Do cats eat cheese?

“Hunger strike” is not on the dictionary of cats. No cat or any other animal for that matter would intentionally starve themselves. However, a cat with an underlying health concern or one that is recovering from an illness may totally turn away from food. Cat parents would therefore entice the pet to eat by giving tasty human foods instead of its usual dry or wet pet food. One of the treats given to cats is cheese. Do cats really eat cheese? Cheese is a human food identified with the cat’s favorite prey, the mouse. However, cats are known to eat cheese too.

Cheese is a milk based product produced all over the world. This food is a mainstay in almost all household’s pantry. Because of the pet parents’ habit of sharing human food to the pets, dogs and cats develop a taste for cheese. Cheese is a good source of protein and fat. This milk product is valued for its high calcium and phosphorous content. Generally, cats love eating cheese. This human food is also commonly used by cat owners in medicating the pet. Giving pills to the pet can be a nightmare as it is common for cat to put up a good struggle. Giving pills to the pet would be easier if the pill is wrapped in a piece of gooey cheese. The cat would easily gulp down the lump of cheese with the pill inside. The pet parent simply needs to make sure that the pill is fully hidden by the cheese.

Most cats are lactose intolerant. Cats do not produce the enzyme lactase. Lactase aids in the digestion of lactose, the sugar found in milk. Lactose activity allows kittens to nurse from the queen and to fully digest the milk. However, the production of lactase wanes to about 10 % when the kittens are weaned. Cats that have consumed amounts of milk that can no longer be digested will suffer from diarrhea. Some cats would have vomiting bouts too. Milk is highly nutritious because of its high protein and calcium content. Cats that can tolerate milk would greatly benefit for this human food.

Cheese is a derived from milk. Aware of the unwanted effects of lactose intolerance on the pet, cat parents would totally prevent the cat from eating cheese. However, cats can safely eat cheese because bacterial action during the production of this dairy product has practically removed all the lactose contained by the milk. Cheddar, a type of ripened cheese has only 5% of the lactose commonly contained by milk. Lactose is almost totally removed from aged cheese. Cats therefore can be allowed to eat ripened and aged cheese. However, too much of this treat would have an unwanted effect on the pet…obesity. We know that a number of health concerns are linked to the cat’s obesity. A cat that loves cheese so much would keep on yowling. Would you or would you not give in to the cat’s demand?

Pet parents have spoiled the pets rotten. Most pet parents would not be able to say no to the demands of the pet. However, the unwanted effects of allowing the pet to eat large amounts of cheese or any other kind of human food must be considered. Bits of cheese can be given to the pet as a treat or as a training incentive. A pet that keeps asking for more can be given other cat treats. The pet can also be distracted with toys.