to cats.