Can Cats Eat Cheese?

A charcuterie board of cheese, olives and other items

Can Cats Eat Cheese?

Some cats love trying new things, referred to as being neophilia. At the same time, others like to live with what they have. Either way, cheese may be popular with some felines. But can cats eat cheese within their regular diet? Or is cheese bad for cats? Keep reading our article to find out what to do if your furry friend keeps asking you to share cheese with them.

Can cats eat cheese?

Cat’s love of milk is a very enduring myth – the popularity of pictures of cats pouring milk into a bowl on television are all big lies. However, adult cats are lactose intolerant. And some cats are more affected than others if they use milk products haphazardly.

So, can cats eat cheese? Not really. You must avoid feeding your cat any dairy products. Although some owners find cheese useful when giving hidden medicines, you should try an alternative like chicken breast.

Why is cheese considered bad for cats?

Adult cats cannot properly digest dairy products like cheese because they lack the enzymes that break down lactose. This means that eating cream, milk, or cheese can cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as constipation, diarrhoea, or vomiting. Cats are known as carnivores, which means that their development is mostly based on meat to grow and stay healthy.

[icon name=”info-circle” prefix=”fas fa-2x”] You may also be interested in our article on Can Cats Eat Raw Chicken

Why do cats like cheese?

If cats aren’t particularly good at digesting cheese, why do some cats still love it? Experts believe that the protein and fat content of cheese makes it a high-value food for some cats. It is not safe to think that a cat stop eating cheese if it makes him/her sick. Even if the cat has diarrhoea, sometimes they still keep eating. Besides, if your cat is provided with high-quality commercial food and that food is appropriately balanced, then they do not need to add other foods for nutritional benefits.

Can kittens eat cheese?

Kittens feed on mother’s milk until they are 9-10 weeks old, so you may be wondering if cheese is bad for kittens. Kittens have a better ability to digest milk than adult cats because they still have some enzymes that help them digest lactose in breast milk. However, at the beginning of the weaning process, this capacity begins to decline at about four weeks of age. This means that as long as they can eat solid foods like cheese, they will become lactose intolerant. If you are not sure what to give your kitten while feeding, contact your veterinarian.

Recently veterinary scientists discovered that giving a high amount of cheese in kittens or cats leads to elevated blood pressures and other cardiovascular problems.

Can cats have non-dairy cheese?

If dairy content/milk is the only problem in cheese, what about non-dairy vegan alternatives? Whether it’s a dairy product or not, the cheese is full of salt, fat, and even spices or extra ingredients like onions or garlic, which are toxic to felines. Make sure you read the complete food label before offering your cat a cube of cheese.

Can I give cheese to my cat as a treat?

Some owners allow their pet cats to have a cheesy treat from time to time, and when it comes to giving a pill to the cat, sometimes a lump of cheese comes in handy to make the medicine more comfortable for the pet. Always check with your vet-Doc to see if your pet’s medication is appropriate to take. Get some treatment for your cat before mealtimes.

If you haven’t observed any previous reactions and have decided to give cheese treat to your cat occasionally, give them only a minimal amount at the start. Be very sure to keep an eye out for any signs of discomfort, vomiting, or diarrhoea. Don’t forget that cats will enjoy the well-proportioned meaty treats even more, so the cheese can usually be substituted with a suitable alternative.

Can cats eat cheese? The answer is not straightforward. Cheese is not in the dangerous category of toxic or severely harmful foods to cats, but it is not the healthiest and most excellent option and can cause severe digestive problems.

Dairy intolerance and dairy allergies in cats:

Despite the long-standing myth that cats have nothing better than a bowl of milk or cream, most cats cannot digest milk or dairy products. The Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine insistence that many cats have lactose intolerance and may experience gastrointestinal problems, including constipation, diarrhoea, inflammation, and vomiting if they consume cheese or dairy products.

Australian scientists have proved that giving cheese to cats leads to obesity. This research study may help you in understanding this mechanism: “The influence of diet and other factors on owner-perceived obesity in privately owned cats from metropolitan Perth, Western Australia:

Cats with dairy allergies can also react badly to a small bite of cheese. (Generally, cats do not have many food allergies, but cheese, dairy products, fish, and red meat are more common.) Like lactose intolerant cats, if your cat has a dairy allergy, eating cheese can cause indigestion and affect their immune system.

The most common symptoms of your cat’s dairy allergy after using lactose products are as follows:

Itchy and red skin patches
Hair loss

If your cat shows this or any other unusual symptom, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible and schedule a checkup.

Types of Cheese: Bad vs Good

If you do sneak your cat a cheese treat, certain types may be better than others:

Swiss Cheese:

A favourite among our sandwich lovers. Swiss cheese is considered a healthy and beneficial cheese for humans because it is high in protein and low in sodium and fat. Like cheddar, it also has low levels of lactose but can still cause digestive problems.

Cheddar Cheese:

The most popular cheeses around is a semi-hard cheese which is high in lactose. Yet, this does not mean that your cat should eat large amounts of the cheddar, as it can cause stomach upset.

Brie Cheese:

A famous soft cheese, the brie is made from raw milk, which contains Salmonella species and Listeria species, which causes severe illness. Other natural soft dairy cheeses to avoid are blue cheese and camembert.

Blue Cheese:

Do you know what makes cheese blue? The answer is Mold. This type of cheese, e.g., Stilton, is made with moulded penicillin cultures, which can be toxic to pets. For this reason, do not feed your cat with mouldy cheeses.

Mozzarella Cheese:

A lot of pet parents have caught their furry feline friends pushing their heads into a pizza box, but is all this gooey cheese good for your cat? Not so much. Whether raw or cooked, soft pans like mozzarella are a health hazard for cats because they are very high in lactose. Cream cheese and cottage cheese pose similar risks and should be avoided.


Rochelle is a self-claimed crazy cat lady and proud cat mum to Owlie! She has owned, rescued, and fostered cats throughout her whole life. Rochelle created Cats On My Mind as a hub for likeminded cat parents to get all the information they will ever need to give their fur babies their best life!

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