A Comprehensive Guide: Can Cats Eat Cheese?

can cats eat cheese

Cheese seems irresistible to cats. Some love to sniff around cheese, and some even act faster when you touch the cheese wrapper than when you crack open the wet food. But can cats eat cheese?

It’s a great question to ask before sharing your pasta. And this article is here to help.

Let’s start.

Can Cats Eat Cheese?

Can cats eat cheese? A simple answer to this is yes, cats can eat cheese. But you should follow some guidelines, for example, moderation and small portions. Also, some varieties are better than others (which I’ll explain below).

Can kittens eat cheese?

Kittens can eat cheese as well. And those owned by kittens could worry even less. Why? Though we may know that most cats are lactose intolerant, it is not the same case for young kittens. A kitten‘s body can produce lactase, an enzyme that helps digest the lactose in a mother cat’s milk. But be alert! Lactase production slows once a kitten starts weaning.

Is Cheese Bad for Cats?

The cheese is not toxic to cats. Our four-legged friend needs food that is high in protein, moderate in fat, and low in carbs. When looking at the product label, you would notice that cheese is indeed high in protein and calcium, and it is a low-carb treat.

But there would be concerns too:

  • High in calories: high-calorie food is a good option for young kittens and some underweight ones. However, cheese can be too much. 1-ounce of cheddar cheese for a cat is like a man having two and a half cheeseburgers! So, do limit the amount and frequency.
  • Lactose intolerant: Like we said before, a majority of cats simply cannot digest milk, the star ingredient of cheese, and they could experience different digestive issues, including inflammation, diarrhea, constipation, and vomiting.
  • Food allergy: Diary product is one of the most common allergens for our feline friends. After being given dairy food, they might vomit, have diarrhea, or gas, get itchy skin, or even lose hair.
  • Salty: Sodium is an essential mineral for all beings, including cats. However, over-consumption of salty food can lead to strange cat behaviors, dehydration, and even sodium poisoning.

Take your cats to the vet immediately once you notice these signs after sharing cheese with them.

What Cheese Can Cats Eat?

Let’s be honest, you just cannot always say no to your cats, especially when looking into their eyes. If you can’t help yourself and sneak them a cheesy snack once in a while, choose firm cheeses. They are free from additives. Below are some of these varieties:

  • Cheddar: As one of the most popular cheeses, cheddar is semi-hard cheese and doesn’t contain much lactose.
  • Swiss: Swiss cheese is high in protein and low in sodium and fat. Similar to cheddar, it has low amounts of lactose.
  • Parmesan: Cats can consume parmesan cheese, but only as an infrequent treat. It’s relatively high in fat and salt.
  • Provolone: While being made from cows’ milk, it is still one of the lower lactose varieties of cheese.
  • Gouda: Firm and low in lactose, Gouda can be better tolerated than some other cheese varieties.

But please bear in mind that cheese is still not an essential part of a cat’s diet. Feed them sparingly and with caution.

What Cheese Should Cats Avoid?

Softer cheeses should be avoided, as they are much higher in lactose. So, stay away from:

  • Cream cheese: Cream cheese has more lactose than many other varieties and is likely to trigger vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Cottage cheese: Just like cream cheese, cottage cheese is relatively high in lactose and may cause gastrointestinal problems.
  • Mozzarella: Mozzarella, whether raw or cooked, is likely to upset the sensitive stomach.
  • Brie: Brie is made with raw milk, which may contain Salmonella and Listeria. They are pathogens that cause serious illness.
  • Blue cheese: Though blue cheese is low in lactose, it’s still high in fat and contains mold, which can be toxic to cats. Plus, blue cheeses are often salty.
  • Camembert: Camembert may be low in lactose, but it has a high-fat content and salt content.
  • American cheese: American cheese is a processed food that’s very high in carbohydrates. Cats should stay clear of it.

My Cat Ate Cheese. What Should I Do?

Although cheese is not an ideal food for our furry friends, don’t panic when you find them have just eaten some. Normally, they will be just fine.

Rather than rushing into your vet, you’d better keep an eye on their health and behaviors to notice any changes. If they behave strangely or become unwell, go give your vet a call and let them know what’s wrong and give your advice.

Say Cheese

Now you should have a comprehensive understanding of the question – can cats eat cheese?

Yes, they can eat. But you should be cautious and only feed them in small quantities and once or twice a week at most.

Remember to choose hard cheese over soft ones. Always keep an eye on your kitty for a few days to make sure that no issues develop.

FAQs

When you should never feed your cats cheese?

When should you never feed your cats cheese? According to the Cummings Veterinary Medical Center at Tufts University, you should avoid giving your cat cheese if they need to lower their sodium intake and/or if they have a heart condition.

Can cats have milk?

Surprisingly, cow’s milk is not a good snack for cats because it contains lactose, which cats’ bodies struggle to process. Stick to clean, fresh water.

Can cats have cheesecake?

It’s better to avoid feeding cheesecake to your cat. Cheesecake is high in fat, lactose, and sugar, plus chocolate or sugar-free varieties may even be poisonous.

Can cats eat pizza?

Pizza is on the no-no list for our cats. Pizza is high in fat, salt, and carbs and may contain other toxic foods like garlic and onion powder when cooked with processed sauces.

Rainie

Rainie

As an English major graduate, Rainie seamlessly merges her love for writing with her passion for cats. As the proud owner of two cats, Ham and Tata, she delights in everything feline. She skillfully combines her academic background and personal interests, crafting engaging content that resonates with all cat lovers. Follow her on Facebook.
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