Can Cats Have Oat Milk

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Recently, oat milk has become a trendy alternative to dairy for humans, but the question is, can cats have oat milk?

Although it is non-toxic to cats, it is not recommended to feed cats oat milk as part of their balanced diet. 

As a veterinarian and fellow cat parent, I understand the joy and frustration of feeding your fussy feline friend. Diet is a common topic in the clinic, as we all want to give our pets the best food with plenty of variety and treats. 

Read on to learn why cats shouldn’t have oat milk and what tasty alternatives are recommended for your feline friend. 

Reasons to Avoid Oat Milk

Reasons To Avoid Oat Milk

My cat would happily slurp a saucer of oat milk and ask for more! Why should we avoid feeding our cats oat milk if they love it so much? 

Cats are obligate carnivores. This means their digestive system has been created to ingest and digest meat and minimal carbohydrate. This differs from dogs (and humans!), who are omnivores and can handle a wider variety of grains, vegetables, and meats. 

Oat milk provides no nutritional benefit to your cat and will add empty, excess calories to their diet, which can lead to obesity. Obesity in cats has been linked to many serious diseases, including diabetes, cystitis, and liver disease.

Additionally, foods high in carbohydrates and sugars can cause changes to their microbiome, leading to unwanted gastrointestinal issues. 

There are many reasons to avoid feeding your cat oat milk, but they can be mischievous, and sometimes accidents can happen. 

What if My Cat Accidentally Drinks Oat Milk

If your naughty feline is anything like mine, they love drinking from your unattended cups and bowls! If your cat accidentally drinks some plain oat milk, there is no need to panic.

Oat milk is not toxic to cats. 

In most cases, your cat will be fine after stealing this treat; however, in some cats, even a small amount of oat milk may cause gastrointestinal upset characterized by diarrhea, vomiting, or inappetence.

This may be worsened if the oat milk is sweetened or contains flavorings. Chat with your vet if these symptoms persist for longer than 24hrs. 

What Kind of Milk is Safe for Cats

Many of us have grown up thinking that cats need milk in their diets, a myth reinforced by movies, advertisements, and children’s books for years.

The truth is kittens need cat milk from their mothers to help them grow when they are young. Once a kitten has been weaned, around four weeks, they have no further need for milk to maintain their health.

This includes all types of plant milk as well as dairy milk. Did you know that your cat cannot digest dairy properly? They lack the enzyme (lactase) required to digest the sugars in milk (lactose). This extends to all dairy products, including cheese and cream. 

What Can I Give My Cat Instead of Oat Milk

All that your cat needs to drink to stay healthy is water. However, nothing is more satisfying than seeing your cat munching happily on a tasty snack.

Now that we know to avoid oat milk, let’s explore some healthier, cat-friendly treats for your kitty. 

The best treats follow your cat’s natural love of all things carnivorous. The trick is to use a food type not included in their everyday meals and make this a high-value treat.

Try plain, cooked meat such as chicken, venison, or prawn. These are much healthier than milk or packaged, carbohydrate-loaded cat treats. 

Remember that pleasure and reward can also be derived from play. Try hiding high-value treats in puzzle feeders to help mimic a cat’s natural hunting behavior and keep them occupied. 

In Summary 

In this modern world, cats can chow down on various foods, and our responsibility is to ensure a healthy diet. Oat milk is inappropriate for your cat’s menu as it provides no nutritional benefit and may cause adverse effects. The only drink your cat needs is water. 

If you would like to feed treats, play with those more suited to your cat’s carnivorous customs, such as cooked meats, or reward them with hunting-style games and puzzles. 

What To Do Next

Learn more about your cat’s unique health and behavior needs with the library of advice at Happy Cats Home

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Alisa graduated from Murdoch University in Western Australia in 2016 and has since been travelling across the country working with small animals, horses and wildlife. She loves to solve a medical puzzle and has clinical interests in internal medicine and diagnostic imaging. Recently she has commenced post studies in Public Health to better understand the link between human, animal, and environmental health, and help tackle problems such as antimicrobial resistance and emerging infectious diseases.

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