Can Cats Eat Cheese

The tantalizing smell of cheese can make cats go crazy, but is it safe for them to indulge in this salty treat? Let’s find out the scoop on whether cats and cheese are a good combination.

Cats and Cheese: Is It OK?

Yes, cats can eat cheese, but only in moderation. According to experts, it’s best to give your cat a small piece once in a while, about the size of a dice. For instance, you might choose to only offer your kitty cheese when you need to hide a pill for them.

However, it’s important to note that while many cats can tolerate small portions of cheese, those who are lactose intolerant or have a milk allergy could experience digestive issues even with a small amount of cheese.

Dairy Intolerance and Dairy Allergy in Cats

Contrary to popular belief, most cats can’t digest dairy. The Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine emphasizes that many cats are lactose intolerant and can suffer from gastrointestinal problems such as inflammation, diarrhea, constipation, and vomiting if they consume dairy.

Cats with a dairy allergy may also react poorly to even a small bite of cheese. Although cats generally don’t have many food allergies, dairy, fish, and red meat are common ones. If your cat has a dairy allergy, eating cheese could lead to digestive issues and potentially affect their immune system.

Common signs that your cat has a dairy allergy include vomiting, diarrhea, gas, itchy and/or red skin patches, and hair loss. If you notice any of these symptoms or any other unusual signs, it’s important to contact their veterinarian for a check-up.

When Cheese Is a No-No

If your cat needs to lower their salt intake or has a heart condition, it’s best to avoid giving them cheese. According to the Cummings Veterinary Medical Center at Tufts University, cats on a low-sodium meal plan should stay away from not only cheese but also deli meat, fast food, potato chips, and bread.

Focus on Calories

It’s important to keep in mind that treats or food that wasn’t recommended by a veterinarian should account for no more than 8 to 10 percent of a pet’s daily calorie intake. Cheese, being a high-calorie human food, should be given sparingly. For instance, giving a 1-ounce cube of cheddar cheese to a 10-pound cat is equivalent to a person eating two and a half cheeseburgers all at once.

Instead of relying on extra snacks, it’s best to substitute them with extra love for your feline friend.

Types of Cheese: Good vs. The Bad

If you do decide to give your cat a cheesy treat, certain types of cheese may be better than others:

  • Cheddar: This semi-hard cheese doesn’t contain much lactose, making it a decent option. However, it’s still important not to overdo it as large amounts of cheddar can cause tummy troubles.

  • Swiss: Known for its popularity in sandwiches, Swiss cheese is considered healthy for humans due to its high protein and low sodium and fat content. Although it contains low amounts of lactose, it can still lead to digestive issues in cats.

  • Mozzarella, Cottage Cheese, and Cream Cheese: Soft cheeses like mozzarella, cottage cheese, and cream cheese are high in lactose and should be avoided as they can be harmful to cats.

  • Brie, Blue Cheese, and Camembert: Soft cheeses made with raw milk, such as brie, blue cheese, and Camembert, should also be avoided. These cheeses may contain pathogens like Salmonella and Listeria, which can cause serious illness in cats.

  • Say Cheese

Feeding your cat a bit of cheese every now and then shouldn’t be a problem, but it’s always best to consult your cat’s veterinarian to ensure it’s a healthy option for your furry friend. If you do give your cat cheese, remember to do so only occasionally and in small amounts. That’ll definitely put a smile on their face!

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