I mean, Tom and Jerry fought over it all the time, and more often than not, it ended up in Tom’s stomach. Plus, we’ve seen Garfield hundreds of times drooling over lasagna, which oozes cheese.
Well, I’m here to tell you neither Tom nor Garfield should’ve been eating cheese, and for all the right reasons.
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Can Cats Eat Cheese?
Dairy isn’t recommended for cats for a lot of reasons. They can eat it, but it’ll upset their stomachs, and that includes most common cheeses, including parmesan, cottage, feta, and blue cheese.
Cats are initially carnivores, which means their main diet consists of meat products. However, they get attracted to cheese because of its high protein content, and of course, its delicious taste.
The fact that they’re carnivores is the primary reason they shouldn’t eat cheese. Humans are omnivores, meaning they can eat anything. Their bodies produce a lactase enzyme that breaks down dairy products. Cats don’t have the same enzyme because their bodies aren’t designed to digest dairy.
As a result, cats are naturally lactose intolerant. They can show severe digestive issues when eating cheese or drinking milk, including diarrhea and vomiting.
Despite that, a lot of famous food brands include dairy in their cat food. It’s usually in small quantities, so it’s not too risky, but it’s better to avoid any dairy ingredients altogether.
Can Cats Eat Non-Dairy Cheese?
Cheese is bad for cats because it’s dairy, and they don’t have enzymes that break it down and digest it. So, that surely means they can eat non-dairy cheese, right?
Non-dairy cheese contains no lactose, and it’s created for lactose-intolerant humans. Sometimes, it even contains some enzymes to help the stomach break it down, but that doesn’t make it any better for cats than regular cheese.
All cheeses are full of fat, salt, and some spices for taste. Additionally, some cheeses contain garlic, which is toxic for cats. Before you offer your cat non-dairy cheese, make sure to read the label carefully to know about all the ingredients.
To be brief, cats can eat non-dairy cheese, but it’s still not the best diet option because it has a high fat and salt content.
Can Newborn Kittens Eat Cheese?
Newborn kittens can digest milk, and it doesn’t cause them discomfort as it does to older cats. Their bodies also produce more lactase enzymes, which should help them digest dairy products without an issue. Does that mean they can eat cheese?
Unfortunately, it’s still a no. The kittens’ bodies stop producing lactase enzymes once they start weaning. In other words, once they’re able to eat solid foods, their ability to digest dairy products is long gone. And that’s the only phase where they can even eat cheese, so the enzyme and the cheese won’t be in their body at once.
Not to mention, kittens' diet should be laid out carefully because they have more needs than older cats. Their bodies need to develop correctly, and they need to stay healthy to prevent hindering their growth. Therefore, feeding them something that may cause an upset stomach will inevitably affect their intestines.
There’s also one less common problem, which is underlying health conditions. If you’re feeding your kitten cheese regularly, and she starts developing stomach issues. You’ll blame it on the cheese, but it may be another underlying condition that needs immediate attention. The cheese will just mask the diagnosis, so it’s better to ditch it altogether.
Human Foods That Are Bad for Cats
Cheese isn’t the only human food that cats shouldn’t eat. There’s a multitude of other foods they shouldn’t touch. If you’re a beginner to the cat raising thing, it’s better to learn about all these foods to prevent unfortunate incidents.
Contrary to common belief, tuna shouldn’t be included in the cats’ regular diet. It’s been long believed that tuna is the main food for cats. That’s probably because of cartoons and shows we used to watch when we were younger.
As a matter of fact, tuna can be addicting for cats. If it’s a regular part of their diet, they’ll eventually be addicted to it, which will lead to eating unnecessary excess amounts. In turn, too much tuna can lead to mercury poisoning, so it’s a cycle that has an inevitable bad end.
You can feed your cat the occasional tuna piece for a treat, but try not to include it in her diet.
Onion and Garlic
Although no one will likely feed their cats onions or garlic, it’s essential to know why your cat shouldn’t eat them. Both veggies can cause cat anemia, whether they’re powdered, raw, or cooked.
They damage the cat’s red blood cells, which leads to vomiting, nausea, and abdominal pain. This goes for all members of the allium family, including chives and scallions.
