Cats and Cream Cheese: A Guide for Responsible Cat Owners

cream cheese on a bagel

Cats have a knack for begging, especially when it comes to food. But what should you do when your feline friend sets his sights on your cream cheese? While it may be tempting to give in to those pleading eyes, it’s important to understand that cream cheese is not a suitable treat for cats. In fact, it can cause serious gastrointestinal problems. In this article, we’ll delve into the reasons why cream cheese is not recommended for cats and what to do if your cat manages to steal a bite.

Why Is Cream Cheese Not Recommended for Cats?

Cream cheese is made from a combination of cream and milk, making it high in lactose and fat. However, cats are lactose intolerant, meaning they lack the necessary enzymes to break down lactose. Ingesting lactose can lead to unpleasant side effects such as vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, and abdominal pain. Therefore, it’s best to keep products containing lactose away from your cat’s reach.

bowl of sour cream on white wooden table
Image Credit: MaraZe, Shutterstock

Why Milk (& Other Dairy Products) Are Difficult for Cats to Process

The idea that cats love milk is a common misconception. While some cats may enjoy milk, many are, in fact, lactose intolerant. Kittens can tolerate their mother’s milk because they produce an enzyme called lactase, which helps break down lactose. However, as cats grow older, their bodies produce less lactase, making it harder to digest milk and other dairy products. This can lead to cramps and gastrointestinal distress.

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Does Milk Cause Worms in Kittens?

There is a widespread belief that milk can cause worms in kittens. However, this is nothing more than a myth. There is no scientific evidence to support the notion that milk leads to worm infestations in kittens. Infections usually occur when kittens have weaker immune systems, making them more susceptible to parasites. So, while it’s essential to be cautious about your kitten’s diet, milk itself is not to blame.

kitten drinking milk from a bottle
Image Credit: KayaMe, Shutterstock

What to Do if Your Cat Has Eaten Cream Cheese

If your cat manages to sneak a bite of cream cheese, there’s no need to panic. In most cases, your cat will experience tummy cramping and digestive upset, resulting in vomiting or diarrhea. However, these symptoms should subside on their own, and your cat will likely be just fine. However, if your cat’s diarrhea persists or is accompanied by other signs like weakness, lack of appetite, fever, dehydration, or bloody stools, it’s essential to contact your vet immediately.

Be Wary of Other Ingredients in Cream Cheese

While plain cream cheese may not cause many issues, it’s crucial to be cautious of cream cheeses with other ingredients. Onions, garlic, leeks, and chives are highly toxic to cats and should be kept far away from them. Ingesting these ingredients can lead to severe gastroenteritis, causing nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal discomfort. In some cases, it can even damage a cat’s red blood cells, leading to anemia and potentially death. Chocolate is another ingredient to watch out for, as it is also toxic to cats.

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onion and garlic
Image Credit: Monika, Pixabay

Final Thoughts

Cream cheese may be a tasty treat for humans, but it is not a suitable choice for cats. Most cats are lactose intolerant, making cream cheese a potential cause of gastrointestinal distress. Additionally, cream cheeses with ingredients like onions, garlic, or chocolate are highly toxic to cats and should be avoided at all costs. If you suspect that your cat has consumed something harmful, don’t hesitate to contact your vet. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your furry friend’s health.

For more information on responsible cat ownership and pet care tips, visit Katten TrimSalon.

See also:

  • Can Cats Drink Sparkling Water?
  • Can Cats Eat Pizza?

Featured Image Credit: Brent Hofacker, Shutterstock