Oat milk is a decent alternative for people that have a plant-based diet for ethical, religious, or nutritional reasons. It’s high in carbs, and it is rich in calories, which means that it can make a good food to have by vegans, for example.
But can cats have oat milk? Are there any risks involved with feeding your cat oat milk? We’re answering these questions and more in today’s article, so make sure to keep on reading!
Can Cats Have Oat Milk?
The short answer to this question is no. But as is the case with any other questions you might have with regards to your cat, the truth is that some cats might be interested in it.
From a nutritional standpoint, oat milk has nothing to offer to your cat. Our feline friends are not genetically engineered to digest high-carb foods, especially grains. If you have been a pet guardian for a while now, you’ve probably done your research and found out that cats are obligate carnivores.
Therefore, their diet should mostly consist of proteins and fats — not grains or other carb-heavy food sources.
The internet is filled with posts that will tell you that giving oat milk to your feline companion is, in fact, safe. In my opinion, as a veterinarian, it’s anything but safe.
Why Should You Avoid Giving Your Cat Oat Milk?
Grains, including oats, can cause a variety of digestive issues in cats. From bloating and diarrhea to vomiting, gas, cramps, and indigestion in general, there’s nothing that you might not notice in your cat if you decide to feed her non-dairy milk.
While it might be true that when you prepare oat milk at home, if you strain it, you’re effectively removing the fiber, some of it still remains in the liquid and can lead to your pet developing medical conditions.
On top of everything, oat milk is very rich in calories, which means that it is completely inappropriate for cats that have been spayed or neutered and that have a higher likelihood of developing obesity. The same goes for indoor cats as they do not get the right amount of exercise that could prevent them from gaining weight.
Unsafe Ingredients in Oat Milk
If you intend to prepare the oat milk at home, it might be true that it could be safer than commercial varieties, but it’s still not worth the risk.
But to give you several reasons why commercial oat milk is bad, we’ll tell you that it can contain anything from sugar and salt to preservatives, additives, thickeners, and oils – most of which come from vegetable sources, which again, cats should not eat since they are carnivores.
Most plant milks contain sugar and salt. Some varieties can contain as much as 3 to 4% salt. This is an ingredient that should never be present in a cat’s or dog’s diet as prolonged exposure can lead to the development of cardiac health problems.
As for sugar, it goes without saying that it merely adds to the number of calories of the oat milk, without providing anything of value. Sugar is another ingredient that has no place in a cat’s diet, and in some cases, it can cause digestive issues, diabetes, weight gain, as well as tooth decay.
Is Regular Milk Safe?
What you might not know is that the majority of cats across the world are, in fact, lactose-intolerant. This means that they can develop digestive problems after drinking cow milk.
Some types are safer than others, such as goat milk, for example. Lactose-free milk is another good option, and some cats might also develop no complications upon eating fermented dairy products such as yogurt or sour cream, for example.
All plant milks are risky to give to cats, whether made from soy, oat, rice, coconut, or almond.
What If Your Cat Loves Milk?
If you have never fostered a kitten that hadn’t been weaned by her mother, you might not be aware that there are many commercial cat milks available for sale these days. Even a well-known brand such as Whiskas has a variety available, although we have found that KMR’s milk replacer is a better choice, nutrition-wise.
Make sure you give your cat only appropriate milks. More importantly, look for options that contain no artificial flavors or preservatives, binders, vegetable oils, or salt or sugar.
Cat-specific milk can vary in price. For example, a GNC Pets Premium milk replacer can set you back around twenty-five dollars. The KMR alternative that we have mentioned has a similar price, while a Hartz powdered kitten milk replacer costs under fifteen dollars, so it’s more budget-friendly.
Cats should not have oat milk as they are not genetically designed to process it well. They can develop a variety of digestive health problems due to the grain and carb content in oat milk. Commercial oat milk is the worst.
Try to avoid feeding milk to your cat, whether non-dairy or dairy. Most cats are lactose-intolerant and can develop indigestion after consuming one of these milks.