Almond and soymilks have become more popular in recent years as alternatives to cow’s milk. There are many benefits to almond milk for humans, but can a cat have almond milk and get those same benefits?
Let’s find out below.
Can Cats Have Almond Milk?
Cats can drink almond milk although it has very little nutritional benefit to them. Since nut milk does not have any lactose, it can be a great alternative to cow or goat milk; however, it will only add fat to the already balanced cat food diet your cat should be receiving.
Almond milk is a combination of processed almonds and water, neither of which are common allergens for cats, making it a safe beverage for their consumption.
Since nut milk is made up of over 90% water with another 5% being additives, there aren’t any ingredients that would pose a major danger to your cat. Because of this, cats can safely consume common milk alternatives like soy, almond, cashew, and coconut milk. With that said, none of these dairy alternatives have been deemed healthy for cats.
While nut milk won’t kill your cat and almonds are by no means toxic, it’s unsafe in the way that it can cause obesity and malnutrition if given too often or without any other food sources. This is because it’s completely void of the nutrients that cats need in their diets like protein, taurine, and other essential amino acids that come from meat, and instead, is very high in fat content.
With these extra calories that don’t provide nutrients for cats, you may notice that your cat’s activity level decreases and they begin having diarrhea. Because of this, when offering milk, be sure it’s in moderation, free of artificial ingredients, and has low sugar content.
Although it can be accepted as an occasional treat for your cat, almond milk does not have the health benefits that our feline friends need to maintain optimal health. The only benefit of almond milk is that it’s high in omega-3 fatty acids which benefits heart health; however, your cat will be able to get their required dose of omega-3s through their cat food, making almond milk an unnecessary addition.
Can Kittens Have Almond Milk?
While it’s natural for pet owners to assume that kittens would more easily be able to digest this type of milk, the alternative dairy product is worse for kittens than adult cats. This is because their digestive systems are incredibly sensitive making them more prone to negative reactions, such as gastrointestinal issues.
Malnutrition will be more detrimental for them as they are still growing and require essential nutrients to support their bodies. If you’re going to give them almond milk, it’s recommended to give a very small quantity first to see if it makes their stomach upset.
After a few hours, you will be able to see if they are having any adverse reactions and proceed accordingly.
When Is Almond Milk Not Recommended For Cats?
Almond milk is never recommended as a good source of nutrition for cats; however, this is even more critical if your cat has a sensitive stomach. If your cat does not do well with any food besides their designated cat food and is prone to diarrhea or vomiting when presented with alternative food sources, absolutely avoid branching out into any variety of milk.
This may be that your cat has an allergy beyond the lactose intolerance that all cats have and by giving supplementation like almond milk you may be exacerbating their digestive issues. Additionally, if your cat is prone to being overweight, it’s not a good idea to give them any kind of food or beverage that’s high in calories.
Can Cats Have Vanilla Almond Milk?
While almond milk isn’t the worst thing you can offer to your cats, the more additives in the milk, the worse it will be for them. The vanilla that’s added to almond milk is simply another additive that can make the beverage have a bit more flavor and sweetness.
Because of the added sweetener, you may find that your cat isn’t attracted to the beverage as this isn’t a flavor they generally prefer. Therefore, if you’re dead-set on giving your cat almond milk despite the lack of nutrients it offers, it’s highly recommended that you choose a brand with the least amount of added ingredients.
Since the major issue with almond milk for cats is the calorie density, it’s ideal to find almond milk that’s the lowest in calories. Vanilla almond milk is higher in calories due to the additives in comparison to unsweetened almond milk, and therefore should be avoided when possible.
You can also make homemade almond milk simply with almonds and water to further avoid giving these additives to your cat. The cleaner the product, the healthier it will be. The other benefit of homemade almond milk is the ability to add more of the nutrients your cat needs to its diet.
Some Precautions To Consider
Maintaining a healthy weight in your cat will be increasingly difficult while supplementing with almond milk. With the addition of unnecessary calories, giving this milk to cats will not provide them with the beneficial nutrients they require in their diet and instead will simply be adding more fat.
Because of this, almond milk isn’t going to kill your cat but can be a cause of obesity if given in large quantities and too often. For example, a cat that weighs around ten pounds will require around 200 calories per day. If you give the cat one cup of almond milk, that’s already 100 calories. Therefore, half of their daily intake has been given and is empty of the nutrients their bodies need to maintain their health.
Beyond obesity, whenever you’re introducing something new to your cat be sure to do so in the smallest quantity possible first to ensure they don’t have an allergy. While nut allergies are not the most common in cats, they can exist and bring on severe reactions. Therefore, before allowing your cat to drink a lot of almond milk you should give them just a quarter of a cup to see if they have any adverse reactions.
Some reactions indicative of a nut allergy include gas, extreme bloating, and diarrhea. If you see any of these symptoms, stop with the almond milk immediately.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Almond Toxic to Cats?
Almond milk will only be toxic to cats that have nut allergies. If they don’t have any adverse reactions to the nut itself, the almond milk will not cause any severe toxicities. However, it may be difficult to digest for your cat or provide poor nutrition—especially if they drink almond milk that has a lot of fillers.
What If Your Cat Accidentally Drinks Almond Milk?
If your cat accidentally drinks a large portion of almond milk, keep a close eye on them afterward to make sure they are not having any adverse reactions. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do after they’ve already consumed the almond milk; however, be careful to keep all milk varieties and other beverages out of reach from your cats. Avoid leaving any bowls or cartons of milk sitting around where your cat could get into them to prevent any potential bad reactions they may have.