Everything seems to be about the healthy coconut these days in the beverage market. Coconut water, coconut oil, and, of course, coconut milk have all been promoted for their health benefits.
When we think of cats, we usually think of them slurping up a saucer of cream or milk, but what about coconut milk? Is that a safe and nutritious treat for our cats, given that dairy milk isn’t?
Is it possible for cats to consume coconut milk? Is it okay for cats to drink coconut milk? Despite the fact that coconut milk is technically non-toxic to cats, we do not recommend giving it to them. Below, we’ll explain our reasons so you can make an informed selection.
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All About Coconut Milk
Coconuts grow on coconut trees in tropical areas and are often used in Southeast Asian and Thai cuisines, as most of us well know.
Coconuts contain both water and flesh, and it’s worth noting that coconut milk does not normally form inside the coconut. Coconut water is extracted when coconuts are immature, when they are green in hue.
Coconut milk is made when the flesh of the coconut is blended with water as it matures and turns brown (which contains about 50 percent of water).
Coconut milk with a thick consistency is created by grating the meat of the coconut and heating it in water. This combination is then strained through cheesecloth to obtain thick coconut milk.
The coconut meat that is still in the cheesecloth that created the thick milk is boiled and filtered to get a more diluted version of coconut milk.
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Coconut Milk’s Harmful Effects
We know coconuts are healthy but do they have a downside?
Generally speaking, you should be careful about what kind of canned coconut milk you purchase. Some cans have the chemical bisphenol A (BPA), which can filter into the canned contents. Studies have shown that BPA can cause cancer and reproductive issues in both animals and humans.
Lastly, experts recommend limiting the amount of coconut milk you ingest if you have any FODMAP sensitivity.
The bottom line is, if you have sensitivities to coconut or its ingredients, it’s best to avoid it. Also, double-check the kind of coconut milk you buy to ensure it is BPA-free.
And now on to cats. Why exactly should we not give our cats coconut milk if it has so many benefits for us?
Diet of a Cat
Before we go into why coconut milk is bad for cats, let’s take a look at what the normal cat’s diet consists of.
Cats are classed as obligate carnivore, which means they can only survive on a meat-based diet. In truth, the digestive system of a cat is built to solely process meat and is incapable of processing plant matter.
Cats are lactose intolerant, except when they drink their mother’s milk, and if you give your cat cow’s milk, it will cause stomach trouble (typically diarrhea). What about coconut, though? Does it qualify as milk, a plant, or a fruit?
Cats, like plants, lack the enzymes required for effective digestion of coconut milk. As a result, coconut milk may make your cat sick. Coconuts include additional oils and lipids, which could lead to weight gain if your cat drinks coconut milk on a regular basis.
Furthermore, if coconut milk contains any added sugar, this is an additional element that can only harm cats’ health. If you offer your cat sugary foods on a regular basis, diabetes, dental problems, weight gain, and other health issues can develop.
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Possible Negative Effects
So, we’ve established that giving your cat coconut milk is usually a mistake.
If your cat eats anything coconut-related, the following are some of the possible symptoms:
- Weight gain
- Digestive issues
These symptoms could also be an immediate reaction to your cat drinking a small amount of coconut milk.
If consumed on a frequent basis, however, it can cause other health issues, such as:
If your cat is given food that isn’t part of her normal diet on a regular basis, she may develop these problems. If your cat exhibits any of the above signs or symptoms, please take her to your veterinarian as soon as possible.
The long and short of it is that, while coconut milk isn’t poisonous to cats, it also doesn’t help them. Coconuts are nearly impossible to define. They’re a nut, a seed, and a fruit all rolled into one. But they’re absolutely not for your cat’s consumption.
Always make sure your cat has access to fresh, clean water. Getting your cat a water fountain can help avoid kidney disease by encouraging them to drink more.
Keep a watch on your cat if she drinks any coconut milk. Most probably, she’ll be alright, but if you’re thought about introducing something new to your cat’s diet, consult your veterinarian first. After all, all you want for your cat is for him or her to enjoy a long and healthy life.
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