In this post we are going to answer the popular question, can cats eat yogurt? Yogurt has been around for many years and originates from the Turkish term “yog” which means “intensify” or “condense”. Yogurt is thought of as a healthy food but can cats eat yogurt? The short answer is yes, but it’s not just a straight forward yes.
It’s not poisonous to cats, there are actually benefits, but with cats being lactose intolerant, it may cause digestive issues. In this article we are going to cover the types of yogurt you can give your cat, how much yogurt should you give your cat?, the dangers of yogurt to cats, plus a ton more information that any cat owner will find useful.
Can Cats Eat Yogurt And Is It Safe?
We briefly answered this at the start of this post but let’s go into a bit more detail. Cats are lactose intolerant which means they do no possess lactose which is an enzyme that breaks down lactose. So because of this, feeding your cat dairy-based products such as milk can cause stomach issues.
As kittens they do drink their mothers milk. This is because they do process lactose when they are young. As they get older (around 12 weeks) they lose lactose as it is no longer needed. Although this happens, you should still be able to feed your cat small amounts of plain yogurt. The one should avoid is flavored yogurt which contains artificial sweeteners and sugar.
We will go into more detail on this below. Some cats are also allergic to yogurt so it’s always best to be safe and consult with a veterinarian before you introduce something new like yogurt into their diet. As long as the plain yogurt is in date and you don’t give them too much, then you should be okay.
How Much Yogurt Should I Give My Cat?
Cats are obligate carnivores as a result of their ancestral diets which means yogurt is not an essential food for them. Taking this into consideration, yogurt should be used as an appetizer and you should only be giving them around three to four tablespoonfuls a week.
If your cat is not well and lost a bit of appetite, a teaspoon of yogurt may encourage them to eat whilst enhancing their immune system.
Health Benefits of Yogurt
Plain, unsweetened yogurt can have many health benefits for your cat. Let’s take a look at some of the health benefits of yogurt for your cat:
- Magnesium: Magnesium will help your cat to absorb other nutrients such as vitamin C, potassium, phosphorus, sodium, and calcium.
- Blood Pressure: Helps to maintain healthy blood pressure.
- Calcium: Strengthens teeth, bones, and muscles. Also aids in nerve function and blood clotting.
- Potassium: Strengthens muscles, nerves, and enzyme activity.
- Vitamin B12: Prevent anemia.
- Vitamin B2: Helps your cat metabolize the protein.
- Dental health: Yogurt contains live bacteria which can prevent gum disease and help to keep their teeth white.
- Probiotics: Promotes digestive health. This is also good if your cat suffers with hairballs. Probiotics can also boost the immune system.
Do Cats Like Yogurt?
Every cat is very unique so cats will love yogurt and others won’t eat it. The best way to see if you cat likes yogurt is to try feeding them a teaspoon of plain yogurt to see if it’s something they like. They may prefer flavored yogurt over plain, but giving them flavored yogurt is something you should avoid as it can be bad for your cats health.
How Can You Tell if Your Cat is Lactose Intolerant?
So above we said that to test if your cat likes yogurt, try them with a teaspoon to see if they like it. How can you tell if your cat is lactose intolerant? If they do not show any symptoms within 24 hours, then the occasional dairy treat should be fine. You shouldn’t do this frequently though as cats just don’t need yogurt as part of their diet.
The Dangers of Yogurt to Cats
Although yogurt does have a lower lactose count, feeding your cat yogurt may still have some complications. So if you have done the test that we mentioned above, here are some of the symptoms to look out for:
- loss of appetite and weight
- abdominal pain and discomfort
- increased scratching
Can Cats Eat Greek Yogurt?
Unflavored Greek yogurt is fine to give to your cat, as long as it is in small quantities and not very frequent. The best thing to do is try a few different brands and look for ones that are full of healthy bacteria. Always check the ingredients for anything artificial. Also, never give flavored Greek yogurt to your cat.
Can Cats Eat Flavoured Yogurt?
It’s never a good idea to give your cat flavored yogurt as it contains artificial sweeteners and they high in sugar. Let’s take a look at different flavors and go into more detail.
Can cats eat vanilla yogurt?
Vanilla is not actually toxic for a cat, but vanilla yogurt will contain vanilla flavoring which will more than likely contain ingredients that are bad for your cats health. Vanilla extract in yogurt can contain ethanol which is toxic for cats and can result in hypothermia, drowsiness, and even a heart attack.
Can cats eat strawberry yogurt?
As with vanilla, strawberries are nontoxic for cats but they are high in natural sugar. Feeding your cat too much strawberry can cause an upset tummy. Strawberry yogurt is also going to be very high in sugar and contain additives which is going to be bad for your cats health.
Can cats eat blueberry yogurt?
Blueberries are an excellent healthy food for humans as they are high in fiber, vitamins A, C, E, and K, and low in calories. They also contain essential minerals such as iron, potassium, and manganese. Cats may not even choose to eat blueberries but feeding them small quantities are safe, and can give your cat similar benefits as they do humans.
When it comes to blueberry yogurt, the same dangers apply as they do in other flavored yogurt in that it has a high sugar content and contains additives and preservatives that are bad for your cats health.
Can kittens eat yogurt?
As we previously mentioned, kittens drink their mothers milk because they can produce enzyme lactose for the first 12 weeks of their life. This doesn’t mean that you can give them as much yogurt as you like. It’s actually best to be careful and just simply not give them yogurt at all.
As they are so young they are still developing and are more vulnerable than adult cats. Feeding them yogurt won’t give them any additional nutritional benefits. It’s best to just stick to specialized kitten food.
Alternative Healthy Snacks
We have answered the question of can cats eat yogurt? You should now have all of the details you need to know before giving your cat yogurt. If you want to mix up their diet to provide some variation, here are some healthy alternative human foods that’s not going to wreak havoc with your cats digestive system.
- Plain and thoroughly cooked ham, beef or turkey
- Some whole grains like brown rice or barley
- Celery (they love the crunch!)
- Scrambled eggs
- Green bell peppers
- Spinach (Filled with vitamins A, C, and K!)
- Peas (Often found in many prepackaged foods for cats and dogs as a vitamin-filled addition)
- Pumpkin (Pumpkin is used often as a way to get fiber in your cat’s diet)
When trying any new foods with your cat, always introduce it to them in small quantities to see how they react. These alternative foods should also never be used a replacement for their regular meals. If you do this then they will miss out on all of those vital nutrients they need from properly formulated food.
Can cats eat yogurt – Conclusion
Hope you enjoyed this post on can cats eat yogurt? If you have any questions regarding any of the things we talked about, just drop them in the comments section below.
If you want to learn more about cat nutrition, here are some great articles you will love:
Best Wet Food For Cats: >>Click Here<<
Can Cats Have Coconut Oil: >>Click Here<<
Can Cats Eat Cheese: >>Click Here<<
Can Cats Eat Eggs: >>Click Here<<
- Diagnosis and management of food allergy and intolerance in dogs and cats by Wills J1, Harvey R.
- ASPCA toxic plants for cats
- Yogurt Nutrition article by Harward’s school of public health
- Probiotics for your Pets Article by College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University
- Ethanol Poisoning in Cats