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Can cats eat yogurt?

The essentials

  • If you’re offering yogurt, do it safely Feeding your cat yogurt won’t hurt them, but make sure to avoid anything with added sugar, flavors, or artificial sweeteners.
  • Greek yogurt is generally safe for adult cats — As long as it’s unflavored, adult cats can eat Greek yogurt safely. Kittens shouldn’t have yogurt, however, as it can cause digestive issues.
  • Many adult cats are actually lactose intolerant — Warm milk might be OK for kittens, but many adult cat stomachs can’t handle milk as they age.

Can cats eat yogurt? The short answer is yes, in some cases. While many cats are actually lactose intolerant, the friendly, natural bacteria present in yogurt can help them digest lactose more easily. 

Any yogurt you give your cat should be plain and unsweetened. Due to its high protein, low-fat composition, and its clean ingredients list, plain Greek yogurt is typically the best choice for your feline friend. Let’s dive deeper into the potential health benefits of yogurt for your cat, and how to safely incorporate it into a balanced diet.

Is yogurt good for cats?

Yogurt, particularly the plain and unsweetened kind, can be a valuable addition to your cat’s diet when given in moderation. 

Here are some potential benefits of feeding unsweetened, plain yogurt to your cat:

  • Vitamins and minerals. Yogurt is a source of essential nutrients like vitamin A, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, which play a vital role in maintaining your cat’s overall health.
  • Strengthened immune system. The probiotics in yogurt can help to bolster your cat’s immune system, making them more resistant to various diseases.
  • Reduced allergies. Some studies suggest that probiotics may help reduce allergic reactions in cats.
  • Digestive health. Probiotic-rich yogurt can aid in promoting digestion, easing diarrhea and digestive upset. 

While yogurt can offer these benefits, it’s essential to remember that kittens should not be given yogurt. Their young stomachs are more sensitive and may react adversely to it. They also don’t derive many nutritional benefits from yogurt, as adult cats would. 

👉 Kittens get their necessary nutrients from their mother’s milk or specially formulated kitten milk.

How to feed your cat yogurt

Yogurt can be a tasty, safe treat for your cat, but it’s important to introduce it correctly. For the first time, at least, cat parents should start with a very small amount. Here are some other key points to consider when feeding yogurt to your feline friend.

Limit the serving size

Cats should only consume yogurt in moderation. It should not make up more than 10% of their daily calories. Beyond the risk of obesity from overfeeding, yogurt can lead to digestive issues due to its lactose content — even though yogurt is easier to digest than other dairy products.

Check for additives

Always opt for plain, unsweetened yogurt. Many flavored types of yogurt contain extra ingredients like additives, artificial sweeteners, or high levels of sugar, which can cause toxic reactions in your cat.

Introduce it gradually

When introducing yogurt to your cat’s diet, start slowly. Begin with small amounts to monitor for any possible symptoms of an allergic reaction. If they show signs of discomfort or possible lactose sensitivities, discontinue immediately.

Kittens and yogurt

While adult cats can usually handle small amounts of yogurt, kittens might not tolerate it as well. Their digestive systems are still developing and might not handle the lactose present in yogurt.

Choose the right type

Greek yogurt can be a good yogurt of choice for cats, as it’s lower in lactose and higher in protein compared to regular yogurt. However, like any yogurt, it should be plain and unsweetened. Always read the ingredients list before splitting your bowl with your furry friend.

Potential side effects and concerns of feeding your cat yogurt

Although it is generally believed that things like milk, cream, and other dairy products are a great treat for cats, not all cats will respond to yogurt in the same way. Let’s look at some of the main concerns associated with feeding cats yogurt.  

Lactose intolerance in cats

Many cats are lactose intolerant, meaning they lack the enzyme needed to break down lactose found in dairy products like yogurt. This intolerance can lead to gastrointestinal upset. 

Symptoms of lactose intolerance in cats can include:

🚨 If you notice any of these symptoms after feeding your cat yogurt, it’s best to discontinue its use and consult with your veterinarian.

Obesity and overfeeding

Yogurt, particularly Greek yogurt, is high in protein and may be high in fat. Feeding too much yogurt to your cat can contribute to weight gain and obesity, which can lead to other health problems — such as diabetes and heart disease.

Other health concerns

Cats should never consume yogurt that contains toxic ingredients like chocolate. Additionally, flavored yogurts often contain high levels of sugar and artificial sweeteners, which can be harmful to cats.

Other healthy, vet-approved snacks for cats

Before sharing any human food with your cats, it’s best to check to see if it’s safe for them to eat (and also if there are any benefits for them to enjoy!)

Dr. Ernie Ward confirms that yogurt can indeed be good for cats, particularly due to the probiotics that aid in digestion. However, yogurt isn’t the only beneficial human food that cat owners can share with their pets.

Here’s a handy chart to help you determine which common people foods are “safe” and which options should be avoided when treating your cat.

Safe foods for cats Foods to avoid
Blueberries Chocolate
Peas Grapes and raisins
Squash Onions
Eggs Garlic
Carrots Alcohol
Oatmeal Caffeine

While yogurt and other human foods can add variety to your kitty’s diet, they should never replace a balanced, cat-specific diet. It’s a good idea to introduce new food gradually, observe your cat’s reaction, and consult with your vet if you notice any adverse effects, like GI upset. 

Prioritizing your cat’s health over an occasional treat is one of the best ways to help them live their happiest, healthiest lives.

Frequently asked questions

What human foods can cats eat?

Cats can safely enjoy certain human foods in moderation. Some examples of safe foods include blueberries, peas, squash, eggs, carrots, and oatmeal. Always remember to introduce new food slowly at first, watching for any adverse reactions.

Is it safe for cats to eat yogurt?

Yes, most cats can safely eat small quantities of plain, unsweetened yogurt. Plain Greek yogurt is typically best for your feline. 

Despite this, some lactose-intolerant cats could experience gastrointestinal upset. If you notice signs of discomfort in your cat after feeding them yogurt, it’s best to stop offering the yogurt and consult with your cat’s vet.

Why are cats obsessed with yogurt?

Cats are often attracted to the creamy texture and taste of yogurt. Plus, yogurt can be a source of probiotics, which help promote healthy digestion. 

What kinds of yogurt can cats have?

Cats should only have plain, unsweetened yogurt. Flavored yogurts often contain high levels of sugar and artificial sweeteners, which can be toxic to your cat. It’s also important to avoid yogurts with toxic ingredients, like chocolate.

Can I give my cat yogurt for constipation?

While yogurt can provide good bacteria that aid in digestion, it’s not a reliable treatment for constipation in cats. If your cat is experiencing constipation, it’s best to consult with your vet for appropriate treatment options.