Should You Be Putting Almond Milk in Your Cat's Bowl? Here's What Vets Say

Cats lapping up milk from a bowl is a stereotype depicted in cartoons and media frequently. But for a more ethical option, can cats have almond milk?

Jamie Bichelman - Author

Mar. 18 2024, Published 4:51 p.m. ET

A kitten stands at a wood table in front of a blue bowl of milk and two containers of milk.
Source: iStock

Almond milk is a healthier, more sustainable, and Earth-friendly alternative to dairy milk — but should almond milk be fed to cats? And for that matter, can cow's milk be fed to cats?

Countless memes and seemingly adorable photos and videos of cats and kittens with milk mustaches would have you believe milk is good for cats, but the truth lies elsewhere.

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Though your cat may be sniffing around your morning cup of coffee with a splash of almond milk, caution should be exercised. Below, we'll explore if plant milks are indeed a healthful option for cats, and how you can take the best care of your kitty.

A young orange cat drinks milk from a white bowl on a hardwood floor.
Source: iStock
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Can cats drink almond milk?

According to, yes, cats can have a little bit of almond milk, but only in moderation. Because cats lack the sufficient number of enzymes necessary to digest the lactose present in dairy milk, almond milk is considered a safer alternative.

However, that doesn't mean almond milk should be a daily part of your cat's diet. Per, almond milk may contain additives such as sweeteners and preservatives that can cause stomach issues in felines, so it's best to choose an unsweetened version with as few ingredients as possible for this occasional treat.

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Some almond milk brands boast a higher vitamin content that can be beneficial to cats, per For instance, almond milk contains vitamin E, which may be helpful for your cat's fur and skin.

However, while some nutrients may aid with gut health, it should be noted that too much almond milk (especially those with oils and unhealthy additives) will likely cause cats to experience adverse effects like gas, bloating, and diarrhea, per the blog.

A white-and-gray cat sniffs a glass of milk.
Source: iStock
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Can cats drink oat milk?

Yes, cats can drink oat milk, but only in moderation, according to Cat-World. Dr, Sara Ochoa, DVM wrote for the website that oat milk doesn't really have any nutritional benefits for cats, so it shouldn't be anything more than a rare treat. If you do want to feed your cat some oat milk, opt for a brand that is free from additives and fillers.

Per Pets Best Insurance, the excess calories in plant milk can lead to obesity, so it is best to only give your pets small portions of non-dairy milks. Additionally, Dr. Fiona Lee, DVM writes in the article that when cats consume too much sugar, it can cause tooth decay or weight gain, so make sure to stay away from giving your cat milks or treats with added sugar.

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Two kittens drink from a saucer of milk on a hardwood floor.
Source: iStock

Can cats drink lactose-free milk?

Per the Texas-based Triangle Animal Clinic, lactose-free milk (which is cow's milk with the lactose enzyme removed) is "significantly safer" than dairy milk for cats. However, like with almond milk and oat milk, lactose-free milk is typically high in sugar and calories, making it another option that should only be given to your cat occasionally, if at all, per Paoli Vetcare.

That said, if you want to keep the environmental impact in mind, you'll want to stay away from animal products like cow's milks.

What can cats drink?

According to pet brand Uahpet, water is the most essential liquid to help cats ensure healthy functioning. If you have any concerns about your cats diet, make sure to check with your vet.

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