Can cats drink almond milk? While cats literally can ingest almond milk, the beverage is not a nutritionally appropriate food for cats of any age.
Cats and Almond Milk
Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they have to eat animal foods. A milk made from a plant material will not provide the right kind of fats, vitamins, or proteins for a cat to digest. Almond milk is made from blending almonds with water, and filtering the solids. Then, in store-bought milks, flavoring agents, coloring agents, thickeners, preservatives, and other additives are often incorporated. Many of these, in addition to the almond milk itself, could be irritating to your cat’s digestive tract. If your cat cannot digest food it has eaten, vomiting and diarrhea are the most likely result. Even if those don’t occur, mild malnutrition could develop over time if the almond milk is fed regularly.
Kittens are especially sensitive to the correct nutrition, as the wrong foods can give a kitten diarrhea, causing potentially deadly dehydration. Inappropriate foods may also not allow them to grow and develop as they should.
What to feed cats instead
If you are wondering if cats can drink almond milk, you may be considering supplementing your cat’s diet for fun or with a nutritional purpose in mind. In general, cats should be fed appropriately formulated cat food, either homemade or store bought. However, cats are our close and beloved companions, and it’s likely that you may want to share other food with your cat.
If you are wanting to share some almond milk with your cat as a treat, be aware that it may make them feel ill and vomit or have diarrhea, especially if the almond milk is from a store and contains gums, thickeners, and other additives. Coconut milk may be a better supplemental alternative, especially if the product contains no other additives or preservatives. Coconut contains fats that are recognized by a cat’s body and more easily digested. Milk and oil from coconuts are quite calorically dense, so keep that in mind if you are sharing with a feline who is not very active.
If you are wanting to supplement your cat’s nutrition, talk to your vet about including foods with more appropriate nutrition for cats. These can include store-bought supplements, egg yolks, plain full-fat yogurt or kefir, coconut oil, raw dairy, and other food products that cats are more able to digest. A fish oil supplement for cats might also fill the nutritional need that almond milk or other plant-based milk is not able to.
Fermented dairy and dairy alternatives
Fermented dairy such as plain, full-fat yogurt or kefir are more appropriate for a cat than pasteurized cow milk because the lactose in the milk will have been digested during the fermentation process. Additionally, the probiotic microbes that perform the fermentation can also be beneficial for a cat’s digestive system. Talk to your vet and go slowly if you plan to feed your cat yogurt or kefir.
Can cats eat almond yogurt?
Just like almond milk, almond yogurt is not going to be an equivalent replacement for high quality, unflavored full-fat dairy yogurt. This is because almond yogurt products and most other plant-based yogurt products have several thickeners and additives that may very well make kitty sick. Even coconut milk yogurt is likely to contain additives that are not good for your feline friend, even if the coconut itself and the beneficial microbes are more appropriate.