Can cats eat cheese?
Cheese, in all its varieties and presentations, is one of the most appreciated foods in international cuisine. Although there are hundreds of types of cheese, each with its own aroma, texture, flavor and nutritional composition, we can define the cheese, without exhausting all the history and the work involved in its elaboration, as a source of proteins and fats very tasty and sophisticated.
In addition to please our palate, cheese offers many benefits to human health, provided it is consumed in moderate doses. And if you share your house with a feline companion, you know very well that this food is usually very attractive for the kittens. However, you may wonder if cats can eat cheese or if this food can harm them. Therefore, we answer and explain if cheese can be a beneficial food for cats, and we show the precautions that we should have if we decide to incorporate this food into the diet of our kittens.
Is cheese good for cats?
Cheese is a source of protein of animal origin, since it is produced from the milk of different mammals. Although the most consumed cheeses worldwide come from cow’s milk, there are also very exquisite cheeses made with sheep’s milk, goat’s milk and buffalo milk. Being a dairy product, the cheese also contains a considerable contribution de fat (although there are many cheeses reduced in calories and total fat), and minerals like calcium, phosphorus and magnesium.
As cats are strictly carnivorous animals, proteins must be the pillar and, consequently, the macronutrient most abundant in their nutrition, being accompanied by beneficial fats, vitamins and minerals. Although cats can consume very moderate carbohydrate rations, we must bear in mind that excess of this nutrient can generate digestive disorders, in addition to promoting the development of obesity in cats.
Considering that cheese is a highly protein food that also has some beneficial fats, it might be logical to conclude that cats can eat cheese. But the question is not so simple, because cheese is also a direct derivative of milk, and most adult cats are lactose intolerant. We explain you better below .
While baby cats are lactating, breast milk is the only ideal food to meet all their nutritional needs. Therefore, your body produces a large amount of an enzyme called lactase, which is responsible for digesting the lactose present in breast milk. But when the cats complete their weaning period and are already prepared to experiment with new foods, your body progressively decreases the production of this enzyme. This is the most important food transition that cats experience in their lives, because it means that their body is prepared to survive on its own, without the need to receive food from another individual.
Most adult cats become lactose intolerant, since their organism does not produce the enzyme necessary to digest it or produce it at insufficient levels to digest it correctly. Then, when consuming milk or milk products, the felines can develop digestive problems, such as gas, vomiting or diarrhea.
For this reason, although cheese is not one of the foods prohibited for cats its consumption should be moderate to prevent such digestive disturbances. In addition, we must emphasize that no matter how much the cheese offers a good contribution of proteins and fats, it should not replace the meat, whether it’s veal, chicken, turkey or fish.
What kind of cheese can I give to my cat?
Although cow’s cheese is cheaper and easier to find, Goat and sheep cheeses They are easier to digest for our pigs. So, it would be interesting to give preference to these types of cheese to prevent digestive problems associated with lactose intolerance in cats.
In this sense, we can offer a small piece of hard cheese as a prize during the education of our kittens, using this food that pleases our feline so much to reinforce the good behaviors and stimulate it to continue learning. However, it is important not to use only food as positive reinforcement for cats, as this could end up causing a rapid weight gain, or assimilation that obedience should always be connected to receiving food in return. The best thing is to alternate snacks with caresses, toys, compliments and good moments of fun, which are also excellent rewards to the effort and intelligence of your feline.
On the other hand, we can also add lean cheeses, like lean ricotta or cottage cheese in the homemade recipes that we elaborate to complement the diet of our kittens and to please their demanding appetite.
Is there a safe dose of cheese that I can give to my cat?
As we have seen, cats can eat cheese always in very small amounts, as an eventual snack or a complement in homemade recipes. However, there is no predetermined dose for all cats, but the safe and beneficial amount of cheese should be adequate according to the size, weight, age and health status of each kitten.
Therefore, it is essential that you consult a veterinarian to choose the most appropriate nutrition according to the nutritional needs of your cat. The professional can guide you regarding the introduction of the cheese in the feeding of your cat, advising you on the most adequate and safe doses to obtain a positive impact on your health.
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