Is Goat's Milk Safe for Cats to Drink?
By now most people know that cats should not have cow's milk. Cats love the taste but most cats are lactose intolerant, some get stomach cramps, others get diarrhea, and others suffer from constipation. Additionally the calcium content of cow's milk is linked to causing the formation of crystals and causing urinary tract problems. It can even make your cat fat. All of this leaves owners, who still want to give their cat a treat, wondering, “Is goat's milk okay to give to cats?”.
Goat's milk is different from cow's milk. It still contains lactose, but has different components overall.
In some cases the problem is not the lactose in the cow's milk, but a component called Casein. This is actually what causes more problems in people than lactose. Casein is something many people, and some cats, are allergic to. Goat's milk has as much as 89% less Casein than cow's milk, so may cause fewer problems overall in animals that are allergic to Casein.
As far as the lactose content goes, goat's milk has slightly less lactose and it seems to be more digestible. As lactose is the biggest problem cat's have with drinking cow's milk, many can tolerate goat's milk, that could not tolerate cow's milk.
Goat's milk has smaller fat globules making it a little easier to digest than cow's milk. As such it is less likely to cause problems for your cat's tummy, but you must still remember that this is not a natural food for them.
Can Cats have Goat's Milk?
Normally cats, once weaned as kittens, do not need any kind of milk, and kittens should only have their mother's milk, or KMR (kitten milk replacer). After 6 weeks of age they do not need either (but should stay with their mom until 8 weeks). If for some reason you find yourself in a desperate position with orphaned kittens (under 6 weeks of age) and cannot get KMR, goat's milk is a better choice than cow's milk.
When we look at all the facts we see that if an owner is going to give their cat any kind of milk, goat's milk is better than cow's milk, however milk in general is not a natural food for cats and can still cause problems for them, particularly due to the high calcium content and its relationship to causing urinary tract problems.
If for some reason you feel that you must give your cat milk, then goat's milk is a better choice, and preferably fresh goat's milk. Introduce it slowly, a teaspoon at a time, monitor your cats litter box for signs of diarrhea or constipation.