Knowing that both baby kittens and human babies typically start their life drinking milk from their mothers, you may start to wonder whether all breast milk contains similar ingredients. While both types of breast milk provide full sustenance to the respective types of babies, the breast milk human mothers and cat mothers produce is not the same. So, can kittens drink human breast milk?
Kittens cannot drink human breast milk. The nutrients in human breast milk and cat’s breast milk are different to suit the needs of different mammals.
If there is no nursing cat available to breastfeed kittens, you will need to get a cat breast milk formula replacement from the vet.
Can Baby Kittens Have Human Milk
Baby kittens cannot have human milk and require their breast milk from another cat. Breast milk is not the same because human milk has a different amount of proteins, fats, and carbs than what a cat needs.
You do not want to feed a very young kitten something difficult for their stomach to digest, and this combination could make your cat sick.
In addition to the likelihood that human milk would make your baby kitten sick, there is another big reason your kitten must get milk from a cat.
Other milk varieties are not nutritionally suited for young kittens, and it could stunt your kitten’s growth if they are drinking the wrong kind of milk and not getting enough food.
Especially while a cat is still at a very young age, you want to make sure everything they are putting in their body is helping their bones grow and get stronger.
Is Human’s Milk Bad For Kittens
Human milk is not the best variety of milk to feed a cat at any age. While it is not outright harmful to cats to drink, it is not well-suited for their dietary needs. This is also the case for cow’s milk, the most common type of milk humans often drink and give to young children.
While it is common to see cats joyfully lapping up milk in movies and tv shows, this is more of a myth than a reality.
While some cats may enjoy a spot of milk now and again, it is not advised to drink it as a staple of their diet. In particular, full-fat cow’s milk is the most dangerous for young kittens, and if you are going to introduce cow’s milk to a cat, it should be a very clean, organic option with a very minimal fat content.
What Happens If A Cat Drinks Human Milk
The reaction a cat has if they drink human milk is going to be different for every cat. Some cats enjoy the taste of milk, while others want nothing to do with it. It does not seem to cause some cats any digestive problems, while it can cause a significant upset stomach for others.
The reason that human milk upsets a cat’s stomach is that many cats are lactose-intolerant. This means their bodies cannot break down the lactose in milk, which results in your cat having an unsettled stomach, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Not all cats are lactose-intolerant, so you can experiment with a little bit of milk to see how your cat reacts. To do this, you want to give your cat a minimal amount of regular cow’s milk and closely monitor them to see if they have any side effects.
If you observe any diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal swelling, or flatulence from your cat, then it is likely they have a lactose allergy and are sensitive to lactose. If your cat does not react, you can try again on a different day and increase the amount of milk you give them.
What Kind of Milk Can Cats Drink
When cats are fully grown, they can safely have the following types of milk: lactose-free cow’s milk, goat’s milk, or lactose-free milk for cats. There are way more varieties of milk that are not safe for cats to drink.
Some other varieties of milk that should always be avoided for cats include sheep’s milk and plant milk like oat or almond milk. These types of milk are very likely to make your cat sick.
What Can You Give Cats Instead of Milk
If you are looking for a fun treat to give your cat, there are better options out there than experimenting with milk. If you are specifically looking for a different type of liquid to give your cat a water substitute, try bone broth instead.
There are bone broth brands on the market that are formulated specifically for cats and dogs. Most cats love the taste of it, and it is considered a superfood for cats. It has nutritional benefits for cats as well.
Bone broth has a lot of collagen, which is an excellent supplement for keeping their coat shiny and their joints healthy.
If you are more interested in new food treat options for your cat, visit your local pet store or ask your vet specifically about what they would recommend. There are many delicious bite-sized treats out there that are created specifically for cats in all their favorite flavors like salmon and chicken.
Things To Consider
If you happen to have a kitten and do not have a cat to breastfeed it, you will have to act quickly to ensure they get the food they need. Newborn kittens usually can only go four hours without eating before their bodies will start shutting down.
The good news is that there are kitten milk formulas that you can purchase so that your kitten does not starve, in addition to some homemade recipes you can make at home.
If you find yourself in this scenario, you will need to stick with a strict feeding schedule for the first couple of months of your cat’s life. Much like all newborns, kittens require around-the-clock feedings as they grow and get stronger.
You may also need to purchase a special bottle that resembles a mother cat’s nipple to get your kitten to feed. While it may be a difficult process, knowing you are saving a kitten’s life is also a very rewarding one.