Can Cats Have Soy Milk? Is Soy Milk Safe for Cats?

Soy milk is a popular alternative to cows’ milk, and these days with humans getting fussier about which types of milk they will and won’t drink, perhaps you’re wondering if your fussy feline friend can have some soy milk too. Read on as we answer the question, “can cats drink soy milk?”
Stephanie Laming - Licensed Insurance Representative of 11 years & Dog Mum to 5 year old Tina
October 6, 2022
min read

Can Cats Have Soy Milk?

It’s not a good idea to feed your cat soy milk. Felines are unable to break down the sugars contained in this popular alternative to dairy, even the unsweetened version. 

Some cat owners may want to try soy milk for their cats as an alternative to cows’ milk, because many cats are lactose intolerant. Feeding cows’ milk to your furbaby could cause an upset tummy, cramps, flatulence, diarrhea, or all of the above. 

However, soy milk for cats is best avoided, because while it doesn’t contain lactose, it contains other sugars which are equally difficult for your feline friend to digest.   

Ingredients That Are Unsafe in Soy Milk

So the question, “can kittens drink soy milk?” has been answered with a clear no, but let’s take a closer look at why. There are two types of sugars in soybeans which are problems for your purring paw-pal, Stachyose and Raffinose. Both of these are compounds commonly found in a variety of vegetables, legumes, grains, and other plants. 

The enzymes in your kitty’s tummy are not capable of properly breaking down these two sugars, leading to similar stomach problems your cat would experience after consuming dairy milk. 

Cats are obligate carnivores, and are only designed, strictly speaking, for eating meat, fish, properly cooked eggs, and specially formulated cat food, although there are certain grains and veggies they can eat without a problem too. Anything containing soybeans is, however, not on the list of things a cat can digest. 

Side Effects of Having Soy Milk

If your cat has consumed soy milk either accidentally, or without you knowing that it could cause problems, here are some symptoms to look out for: 

  • Diarrhea
  • Flatulence 
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain

While it’s pretty normal for a cat to get an upset tummy occasionally, much like it is normal for humans, if the symptoms seem severe, play it safe and head to the nearest vet as soon as you can. 

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Alternatives to Soy and Dairy Milk

So as we’ve established, feeding your kitty dairy milk or soy milk is a bad idea, and almond milk also contains sugars that can hurt your cat’s tummy. But are there alternatives if you feel your cat needs some form of milk in their life? 

The first thing to understand is that cats don’t need milk in their diet. As we’ve mentioned, they’re carnivores and get all the nutrients they need either from meat or from pet food specially formulated for keeping kitties healthy. 

If you still want to give your kitty some as a treat, there are a few options available. Cat milk straight from your meow-meow’s mom, or cat milk replacement formula, is vital for kittens, but only for the first four to eight weeks. 

After this, there are cat-friendly milk products with 0.2% lactose or less, and without the harmful sugars contained in soy or almond milk. These should be available at pet stores, some supermarkets, and for purchase online. 

While they aren’t strictly necessary, these products are made to be beneficial for your cats, with plenty of vitamins and minerals, such as calcium. These cat-friendly milk alternatives can be good for your cat’s digestion, immune system, bone and tooth strength, and coat. They will also help ensure your cat gets enough fluids and avoids dehydration.  

Final Thoughts

Is soy milk bad for cats? Due to the presence of sugars your furbaby can’t properly digest, the answer is a clear, resounding yes. 

Don’t risk the tummy problems this ‘milk’ can cause, and, even though soy milk is only likely to cause problems if given to your feline friend in significant quantities, avoid giving them even small amounts just in case. A cat-friendly milk alternative is a far safer bet. 

Take your cat to a trusted veterinarian if they are suffering from severe digestive problems after consuming soy milk, or for any other reason.

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GoodPaw Pet Services Inc., GoodPaw, offers free advice, product information and other editorial resources that are intended for informative purposes only, and should not be used in place of proper veterinary care. This information should not be used to diagnose or treat your pet. If your pet is experiencing any health concerns, contact a licensed veterinarian. GoodPaw assumes no responsibility for action taken based on information given from

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