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Can Cats Have Coconut Milk?

Can Cats Have Coconut Milk?

Cats famously love milk. Our feline friends adore the stuff, but are all types of milk healthy for them to drink?

Coconuts are used frequently nowadays for their health benefits to humans. With the growth in popularity of dairy substitutes, cow’s milk is facing competition from oat and coconut milk so if you yourself are drinking the new trendy milk — why can’t your cat? 

So before you go putting coconut milk in your furry friend’s bowl let’s find out if they’ll be safe. 

In this article, we seek to answer this question and delve into the health benefits and potential side effects that coconut milk can have on your cat.

Why Do Cats Like Milk?

Before we investigate whether coconut milk is healthy for your cat to drink, why not take a look at why cats like milk in the first place?

Cats like milk because it is full of fat and protein and they can even smell the fat and protein within the milk!

Despite loving the creamy treat, it is in fact not healthy for any cat fed on a balanced diet as cats are actually lactose intolerant and due to the high-fat concentration within cow’s milk it can cause an upset stomach.

If the fat of cow’s milk will make your cat sick then will the coconut milk be less fatty and thus more healthy?

Is Coconut Milk Healthier?

Unfortunately, the answer is no, the two main ingredients of coconut milk, coconuts and sugar are not in a cat’s natural diet. Coconuts are not toxic to cats but their bodies are not designed to break down the protein in the nut. 

Sugar is also non-toxic to cats but is not healthy for them in the slightest. A cat’s tongue has no receptors that can detect sweetness. Sugar has no place in a cat’s diet.

Can Cats Digest Coconut Milk?

It is well known that cats cannot digest cow’s milk. As mentioned before and like most animals, cats are lactose intolerant. Due to being derived from plants, coconut milk does not contain lactose. 

Despite there being no lactose, coconut milk will still harm your cat’s digestive system. This is due to the fact cats don’t have the appropriate enzymes to break down the milk. 

Cats are strict carnivores, unlike humans and dogs who are omnivorous. Cats will get sick if you stray from their natural diet.

Coconuts are also full of healthy fats and oils whilst these are perfectly healthy for humans repeated consumption from cats will cause obesity.

So Are There Any Benefits To Coconut Milk

The benefits of coconut milk are extensive, the milk is full of vitamins, iron, selenium, magnesium, and calcium.

It also helps improve blood pressure and aids the heart’s health. This all sounds amazing. The only problem is the benefits are for humans only. 

For cats, the results are a completely different story. 

The fats, sugars, and proteins are of no benefit and the milk contains no additional nutrients that they do not already gain through their natural diet.

Potential Side Effects

If given occasionally your cat will be okay drinking the coconut milk. However, there are multiple side effects to look out for if your cat is frequently enjoying some coconut milk. 

Some of the known side effects are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Weight gain
  • Upset stomach
  • Vomiting
Can Cats Have Coconut Milk?

Some cats are more sensitive than others to coconut milk but you should always check on your cat after it has drank some to ensure there are no side effects present.

So How About Coconut Water?

Much like coconut milk, coconut water is also not great for your cat. On paper it may seem like a better, more healthy alternative however this is not the case. 

Coconut water contains high levels of potassium, while it is a perfectly healthy amount for human consumption the same cannot be said for cats consuming the water. 

If a cat has too much potassium in its bloodstream it can cause hyperkalemia which contains some nasty side effects such as muscle weakness, collapsing, and heart arrhythmias. 

Like with coconut milk, small amounts won’t cause your cat to suffer from hyperkalemia but if drank frequently it can develop so it is best not to let it become a habit. 

What Is Safe For Cats To Drink?

This is rather simple. The best thing for your cat to drink is fresh water. All your cat needs is water to stay healthy, no other liquid is necessary.

So no matter how much your cat likes to drink milk it should only be allowed as a treat or sparingly.

Meat and water are the only foods your cat needs to thrive. So the only advice you should take from this is to use your own discretion when it comes to coconut milk.

Use it sparingly but do not rule it out completely. Definitely do not give it to your cat in place of water but make sure to use it in moderation as you would with any other treat you give to your cat.

Final Thoughts

You now know that coconut milk is harmless in small amounts to your cat, so if you notice your cat enjoys drinking it then let them drink it.

Being aware of the potential side effects that could come with overconsumption and understanding that your cat cannot digest the milk easily ensures your cat will be unharmed, so if you find that your cat has got into your carton of coconut milk, there is no need to panic as it is perfectly safe in moderation.

If you were wondering about which liquid is best to feed your cat then it is just boring plain old water.

It is not the most glamorous or exciting drink but it is definitely the best for your cat to ensure that they remain healthy.

As long as your cat has a good diet of water and meat, coconut milk as an occasional treat will keep them happy as well as healthy.