Cats lapping at a bowl of milk or cream is one of the most traditional pictures you’ll ever see.
And many cats enjoy milk, cream, or even ice cream! (Some of them also enjoy cheese….).
When your cat is begging to try some of your milk, you may be tempted to let them try some, and cats like Russian Blue cats are particularly good at wheedling their way into your food and are very food motivated to boot.
So, can milk be a reward for good behavior? Can Russian Blue cats drink milk?
Short answer: Not really. Once weaned, cats are actually quite lactose intolerant (though they will never admit to it) and you’ll end up with a disaster of a litter box and an uncomfortable cat!
But some cats can tolerate a tablespoon or so once in a while. Russian Blue cats, sadly, are not one of them!
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Lactose Intolerance and Russian Blue Cats
Milk contains lactose which most cats lack the enzyme to digest. It’s the same problem many humans have – it’s not that they are allergic per se, but they are intolerant of it.
Drinking milk when you can’t digest it leads to a lot of gastrointestinal discomfort for humans and for cats as well.
Kittens do produce the enzyme they need to digest milk, but that’s because milk is their only form of sustenance for the first few months of their lives.
As they grow up and switch to other foods, their body stops producing the enzyme and they stop being able to handle milk.
Some cats will continue to produce it well into adulthood, but only in small amounts, so they can only handle a small amount of dairy. (My Siamese cross for example was able to have a small amount of ice cream without trouble, even though she really shouldn’t have had it!)
The whole thing is even worse for Russian Blue cats. This particular breed is highly prone to lactose intolerance and will get very uncomfortable stomachs if they have it.
Stomach irritation like this will lead to pain, discomfort, and a really nasty litter box.
Unfortunately, Russian Blue cats are so food motivated that they probably won’t learn from their experience with milk and will just keep begging for it, so you’ve got to hold firm.
But My Russian Blue Ate Some Cheese and Was Fine!
Some dairy products like hard cheese and yogurt don’t actually contain much lactose in them. The protein gets ‘gobbled’ by other things like the microbes used to ferment the milk into yogurt.
So, by the time your cat sneaks it off your table, there’s not enough lactose in it to cause problems.
Still, it’s not really good for cats to eat and some extremely sensitive cats may still get sick from it.
Russian Blue cats are quite sensitive to the presence of lactose, so even cheese may give them a bit of a problem.
Is There Any Milk that Russian Blue Cats Can Drink?
The only milk that adult cats can have is cat milk. Cat milk is specially formulated to be easy to digest and is a good thing for lactose-intolerant cats to have as a healthy snack or to prompt them to eat some of their dry or wet food.
Cats can also more easily digest lactose-free milk, but again, this should be a treat and in small amounts. Milk is relatively high in calories, so if they are drinking too much of that, they aren’t getting a balanced diet and are missing out on a lot of nutrition.
Too much milk can also give a cat diarrhea, so they are losing out on even more nutrition. It’s best to keep even lactose-free milk or cat milk as a small treat.
Cats can also have almond milk and sometimes other plant-based milk since they have no lactose in them.
However, they should only have a small amount or else they will blow through their daily calorie allowance and be missing out on essential nutrients.
A small amount of almond milk though has plenty of vitamin E, potassium, and magnesium, all of which are quite healthy for cats.
Cats can also have small amounts of goat or sheep milk too since they have less lactose than cow’s milk.
But monitor your cat carefully afterward to make sure it suffered no ill effects. And again, keep it as a treat!
Can Drinking Milk Kill a Russian Blue Cat?
Your Russian Blue cat may wish it was dead after drinking too much milk and becoming bloated and gassy, but it’s pretty unlikely it will actually kill your cat.
The main problem is that the side effects can cause a lot of problems, particularly if there is a lot of vomiting or diarrhea after drinking milk.
This can cause a cat to become dangerously dehydrated or lose a lot of nutrients and drop weight.
If you notice your cat is vomiting a lot, take it to the vet to get help!
But a small amount of milk or a small piece of cheese is unlikely to be fatal to your cat – though they may not be very comfortable afterward.
What Should Russian Blue Cats Drink Instead?
Water. Cats have a hard time getting enough hydration throughout their day and should be encouraged to drink water.
Keep a clean, fresh bowl in easy reach, and try to encourage your cat to eat wet food regularly so that they stay hydrated. Water is by far the best way to keep your cat hydrated and promote their health.
Although the image of a cat licking milk or cream is a common one (and quite cute), even the food-motivated Russian Blue won’t thank you for indulging it.
Russian Blue cats are particularly sensitive to lactose, even for a cat, and will likely end up bloated and gassy if they drink milk.
There’s also not enough of the nutrition that cats need in milk and it’s high in calories. Stick to water and regular cat food and give treats that are actually made for cats.
Does your Russian Blue beg for milk?
Pam is a self-confessed cat lover and has experience of working with cats and owning cats for as long as she can remember. This website is where she gets to share her knowledge and interact with other cat lovers.