Do you drink coconut milk or use it in your drink or cooking recipes? Have you heard that some people consider coconut milk to be a “health food?” Do you wonder if coconut milk would be a healthy addition to your cat’s diet?
I always keep my eyes open for things that could make my cats happier or healthier. The American Heart Association cites a report that states as much as 72% of the public believes the coconut oil in coconut milk is healthy. But, even if coconut milk might be good for humans, can cats drink coconut milk?
In this article we’ll cover the following;
Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning wild felids, by necessity, derive virtually all of their nutrition from eating meat, many cats love to sample food or drinks left lying around by their owners. And, as the video below shows, some cats really like the taste of coconut.
The short answer to this question is that there is not a lot of research on whether coconut milk is healthy for cats to drink. Most studies looking at both milk and coconut milk and health focus on human nutrition.
What we do know is that coconut milk is extremely high in fat, and most of this is saturated fat. There is some controversy over whether the medium chain fatty acid found in coconut milk is as bad for humans as other long chain saturated fats. Most nutritionists, though, discourage people from consuming coconut milk and a review of nutritional studies involving coconut oil suggests humans would be healthier replacing coconut oil in their diet with unsaturated fats.
Cats, however, process fat differently than humans.
Cats can enjoy a diet proportionately higher in lipids, including saturated fats, without any negative effects. The main problem with cats eating foods high in fats is that they may consume too many calories and could become overweight.
Coconut milk is also said to have a laxative effect. This is because coconut milk is high in fiber. Cats, however, don’t need fiber in their diets.
It seems pretty clear that drinking small amounts of coconut milk is not likely to cause ill effects in your cat. However, consuming coconut milk often, or in large quantities, could significantly increase the chance of your cat becoming overweight or obese.
In the short term, coconut milk can have a laxative effect. This could lead to loose stools and make cleaning the litter box an even less desirable chore.
Kittens may be little cats, but they tend to be even more susceptible than adult cats to many things in the environment. Kittens drinking coconut milk could be even more sensitive to the laxative effects of coconut milk, possibly leading to diarrhea and a trip to the vet. Kittens are better off never drinking coconut milk, even in small amounts. Since kittens can overeat already, it’s best to not encourage them to eat more than they actually need.
Cats that regularly drink coconut milk are at risk of weight gain. Obesity in cats has been linked to a number of significant negative health effects including:
Additionally, the laxative effect of coconut milk could cause your cat to have loose stools, which is uncomfortable for them and, ultimately, a mess for you. Beyond that, this could also lead to dehydration in extreme cases and case your cat to suffer even more greatly.
One alternative to letting your cat have coconut milk is to feed her a cat food infused with coconut milk. These cat foods don’t always suit every kitty’s taste, but if your cat is coconut milk crazy, why not give it a try?
Beyond that, you could also try something like Cat Sip. Though this isn’t a coconut flavored milk, it is pre-treated with lactase to help with digestion and is a nice little treat for your cat.
Many people drink coconut milk, and some people even consider it to be a health food. However, coconut milk is not required in your cat’s diet, and drinking too much can lead to weight gain, loose stools, and possibly dehydration. If your cat enjoys the flavor of coconut milk, why not treat them to a coconut infused cat food or something like Cat Sip instead?
Something else people may wonder about is if cats can drink almond milk, which you can check out here.
Do you have a furry friend who enjoys the taste of coconut? Have you had experience with your cat trying coconut milk infused cat food, and did they like it? Please tell us in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you.
Phil’s lifelong love of animals began as a young boy growing up with three pet dogs. As a teenager and young adult, Phil spent six years working as a veterinary technician, later earning a B.S. in Animal Science. After college, Phil continued working as a vet tech part-time while caring for a private collection of mountain lions used in wildlife educational programs. During this time, Phil volunteered at the Dallas Zoo and was eventually offered a position as a zookeeper in the zoo’s naturalistic Wilds of Africa area. Phil became the primary keeper for a black leopard named “Grady” and a caracal named “Tut” in the predator/prey exhibit.