Contrary to popular belief, adult cats should not drink milk but water! It is possible to occasionally give them milk to please them as a treat. Kittens are fed with their mother's milk or formula, cow's milk does not meet their needs.
Milk: feeding cats before weaning
Kittens are fed from birth to weaning with their mother's milk. The kibbles and pâtés are gradually introduced from the age of 3 weeks so that the kittens are weaned around the age of 7 weeks.
After weaning, cats no longer need milk and they drink water.
If it is necessary to prepare bottles, then it is important to choose a formula specially designed for kittens. This will provide the kittens with everything they need for their growth. On the other hand, they should not be given cow's milk which is too rich in lactose and does not cover the protein and energy needs of kittens.
For more details, do not hesitate to read our fact sheet on feeding the unweaned kitten.
And as an adult?
Kittens are able to digest their mother's milk thanks to an enzyme found in the small intestine: lactase.
The activity of this enzyme decreases from the age of 6 weeks, kittens gradually lose their ability to digest milk as they grow.
Adult cats therefore have great difficulty digesting milk. Undigested lactose can cause intestinal fermentation and diarrhea.
So remember that water should be the main drink for adult cats. It is possible from time to time to give milk to cats in small quantities to please them. Cats are able to tolerate 10ml of milk / kg, so you can occasionally give up to 40ml of milk to your cat if it weighs 4 kg.
It is preferable to choose a milk low in lactose to facilitate the digestion of cats. For example, there is Whiskas Catmilk low-lactose milk that can be given to cats as a treat.