Can cats drink cashew milk? Before sharing your favorite non-dairy milk replacement beverage with your kitty, there are a few important things I want you to know.
While cats can literally ingest cashew milk, the drink is not nutritionally appropriate for cats or kittens of any age. Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they need to consume animal-based foods. A drink made from plant materials will not provide the right kind of fats, proteins, or vitamins for a cat’s sensitive digestive system.
Cashew milk is made from blending cashews with water, and filtering the solids. Store-bought milks often contain additives such as flavoring agents, colorants, thickeners, preservatives, and other ingredients. Many of these, in addition to the cashew milk itself, could cause irritation to your cat’s digestive tract. Vomiting and diarrhea are the most likely result from an upset digestive system. Even if those symptoms don’t occur, a cat may develop malnutrition over time if cashew milk or other milk alternatives such as almond milk are given continually.
Is Cashew Milk Safe for Cats?
It is safe to give an adult cat cashew milk occasionally, as it is not poisonous to them. However, too much or too often can cause digestive upset or nutritional imbalances.
Kittens and Cashew Milk
Kittens are especially sensitive to the correct nutrition, as the wrong foods can give a kitten diarrhea, causing potentially deadly dehydration. Species inappropriate foods may also not allow them to grow and develop properly.
Cashew Milk Alternatives
If you are trying to figure out if cats can drink cashew milk, you may be considering supplementing your cat’s diet. The motivation may be simply fun, or you may have a nutritional purpose in mind. In general, cats should only be fed appropriately formulated cat food, either homemade or store bought. However, our cats are close and beloved companions. It’s likely that you may want to share other food with your cat as a treat.
If want to share cashew milk with your cat as a treat, be aware that it may make them feel ill and vomit or have diarrhea. This is especially true if the beverage is store-bought 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 calorically dense, which is important to keep in mind if you are sharing with a particularly inactive feline.
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 egg yolks, store-bought supplements, coconut oil, plain full-fat yogurt or kefir, 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 is not able to.
Fermented dairy and dairy alternatives to cashew milk
Fermented dairy such as plain, full-fat yogurt or kefir are more appropriate for a cat than pasteurized cow milk. This is because the lactose in the milk will be digested during the fermentation process. 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 cow’s milk yogurt or kefir.
Just like cashew milk, cashew yogurt is not an equivalent replacement for high quality, unflavored full-fat dairy yogurt. Cashew-based yogurt products have several thickeners and additives that may very well make your kitty feel ill. 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.
In sum, do your best to stick to species-appropriate, animal-based foods for your kitty. Talk to your vet about any treats or nutritional supplements your cats may benefit from. And keep on loving those cats!