Can cats eat cheese? Maybe you have never thought about it. Perhaps you have already tried feeding it to your cat without ever actually thinking whether it is good or bad for them. Or maybe you know the answer and just want to clear your head with an explanation. If so, you are in the right place.
Most cats are selective eaters. You may have already noticed this with the one you have at home with you. There is one thing you should know, however. That is, first, there is a list of food your cats would not eat. Second, there is a list of food your cats SHOULD NOT eat.
That is an entirely different list. What I’m saying is that we must be very careful with what you feed your little feline friends. We should know better. So pay attention because today we’re going to answer this question.
Knowing better about cats and cheese
For starters, let’s talk more about cheese, shall we?
As we all know, cheese is a dairy product. Most of the nutrients found in milk and yogurt are almost the same as what we can find in cheese, only in varying amounts. It actually depends on the type of cheese we’re talking about. We use it for appetizers, desserts, casseroles.
It’s a staple food for many, and you might have at some point gotten curious about whether or not your cats love them too. We, humans find it delicious may it be Cheddar, Parmesan, Gouda, Camembert, Stilton, Swiss, Mozzarella and we could go on and on about it.
Aside from this, it is also a great source of some of our body’s nutritional needs. A serving of one ounce could make up for one-third of our daily calcium needs. It also provides protein and Vitamin D. So it’s not a full-of-taste-full-of-junk kind of treat.
Now here’s the catch.
Cheese is very high in calories, cholesterol, sodium and saturated fat. That did not sound so appetizing when I said it like that. Yikes!
Cats do not even need cheese on their diet. Their biological necessity is to eat meat which provides them some of the vitamins and fatty acids needed by their body. As obligate carnivores, all they need is the quality protein to get through their nine lives. See what I did there?
I know, I know. We all like sharing food with our pets. Who could resist the purring and the rubbing and the Puss in Boots’ eyes? But we must stay strong and walk past the cuteness in order to keep them alive.
We know that certain foods are unhealthy and may even be dangerous for them. Even though we have the same hobby as lying around all day and taking naps, we certainly do not share the same dietary needs as them.
So let’s go back to the question.
Can cats eat cheese?
The answer is both yes and no.
Are there any benefits? Is cheese good for cats?
Yes (kinda) because cheese contains protein and cats love that stuff. But don’t get too excited. Cats are allowed to eat cheese only in small doses and not in a regular basis. A bite-sized cheese snack every once in a while would not hurt.
Aside from this, cheese is a brilliant way to conceal medication. It could be a real challenge to make a cat swallow a pill. Expect several attempts of clawing and scratching here and there.
Wrapping the medicine with a slice of cheese would make the process a lot of easier. I just wish my mom would have thought about this trick when I was young.
Moreover, it can also be served as a special treat for when Mr. Oreo behaved like a splendid kitty for that day. Let’s save the cheese for those very special occasions. Remember, human food should not go beyond fifteen percent of a cat’s diet. That’s why we have cat food in the first place.
Now let’s go to the next part so I could give you a straightforward answer.
How about the risks? Is cheese bad for cats?
Cats are not supposed to eat cheese, people. As much as possible, let us keep our mozzarella sticks and cheesy pizza rolls away from our kitty.
You see, cats are lactose intolerant! Those animated programs have misled us and misrepresented reality. It is not healthy for cats to lick milk from a saucer bowl all the time.
It’s just like making me believe that all rabbits ever ate were carrots. Surprise, surprise. But seriously, cats are lactose intolerant. Well, not all of them. But surely, you don’t want to find out about yours the hard way. That would be too risky.
Why cheese is bad for cats
Cats are born with a lot of enzymes necessary to break down the milk sugar lactose which helps them thrive on their mommy’s milk. These enzymes are called Lactase, and they produce the sugars glucose and galactose.
As they go through adulthood, it is very likely for them to produce less Lactase, just as humans do. It’s a mammal thing. Reptiles won’t understand.
Lactose intolerance in cats is not an illness or something we could find a cure for. It just the way things are, and we cannot fight the natural order. At birth, kittens drink their mother’s milk for the first couple of months.
During this period of being breastfed, their bodies are actively producing a certain amount of lactase which enables them to digest breast milk. After some time, these kittens learned to eat solid food, so the production of lactase stopped to the point of lactose intolerance. It’s just so unfortunate.
On a happy note, cats could manage cheese with trace levels of less than 0.5-gram lactose. Examples of these are naturally aged cheese like cheddar, parmesan, and swiss.
On the other hand, fresh cheeses like camembert, cream cheese, brie and curd cheese contain more lactose so you might want to pass on that.
What happens when your cat ingests the amount beyond the limit of healthy cheese intake?
The answer is diarrhea, vomiting, and other things which require a lot of veterinary attention (not to mention a lot of cleaning).
Cheese can upset a cat’s gastrointestinal system, and we do not want to see our beloved kitty go through something like that. We enjoy the company of our cats but not when we have to deal with As cat owners and lovers; our top priority is to keep them healthy at the very least.
There is nothing worse than having our cat suffer on our watch because of a simple dietary mistake. If this happens, make sure to provide your pet with plenty of water to stave off dehydration.
Sodium poisoning is also a possibility when you feed your cat one too many slices of cheese. Cheese is a salty snack with 174 milligrams of sodium for each slice on average. This totals to about 400 milligrams of salt. That is ten times more than the sodium level cats are allowed to have.
Your cat will surely need a lot of water after finishing a handful of cheese. Drinking lots of water leads to urination which shows that the process of eliminating the excess sodium creates extra work for your pet’s kidneys.
Cheese is dangerously fattening. Too much cheese could put a lot of weight to your cat which may lead to obesity.
Have you ever seen an overweight cat? Very cute, right? But no. It’s dangerous. Obesity leads to liver disease, arthritis, and diabetes.
Just when I thought cats cannot develop such ailment. It is easy to munch on all the cheese, but we all know it is not going to be easy to shake the pounds off knowing that our cat does not like walking as much as our dog does. Exercise is not the thing cats are known for thanks to Garfield.
In conclusion, cats can only eat cheese in small portions. As much as possible, we could just skip that entirely, and I’m sure he would not miss it.
Our pet cat does not really need it anyway, plus, their body does not want it at all. Just a reminder, most cats are lactose intolerant and feeding them cheese would only result in an upset stomach. There is a silver lining, though.
This news means more cheese for us, humans, am I right? So it is advisable just to stick to the cat food to save our pet from tummy troubles. We could make ourselves another grilled cheese sandwich.
Did you enjoy the read? Do you think you have become an even more responsible cat person because of this article? I hope so. If you do, let us know what you think in the comment section. If your club of cat owners could use this information, click share and make this world a better place for our kitties!