is cheese safe for cats

Find food that fits your pet’s needs

Here’s the lowdown on whether cats and cheese go well together. The faintest crinkle on a cheese wrapper can send cats racing into the kitchen in pursuit of the salty treat.

Cats and Cheese: Is It OK?

Experts say that cats can eat cheese, but only in small amounts. If you do give your cat cheese at all, give it to them in tiny doses, about the size of a dice, once in a while. For instance, you may decide to only give your cat cheese when it’s necessary to conceal a medication for them.

However, even though many cats can handle small amounts of cheese, if your cat has a milk allergy or is lactose intolerant, even a small amount of cheese could seriously harm their digestive system.

Help us make PetMD better

Was this article helpful?

Dairy Intolerance and Dairy Allergy in Cats

Despite the long-standing myth that cats love nothing better than a bowl of milk or cream, most cats cant digest dairy. The Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine emphasizes that many cats are lactose intolerant and can experience gastrointestinal problems, including inflammation, diarrhea, constipation and vomiting, if they consume dairy.

Even a tiny bit of cheese may cause severe reactions in cats who are allergic to dairy products. (In general, cats don’t have many dietary allergies, but dairy, fish, and red meat are the more prevalent ones.) Similar to cats who are lactose intolerant, consuming cheese if your cat is allergic to dairy products may cause digestive problems or even compromise their immune system.

After ingesting lactose products, your cat may exhibit the following symptoms, which are indicative of a dairy allergy:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Itchy and/or red skin patches
  • Hair loss

Make an appointment for a check-up with your cat’s veterinarian as soon as possible if they exhibit these or any other strange symptoms.