We all want the best for our cats, and sometimes that means being curious about how human foods might benefit them. Yogurt, for example, seems like it could be a nutritious option. But can cats eat yogurt, and if so, is it actually good for them? This comprehensive guide will explore how yogurt may help—or harm—your cat and provide recommendations to ensure their health and happiness.
Can Cats Have Yogurt? Is it Good or Bad?
When your furry friend samples people food, it’s easy to panic! But plain yogurt can actually benefit cats in small, supervised amounts.
The probiotics in live yogurt help digest the lactose, minimizing tummy upset. Plus, yogurt offers nutrients like:
• Calcium for strong teeth & bones
• Magnesium for absorbing other vitamins
• Probiotics for digestive & immune health
Still, your kitty’s primary diet should consist of balanced, veterinarian-recommended cat food made just for her needs. Enjoyable as it is, yogurt treats should supplement – not replace – the healthy meals that keep your precious fur baby thriving.
While live yogurt cultures offer benefits, there are important considerations before feeding yogurt to cats:
• Flavored and sweetened varieties contain too much sugar for cats, increasing risks of weight gain, obesity and diabetes.
• As most cats are lactose intolerant without enough lactase, yogurt can cause gas, diarrhea and vomiting from difficulty digesting the lactose.
• Moldy or spoiled yogurt poses serious health risks as food poisoning can make cats severely ill. Always check “sniff test” freshness before sharing.
The Best and Worst Yogurts for Cats
For cats, the best yogurt choices are plain Greek yogurts without artificial sweeteners. These yogurts contain more protein and less sugar which is ideal for feline health. Flavored yogurts, on the other hand, should be avoided.
Good Yogurts options for cats:
•Plain Greek yogurt without preservatives: Higher in protein, lower in sugar and lactose. Look for plain with no additives.
Yogurts to avoid for cats:
•Flavored yogurts (strawberry, vanilla, blueberry, etc.): Contain added sugar, artificial sweeteners and flavorings which provide extra calories but no nutritional benefit for cats. The sugar may lead to obesity, diabetes or GI issues in excess.
•Non-fat or low-fat yogurts: Usually higher in sugar and lack the satiating and nutritious effects of full-fat dairy for cats.
•Yogurts with mix-ins (granola, candy, etc.): In addition to sugar and flavorings, these yogurts typically contain ingredients that are unsafe or lacking nutrition for cats.
How Much Yogurt Should I Give My Cat?
Plain yogurt can be a healthy snack option for many cats, but how much is safe to give and how often? According to veterinarians and pet experts, limit yogurt treats to no more than 1-2 tablespoons, 2-3 times per week for most average adult cats.
Giving too much could lead to nutritional imbalance or obesity, so yogurt should make up no more than 10% of your cat’s daily calories. Moderation is key to maximizing the benefits of yogurt while avoiding potential issues.
Can Kittens Eat Yogurt?
No recommended. A kitten’s stomach is sensitive, and their ability to fight infection is still developing. They have unique nutritional needs essential for growth and development. For optimal health, kittens should stick to a diet of kitten food, milk replacement or mother’s milk.
Do Cats Like Yogurt?
When it comes to cats and yogurt, the answer is usually – why not?! The smell of the protein-rich dairy tends to attract most cats’ attention. The creamy, mild flavor also sits well with many feline palates.
However, like people, cats all have their own unique tastes and preferences. While some cats dive right in and gobble up a bowl of yogurt, others turn up their whiskers at it.
My Cat Ate Yogurt, Is It OK?
Don’t panic just yet. While yogurt itself is safe for cats in moderation, you’ll want to keep an eye on precious Fluffy Kitty over the next few hours to make sure the ingredients in the yogurt don’t upset his tummy.
Keep an eye out for any diarrhea, vomiting, stomach gurgles or loss of appetite. Give him small meals if he seems hungry but stays picky about certain foods. Make sure he has fresh water, too.
If Fluffy Kitty seems back to his normal self after a day – chasing toy mice, snoozing in the sun, and purring loudly when you pet him – then the yogurt didn’t bother him. But if any symptoms continue, it may be best to call the vet, just to be safe! Your fluffy fur baby’s health comes first.
FAQs of yogurt for cats
At last, let’s briefly review some common questions regarding feeding yogurt to cats:
Q: Can cats eat frozen yogurt?
A: Frozen yogurt is high in sugar and lacks nutrition, making it an unhealthy choice for cats. The cold temperature can also upset their stomachs. Stick with plain, room temperature yogurt in small amounts as an occasional treat.
Q: Is Greek yogurt good for cats?
A: In tiny amounts and with close monitoring, plain Greek yogurt can benefit cats due to its higher protein, lower lactose and thicker consistency. But start slowly, watching for signs of intolerance, and only offer as an occasional supplement – not a replacement for your cat’s properly balanced primary diet.
Q: Can cats eat strawberry yogurt?
A: Strawberries themselves are safe for cats in moderation. But strawberry yogurt often has too much added sugar and lacks nutrients. Plus chemicals like dyes and preservatives in flavored yogurt can be harmful.
Q: Can cats eat blueberry yogurt?
A: Blueberry yogurt tends to have too much added sugar for cats. However, mashing a couple fresh blueberries into plain yogurt and offering that in tiny amounts can be a healthier, more balanced treat.
Q: Can cats have peach yogurt?
A: Peach yogurt often contains dyes, chemicals, excessive sugar and lacks nutrients – all of which can upset your kitty’s health.
Q: Can cats eat vanilla yogurt?
A: While vanilla itself is nontoxic, many cats dislike the flavor. More importantly, vanilla flavoring often contains ethanol which can be very toxic even in tiny amounts. We recommend avoiding all flavored yogurts for your cat.