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Can Cats Drink Soy Milk?

David Fields
Last Updated on
by David Fields

As a pet owner, sometimes you wonder if you can give your furry friends certain foods humans consume. After all, if soy milk is healthy for people, what could be the harm in giving it to your cat?

Unfortunately, there are many foods that humans consume that cats cannot. So, it’s always best to research any food before giving it to your pet. If you were considering giving your kitty some soy milk as a treat but decided to research it first, then kudos to you.

So, let’s get right to it; can cats drink soy milk? No, You shouldn’t give your cat soy milk. However, if your cat happens to get into some soy milk, don’t rush off to the vet. It’s not toxic for cats, but it has some unsavory side effects that you’ll want to avoid to keep your kitty healthy and comfortable.

Cat with soy milk
Cat with soy milk

While it’s perfectly acceptable for your cat to have soy milk, some dangers are involved. Soy is one of the most common ingredients in pet food. Unfortunately, however, it’s also one of the most common allergens. As a result, many pet owners nowadays avoid pet food containing soy. Here’s why.

Soy and Cats

Soy
Soy

Many cat food companies claim that soy is digestible and even healthy for cats. However, this is far from the truth. Soy contains a compound known as phytates, which hinders the absorption of minerals and obstructs the enzymes needed to digest protein.

Blocking these minerals and enzymes leads to gastrointestinal tract inflammation and, if soy milk is fed to your cat regularly, can lead to serious illness.

Another factor to consider is that soy affects the way the thyroid functions. Hyperthyroidism is among the most common ailments that modern-day cats face.

While it’s not entirely understood why this disorder has become so widespread in recent years, it’s safe to assume that the prevalent pet-food-filler soy has something to do with it.

How To Spot if Your Cat is Allergic to Soy

As all pet owners know, it can be hard to tell when your animal is in distress. That is because they typically hide their ailments as an evolutionary development to help keep them safe from predators.

Although it’s unlikely you have predators prowling around to harm your kitty, it will still practice this generative trait. So, how can you tell if your cat is allergic to soy if it is doing its best to pretend everything is fine and dandy? Here are a few symptoms you might notice:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Increased scratching
  • Runny eyes or nose
  • Ear issues
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Snoring
  • Paw chewing
  • Swollen paws
  • Changes in fur

If you notice any of these symptoms and your cat eats kibble with soy as an ingredient, then you should book an appointment with your vet. They can tell you if these symptoms are soy-related or if something else could be happening. In addition, a vet can help you choose a food suitable for your cat.

Issues Arising From Cats Consuming Soy Milk

A sick cat
A sick cat

Let’s assume your cat isn’t allergic to soy. In that case, you might think that it’s safe to give your kitty soy milk. However, even cats that aren’t allergic to soy will develop issues if they consume it regularly.

Malnourishment

Nut and soy milk don’t contain the vitamins and amino acids that cats require to remain healthy. Cats are carnivores, so they need to eat meat rich in vitamin A, arginine, and taurine. The latter of these, in particular, is essential for your cat’s health since meat is the only natural source of taurine, and cats need it to keep their eyes and hearts functioning properly.

Not that you would completely switch your cat to an all-soy milk diet, but even taking away a fraction of the nutrients they need daily can lead to malnutrition. And since soy milk may fill your cat up, they could skip a meal and thus miss out on the nourishment they need.

Gastrointestinal Issues

Besides the fact mentioned above that soy impedes the enzymes cats require to digest protein properly, soy milk contains sugar. There are approximately 4 grams of sugar in every 100 milliliters of soy milk.

Sugar is a particularly damaging substance for cats. If sugar makes up more than 3 percent of their daily diet, it will wreak havoc on their gastrointestinal system. Some things you can expect from an overdose of sugar are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal bloating

If this happens regularly, it can lead to inflammatory bowel disease.

Liver Damage

Soy contains two compounds—phytoestrogens and isoflavones—which cats’ metabolic pathways cannot process.

Unfortunately, it’s not a simple case of these compounds passing through the body untouched and coming out as waste products. Instead, your cat’s liver has to put in a lot of work to get these compounds through its system.

So, if your cat consumes soy milk regularly, its liver will be in constant overdrive. That can lead to liver damage and even liver failure, among other grave health problems.

Dehydration

Dehydration follows from the gastrointestinal issues and liver damage soy milk will cause. If your cat has diarrhea or is vomiting regularly, it will become extremely dehydrated. Likewise, if your cat’s liver is continually trying to process adverse compounds, it will require a lot of extra water to get the job done.

Signs that may tell you your cat is dehydrated include:

  • Lethargy
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased heart rate
  • Sunken eyes

If your cat becomes dehydrated enough, it can lead to kidney failure. So, if you see any of these signs, take them to the vet immediately.

FAQs

Do you still have questions about cats and alternative milk? Here are some common questions to give you more information.

Can cats drink oat milk?

Yes, cats can drink oat milk in moderation. Oat milk contains minimal amounts of sugar, and there are no unfavorable compounds present in oat milk. However, if your cat has a sensitive stomach, it would be best to steer clear of oat milk just in case it causes an upset.

Can cats drink coconut milk?

Yes, cats can drink coconut milk. As long as you limit the amount your cat consumes, there should be no issues. The vitamins and minerals present in coconut milk offer plenty of health benefits.

That said, coconut milk is high in oils and fats, which can lead to weight gain and obesity. So, it’s recommended only to feed your cat three tablespoons at a time.

What milk is safe for cats?

All milk and milk alternatives will have their drawbacks, so if you have any worries, it’s safe to stay away from all of them.

If you really want to treat your cat, there are types of milk specifically designed for cats. For example, Cat-Sip is a lactose-free, low-fat, ultra-pasteurized milk that is safe for your cat to drink.

Final Thoughts

While some consider soy milk suitable for cats in small amounts, the risks associated with soy far outweigh the benefits of giving your cat this treat.

As with all human foods, it’s best to research or talk to a veterinarian before feeding it to your kitty. Although you might have the best intentions when feeding your furry friend food designed for human consumption, even the most unassuming foods can adversely affect your cat’s health.

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About David Fields
David Fields
David Fields is a long-time animal lover and has been blessed to share his life with many companions. A short list includes ragdoll cats, siberian husky and greyhound dogs, an African Grey parrot, many fish of all sorts, and a pandemonium of parakeet. He writes most of the articles on iPetCompanion and is regularly featured on other popular websites on the Internet.
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