Feeding your cat a healthy and balanced diet is a vital aspect of being a responsible pet owner. It is essential that your cat gets all the nutrients that it needs to maintain good health. It is equally important that you do not overfeed your cat, or they may become obese, which can lead to serious health problems. Some of these include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and joint problems. In addition to their main diet, you may wish to give your cat an occasional treat. However, it is essential to check that it is safe for your cat to eat a certain food before you decide to introduce any new foods into their diet. Just because you enjoy an ingredient, and it is safe for humans does not mean that it is safe for your cat to eat the same thing. One food that many humans enjoy and that you might consider feeding to your cat is cheese. So, can cats eat cheese, or is this a food that you should avoid feeding to your pet?
Can Cats Eat Cheese?
When deciding whether it is safe for a cat to eat a particular food, you should first consider your pet’s dietary needs and think about whether the food fits into a healthy balanced diet for your cat. The dietary needs of a cat are not the same as the dietary needs of a human. In the wild, cats have a high protein diet that contains very little fat, carbohydrates, or vegetables. They predominantly eat meat and only a small amount of vegetation. Eating meat gives them all the nutrients they need to maintain their health. Cheese is not a food that cats need in their diet, and it is potentially harmful to them. Although a small amount of cheese is unlikely to cause your cat any long-term harm, it is best to avoid giving your cat cheese. Let’s take a closer look at why you should not feed your cat this food.
Why Should You Avoid Feeding Cheese to Your Cat?
There are two main reasons that you should not feed cheese to your cat. The first is that cheese is a dairy product, and this means that it contains lactose. Cats are lactose intolerant, which means they cannot digest lactose. They do not have the enzyme that breaks down lactose in the digestive system. When a cat eats foods containing lactose, it can upset their stomach and cause stomach cramps, bloating, and diarrhea, says Pets Web MD. Although this is only a short-term issue, it is unpleasant for your cat. The second reason that you should not feed cheese to your cat is that it is high in fat. Eating too much fat is not good for your cat as it can lead to them becoming overweight and suffering from health conditions associated with obesity.
What About Soft Cheese and Blue Cheese?
Although the texture of soft cheese and blue cheese’s appearance differs from the hard cheeses that people most commonly buy, they are still potentially harmful to cats. They both contain lactose that can upset your cat’s digestive system, and they both contain fat. Both blue cheese and soft cheese also contain bacteria called listeria, and this can also cause your cat digestive problems. Therefore, you should avoid feeding your cat blue cheese and soft cheese.
Can Cats Eat Non-Diary Cheese?
There are now some varieties of cheese that are made from plant-based products rather than milk. These are aimed at vegans and people who are lactose intolerant. As there is no milk in the cheese, there is also no lactose. In theory, the lack of lactose means that non-dairy cheese is safer for your cat to eat than regular cheese, and it will not cause your cat to suffer from digestive problems. However, non-dairy cheese is usually high in fat and salt, so it is still something that you can only eat in moderation, says Scrumbles.
Can You Give Your Cat Cheese as an Occasional Treat?
Although giving your cat a meal that is almost all cheese is a very bad idea that will almost certainly result in a tummy upset, cheese is not toxic to cats. For this reason, Purina says that occasionally giving your cat a small piece of cheese is unlikely to cause them too many problems. Some people even use a small piece of cheese as a way of hiding medication to make sure their cat takes their tablets.
Do Cats Even Like Cheese?
Whether it is safe to feed cheese to a cat is not a concern if it is a food that cats do not eat, so do cats even like to eat cheese? The answer to this is not a straightforward yes or no. Cats are often depicted in images as being great lovers of dairy products, lapping up bowls of milk and nibbling on cheese. However, most cats do not like cheese and will not attempt to eat this food. On the other hand, there are some cats that are not particular about their food, and they may enjoy the occasional piece of cheese. Whether a cat likes cheese is a matter of personal preference, and you may find that your cat turns up its nose when offered a piece of cheese.
The Final Verdict – Can Cats Eat Cheese?
Overall, it is best to avoid feeding cheese of any kind to your cat as the lactose content can cause digestive problems. Also, cheese is high in fat, and eating too much can lead to obesity and associated health conditions. However, cheese is not toxic to cats, so the occasional cheesy treat is unlikely to cause them any long-term harm. It is better to stick to feeding your cat a meat-based diet that is low fat and high protein.