Oat milk is a great alternative to traditional dairy milk for people with lactose intolerance and food allergies. It’s become increasingly popular over the years, and more and more people have oat milk stored in their cupboards and fridges. Cat owners who also happen to drink oat milk might wonder if it’s safe to give to their cats as a treat.
The answer is yes, oat milk can be safe for many cats, but it should only be given in moderation and as an occasional treat.
Here, we cover how much oat milk is okay and when it shouldn’t be given to your cat.
Can You Give Your Cat Oat Milk?
For the most part, oat milk is safe enough for cats, but it really doesn’t offer them any nutritional benefit either.
Cats are carnivores or to be more precise, obligate carnivores. This means they get most of their nutritional requirements from meat alone. Their digestive systems are unable to digest plants and vegetation properly and do not derive enough nutrients from them.
Of course, this means oat milk doesn’t give cats the same benefits as it does for us.
What Should You Watch For After Your Cat Drinks Oat Milk?
If your cat drinks some oat milk, keep an eye on them for a while, and as long as they seem okay, there’s nothing to worry about. Some cats might have diarrhea or vomit, in which case, you shouldn’t give them oat milk again.
If you observe any of the following signs, you might need to speak to your vet, depending on their severity.
These signs can indicate that your cat is in pain, so make an appointment with your vet.
What Exactly Is Oat Milk?
Oat milk is technically a plant-based milk alternative. It’s an excellent option for people who have lactose intolerance or are allergic to nuts or soy. If it’s made from gluten-free oats, it works well for people with gluten disorders.
Oat milk is available in most stores, but it’s quite easy to make yourself. Blend oats with water and filter the mixture through a cheesecloth, and you end up with oat milk!
Many companies sell shelf-stable oat milk that can be stored in your cupboard for up to 6 months. But once opened, it needs to be refrigerated.
If you are considering giving this milk to your cat occasionally, avoid purchasing flavored oat milk, as it likely contains sugar and other potentially toxic additives, such as cocoa, artificial sweeteners, or flavorings. Oat milk is full of nutrients, but these mostly benefit herbivores or omnivores like us humans. As carnivores, cats need to have an animal-based protein diet.
How Much Oat Milk Could You Give Your Cat?
Cats don’t need oat milk in their diet, but if you really want to offer it to them, just know that you should only give your cat small amounts of oat milk occasionally. Don’t give them more than ¼ of a cup, and only do so on special occasions. Not every cat will want to drink it, so unless your cat loves the stuff, you don’t need to offer it at all.
If your cat drinks some of your oat milk when you step away for a moment, they will likely be fine. Just ensure that it doesn’t become a habit because it can lead to health issues later.
What About Other Types of Milk?
Most cats are lactose intolerant, so cow’s milk is out of the question. Almond milk and soy milk, like oat milk, aren’t bad for cats, but these can cause an upset stomach if a cat drinks too much of either one.
The best thing that you can do as a cat owner is to not give your cat any type of milk at all. If your cat sneaks some out of your cereal bowl, they will likely be fine, with perhaps a bit of a stomach upset. But your best bet is to only give your cat water as something to drink regularly.
How Can You Tell If Your Cat Is Lactose Intolerant?
It should be fairly obvious if your cat is lactose intolerant. Within 8 to 12 hours of consumption, you will start to notice a few of the following signs:
Diarrhea is one of the more common signs, so you might need to wait until your cat uses the litter box to determine if your cat is lactose intolerant or not.
Regardless, too much milk, irrespective of what kind, is not something that should be a part of your cat’s diet. You can also speak to your vet if you have any questions or concerns.
Oat milk is a healthy and nutritious plant-based milk that is a great option for humans, but not for cats. Even if your cat drinks some and seems fine, it isn’t contributing any nutritional value to them.
Ensure that your cat has constant access to clean and fresh water, as that is the truly essential fluid for cats. If you feel like your cat isn’t drinking enough, try a cat water fountain. Cats tend to prefer to drink from running water, so you might see their water intake increase. Speak to your vet if this is an ongoing concern. If you want your cat to live a long, happy, and healthy life, oat milk simply isn’t a part of that.
- Can Cats Drink Lactose-Free Milk? Vet Approved Health & Safety Guide
- Can Cats Drink Coconut Milk? Vet-Reviewed Nutrition Facts & FAQ
Featured Image Credit: ChervovRV, Shutterstock