a maine coon kitten next to some milk

Can Maine Coons Be Given Milk Or Cream?

Starting with cartoons the image of a cat needing milk to drink is ingrained into the psyche.

A saucer of milk is almost as synonymous as a cat being afraid of dogs.

Maine Coons love dogs, so is feeding milk to a cat a myth?

Can a Maine Coon be given regular milk or cream?

A Maine Coon does not have the lactase enzyme in the intestines to break down the lactose in milk. Regular cow’s milk in the diet can upset their stomach, cause diarrhea, and even make them vomit. A little bit of milk is OK, but it’s better to control the amount.

As strange as it seems if you are used to the imagery of cats with milk saucers, your Maine Coon does not need to drink milk.

The imagery is so strong that lots of people actually assume that there are vitamins in milk that your cat will need.

This just isn’t the case.

In some individual cats, there may be some evidence that milk could actually harm your Maine Coon.

Cats lack the enzymes to break down lactose within cow’s milk which may lead to diarrhea.

Notwithstanding the fact that a Maine Coon kitten will feed off their mother’s milk for the first 12 weeks, basically until their teeth develop.

Once a Maine Coon kitten gets its teeth, they wean off mother milk to eat solid food.

You don’t need to replace the mother’s milk with cow’s milk.

a maine coon next to some milk

Is It OK To Feed My Maine Coon Milk?

If you are giving your Maine Coon a balanced, healthy, and nutritious diet, then there is little benefit to giving them milk.

Kittens should start weaning off their mother’s milk at a few months old and switch to eating wet and dry cat food and drinking water.

Make sure the food is protein rich.

Cow’s milk to a Maine Coon is OK in moderation but regular saucers full can cause digestive problems because they can’t break down the lactose.

One of the most common causes of digestive issues in cats is their inability to digest lactose.

Humans have lactase which breaks down lactose making milk safe for you to drink.

Your Maine Coon may not possess lactase in its digestive systems

Excessive milk within your Maine Coon can cause stomach issues, diarrhea, and vomiting if they are extremely intolerant.

Not every cat will do this, especially if it’s only a small bit of milk, but if your Maine Coon has these problems, it could be you giving them cow’s milk.

Cow’s milk also contains a bit of fat, which is unhealthy, but not poisonous to your cat.

Excessive milk drinking can cause your Maine Coon to gain weight, as it unbalances their healthy diet.

Not all Maine Coons will develop a lactose intolerance so you need to gauge how your cat responds to milk.

a maine coon waiting for some milk

Can I Give Cream To My Maine Coon?

Sitting right atop of milk is that delicious cream.

Cat’s seem to like milk, but they LOVE cream.

A newborn kitten will produce the enzymes for breaking down milk but loses the ability as their teeth develop.

Thus some kittens will develop intolerance, but some won’t. Some never will.

So from birth, your Maine Coon kitten will love cream, but the intolerance could become apparent at any point.

So, if you are worried about giving your Maine Coon milk then cream is much higher in lactose,

The other problem with cream is it is very fatty, and thus high in calories.

An indoor Maine Coon or an inactive one can put on weight pretty quickly with cream.

A rule of thumb for a Maine Coon is 30 calories, per pound, per day.

Slightly less for less active Maine Coon, and slightly more for those that run and wander about all the time.

Cream can be around 50 calories per tablespoon, so a few tablespoons could be a third of your cat’s calorie needs for the day.

For example, Alita my Maine Coon is 3.5kg (8lbs)

That should be 240 calories per day she needs. As she is an indoor Maine Coon the likely amount she needs might be around 200 calories.

Thus 4 tablespoons of heavy cream would be all the calories she needs.

2 tablespoons would be half her daily needs.

As you can appreciate, a tablespoon or so is fine every now and again, assuming there isn’t a visible reaction of intolerance.

However, even a tablespoon for Alita is a large percentage of her daily needs.

Thus cream should be viewed as an occasional treat or a method to help your Maine Coon gain weight.

Conclusion

Your Maine Coon doesn’t need to drink milk or cream. They don’t contain nutrients that aren’t available through normal foods.

A Maine Coon will be perfectly happy if it is never given milk or cream.

Fluid-wise, your Maine Coon only needs water.

Your Maine Coon, after around 12 weeks of age, could develop the inability to break down lactose in milk and cream, and thus drinking milk may upset their stomachs.

Milk is best avoided as long as possible in order to avoid any potential digestive issues.

Your Maine coon needs water for fluid intake and won’t need anything else unless you want to spoil them every now and again with a tablespoon of cream.

This should only happen every now and again because even just one tablespoon could represent up to 25% of their daily requirements!

Your Maine Coon may be fine with milk, but it also might be the cause of serious stomach pains if they are lactose intolerant.

It’s best just to be aware of the issue.

About the Author

MaineCoon

My name is Ann and I have been looking after and breeding cats since 2013. I am currently the proud ownder of Alita, a female Maine Coon to whom I've dedicated this site. She has had 2 litters and is around 3 years old. We share adventures and stories together.

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Maine Coon 101 | Read This Before Getting One