Many of us enjoy yogurt on a daily basis, and this versatile food is widely found in fridges across the UK. Whether it’s part of a balanced breakfast, a quick dessert, or a tasty snack during the day, yogurt comes in a great deal of flavours including plain, fruit, chocolate – the list goes on! It’s easy to see why this food is so popular amongst humans.
When we’re tucking into our deliciously creamy yogurts, it’s quite common for pet owners to slide the lid over to their furry friend to have a lick of, but is this safe? Can cats eat yogurt? Or are they best to stay away from it altogether? Find out all you need to know about cats and yogurts in this article.
Can cats eat yogurt?
Yes, cats can eat yogurt providing it’s plain and unsweetened. Although it’s true that many cats are lactose intolerant, the lactose that yogurt contains is actually easier for cats to break down, as the live bacteria within the yogurt can help your cat to break it down. However, as with other human foods, check with your vet before offering yogurt to your cat, and only ever give them small amounts of this dessert as a treat.
Can kittens eat yogurt?
It’s best to avoid giving kittens yogurt as, while they may love the taste of it, their stomachs are very sensitive and may react badly. Additionally, this creamy snack won’t be particularly beneficial for their health, so it’s best for them to stick to their mother’s milk, formula or – if they’ve been weaned – their complete and balanced kitten food.
Is yogurt good for cats?
Yogurt does have a high protein content, and it also contains calcium, vitamins B2 and B12, as well as minerals such as potassium and magnesium. But, with this being said, these are all things your cat will get from their complete and balanced diet anyway, so there’s no need to supplement your cat’s normal food with yogurt.
Yogurt also contains gut friendly bacteria, known as probiotics, which can help to aid the digestion process. However, if you’re looking to add a probiotic into your cat’s diet, it’s best to ask your vet to recommend a cat-specific probiotic oral supplement instead of yogurt, as this will be designed specifically for cats, meaning it is likely to have a much more beneficial effect. Many feline probiotic products have all of the good bacteria with much fewer calories, and no harmful added ingredients, meaning they’re much more suitable for your cat to have on a daily basis.
How to feed yogurt to your cat
If you want to offer your cat a bit of yogurt to see if they like it, it’s best to try a plain and unsweetened variety such as Greek yogurt. Avoid yogurts flavoured with fruits, as these will contain a lot of sugars, and some contain chocolate which is toxic to cats.
It’s also worth being aware that sometimes low-calorie yogurts may contain sugar substitutes such as xylitol which is highly poisonous to cats, so check the label carefully and it’s best to double-check that a human products are safe with your vet before ever offering them to your cat. Providing the yogurt is safe and free from toxic ingredients, you can offer your cat around one teaspoon to see if they like it. But it’s not a good idea to give your cat any more than this as it may cause stomach issues and diarrhoea if they have too much of it.
Remember that when giving your cat treats, follow the 10% rule, making sure that no more than 10% of their daily calorie intake comes from treats, with the other 90% coming from their complete and balanced cat food. It’s also worth considering treats that have been made specifically for cats, as these are normally safer for your feline, and there are even some healthy cat treats that can nutritionally benefit your cat.