Bear in mind to keep your onions and garlic where your cat can’t reach them. We all know cats are curious by nature, and they won’t hesitate to explore any food you leave on the counter.
Chocolate is the most famous human food that cats can’t eat. It’s not only unhealthy and too sugary for cats, but it’s fully toxic because it contains caffeine and theobromine. Both components are toxic to cats, and they cause a variety of poisoning symptoms.
Once cats eat chocolate, their body temperature will increase, and they’ll suffer diarrhea, vomiting, seizures, and rapid heart rate.
Needless to say, you need to hide any piece of chocolate you have from your fellow furry friend. In severe cases, some cases may enter a coma or encounter heart failure.
A lot of people use raisins as cat treats because they’re natural and sugary, so they’re like natural sweets. What most people don’t know is, raisins can cause kidney failure for cats and dogs.
They cause many symptoms, but the most common ones are hyperactivity and vomiting.
This goes for grapes as well.
Why Do Cats Like Eating Cheese?
A lot of people wonder why cats like eating cheese when their bodies can’t even digest it. Well, the answer is right in front of you. Why do humans like burgers? They’re greasy, fatty, and they cause weight gain. But? They’re so delicious!
Cats think the same of cheese. It tastes delicious and creamy, which is different from what they’re used to. On top of that, it has a high protein content, which their bodies desperately need.
It might not be the cheese itself your cat is craving, but she may be craving the fat and protein in it.
Can You Give Your Cat Cheese as a Treat?
Some pet owners use cheese as cat treats. You can do so too, but make sure to consult the vet first to make sure it’s okay. And always offer small amounts. A single cube will suffice; you can even use it to help your cat swallow a pill if she’s giving you a hard time. If you offer her more than that, you’ll be putting her at risk of digestive problems.
You may try a small piece at first and watch the cat’s reaction. If her body accepts the cheese without showing any changes, and the vet gives you the go-ahead, you can use cheese as a treat.
If you decide to do so, you’ll have to keep an eye out for any digestive issues or symptoms. In my opinion, it’s better to let her have other treats that aren’t risky, such as fruits or commercial treats.
What Types of Cheese Can You Use as a Treat?
If your cat loves cheese so much, and you have no option but to offer it as a treat, there are types that may be better than others. There are nearly 1800 types of cheese around the world, so surely there are a couple of types that are safe for cats.
I wouldn’t say ‘safe,’ but there are some types that are better than others. Here’s a short list of them.
Cheddar cheese doesn’t contain as much lactose as other cheeses do, so it may be a safe option to try as a treat. You can offer the cat one or two cubes and watch for her reaction. Bear in mind not to let her eat too much because cheddar has a high content of fat.
Do you know that yellow cheese in Tom and Jerry that looks delicious? Yes, that’s swiss cheese. It’s among the healthy cheese types because it’s low in fat and high in protein. Not to mention, it tastes pretty good in sandwiches.
The thing about swiss cheese is, it has low amounts of lactose, so it’s easier for cats to digest than other cheeses.
What Types of Cheese Should You Never Give Your Cat?
As there are some types of cheese that your cats can eat, there are some types that shouldn’t be considered. Here’s a roundup of the most common ones.
Have you ever been eating pizza with your cat staring at your hands, waiting for the right moment to jump? Well, I’m here to tell you that she’s probably craving the gooey cheese that’s oozing out of the pizza, not the sausage or the pepperoni on top of it.
Whatever happens, don’t give your cat mozzarella or any food that contains it. Mozzarella has a high content of fat and lactose, so it’s pretty much everything you don’t want to give your cat.
Blue cheese tastes good because of the mold in it. We know it, but we don’t say it out loud. Some molds, like Penicillium, can be toxic to cats. So, avoiding the cheese altogether is a wise decision. Your cat probably won’t even like its taste.
Brie is a soft type of cheese made of raw milk. We all know the risk of raw milk, but we still eat cheese because our bodies can handle it. In the case of cats, I can’t say the same. Raw milk may contain listeria and salmonella, which can cause serious illness with fatal consequences.
Cheese is bad for cats, including non-dairy cheese and low-fat cheese types. There are multiple other foods you can use as treats that aren’t as risky. Remember that your cat’s body isn’t designed to digest dairy and its products.