Cats are furious yet cute animals. The people who love cats as pets know this thing that cats could be very moody on some days, and they could be friendly the other. Cats are liked by half of the world population, the other half like dogs. Cats and dogs give a tough competition to each other in terms of which one is a better pet. There is no debate that as a dog, they have their charm and perks, whereas cats have their own. Both are equally loved, and there is no doubt about it. As we speak of cats, their diet should be appropriately maintained by the owner as pets need care and affection, especially regarding their food.
Garfield and Tom are two of the most famous and loved cartoon characters. We all grew up seeing them on our television screens. They both are cats. It means cats are somehow part of our living and are closely associated with human beings. Their dreamy eyes can make us fall in love with them. The cute activities and their mood swings make them not less than actors. They grab everyone’s attention and make you notice their every move keenly.
A little Background
Cats belong to the family of lions. Yes, they are mammals and are carnivorous. Carnivores are those animals that eat flesh, muscles, tissues, and skin of other animals. It means they capture their prey and eat it. There are different kinds of this creature. Every kind is distinct to others in terms of characteristics and behavior. Their eyes and fur color vary. Some of the cats are considered more friendly than other types.
They have sharp canine teeth which help them to capture and tear the flesh of animal meat. Sometimes, they can also be given vegetables and fruits, but cats generally do not like to eat them. Cheese and other foodstuffs can be given as snacks or treated to them in a less amount. Who does not need a snack? Everybody does. Cheese is like fast food to cats. We can offer them a slice or two but keep it in control as an excess of things is terrible.
Is it okay to serve cheese to cats?
Garfield, the cat who loved lasagna loaded with cheese, seems okay on the television. But is it safe for cats to eat cheese? Let us dig into the topic and discover it in detail.
Cats, being carnivorous, eat meat. But we have seen that they like to drink milk as well. We often serve our cats with a bowl of fresh milk, and our cute little friends gulp it right away. Cheese is full of protein, and fat content means it contains quite a tremendous amount of energy. Cats are small in size generally, and so are their stomachs. The digestive system of cats is complicated and delicate. The cheese is not suitable for them. Yeah, you can give them cheese once or twice in a six-month duration, but it should not be part of their daily meal. So, we can say that it is okay to give them cheese but in a limited amount. Cats do not know what is right for them and what is wrong to eat. It is entirely upon us what we are feeding them. So, if you have taken responsibility, you must do your best to keep things in order.
Why is cheese bad for cats?
Intolerance of dairy products by the digestive system
Cheese is a dairy product. It has a lot of fat and protein in it. Cats are not only carnivorous but obligate carnivorous. It means they can get essential food nutrients from meat exclusively. Human beings consume milk and milk products much quickly because they can produce enzyme lactase in their body. Lactase is necessary for lactose digestion, milk protein present in all dairy items. Cats lack this enzyme in their stomach and consequently are unable to digest milk and its products, including cheese. Therefore, most cats are allergic to dairy products as their digestive system cannot properly digest them.
Consuming too much cheese daily upsets a cat’s stomach, leading to different gastrointestinal diseases. These diseases include diarrhea, vomiting, inflammation, hair loss, gas, and constipation.
Obesity and weight gain
The other reason why you should not incorporate cheese in a cat’s diet is that it contains fat content in an excessive amount. Pets are physically less involved in walking and other activities. They usually stay indoors playing with you or sleeping in a corner. Being less physically active and consuming cheese makes them obese. Their body would gain weight, and it results in a shorter life span. Their life expectancy becomes low as they become obese. Once they become obese, it becomes challenging to make them come back to their original state. It is a problem seen on a large scale with domesticated animals and needed to be addressed.
Too many calories
Keep an eye on the diet of cats. Focus on their calorie gains daily. It is suggested that cats should consume 90% of the calories through meat, and only 8-10% should be covered with treats. Cheese, being highly energetic food, upsets this balance. In a survey, it is estimated that for a cat weighing 10 pounds, a single slice of cheese is equivalent to a man having two cheeseburgers. This is an insane amount of energy for such a little animal having sensitive internal organs.
Good cheese Vs. Bad cheese
Cheese can be given to cats as treats. For treats too, there is a limit of how much you are giving, and which type you are giving. Some varieties of cheese work best as treats for cats as compared to other cheese kinds such as:
- Swiss: It is seen that Swiss contains less lactose means its dairy content is less comparatively. It also has a low percentage of sodium in it. Sodium, being salt, causes cardiovascular diseases if consumed in large quantities. It means swiss cheese is a better option to offer to your cats for their snack time.
- Cheddar: Cheddar cheese is yummy, and the best part is that it also contains a low lactose portion in it. This makes it an excellent snack for our feline as cats generally love the taste of cheese just like humans; I mean, who does not?
- Mozzarella: This cheese makes your pizza gooey and creamy. We have seen cats sneaking into our pizza boxes often, but the cheese layers are harmful to cats. Mozzarella contains high lactose in it, making itself a villain for a cat’s health. A big no when it comes to giving mozzarella cheese to cats.
- Blue cheese: A mold, Penicillium, makes its blue cheese, as the name indicates, blue cheese. These molds and fungi produce metabolites which could prove toxic to cats. Blue cheese, a No for cats. Do not think of giving blue cheese snacks to cats as it contains grown mold cultures in it.
- Brie: Brie is eaten in many countries and is among the most lovable cheese in some areas. Two bacteria, Listeria and Salmonella, produce it. Salmonella is the same bacteria that comes out when you defrost the meat from your fridge. It is a pathogen that causes disease. Make your cats stay away from brie as it is toxic for them.
What if cats overeat cheese?
Severe infections and gastrointestinal diseases can be caused, making your cat sick. If they show lousiness and if their bowel is not looking okay to you, rush to the nearest veterinary hospital. Tell the vet about the cat’s eating history and let the vet do his/her job. Follow the prescriptions and take extra care of your cat.
Go easy on your cats. They love treats, cheese being their favorite. Feed them occasionally with it. Make them happy and cheery. The way to their longer life and activeness is their happiness. The reason for your happiness on your dark days might be your cats. So, if they are happy and playful, you will be happy to see them. It is like give and take, give them an extra dose of love and food, they will resultantly give you peace of mind.
Cats are delicate and moody animals. They bribe you with their cute activities and dreamy eyes. Everyone loves them, and that is why their diet should be taken care of. Give them healthy fresh meat and avoid giving them extra stuff. You can make them eat snacks from time to time, including cheese and fruits but do not make them compulsory. It is harmful to them if they consume it in excess. Cheese causes various gastrointestinal diseases if eaten in a little more than the suggested amount. If your cat’s digestive system Is not okay, you should take it to the vet. Make sure to check its diet and follow the instructions given by the doctor. It is your responsibility to take care of your pets by loving them, playing with them, and giving them healthy food to eat.