If you ever had a look of confusion written all over your face when someone told you that it is possible to make milk from rice, you’re not alone. I never know rice milk ever existed before trying it at a friend’s home a few years back.
I started drinking rice milk because I am allergic to cow’s milk and was looking for lactose-free milk. I noticed that my cat is drawn to the smell whenever I’m having a cup. But can cats drink rice milk?
Cats in general are obligate carnivores and are not able to digest milk properly. Rich milk that is sold commercially also contains a lot of sugar and additives that can be toxic to cats. If your cat likes rice milk, it would be better to make your own rice milk at home.
If you are a fan of rice milk and have cats at home, it will be good to let your cats drink rice milk either as an occasional treat.
What Is Rice Milk?
Rice milk is basically milk made from rice. Not something that many of us can wrap our heads around but we have made soy milk, almond milk, oat milk, coconut milk and even pigs milk
The process of making rice milk isn’t that difficult and brown rice is more commonly used in commercially made rice milk. The rice is cooked, blended and then strained to remove the liquid from the rice. The extracted liquid is known as rice milk.
Rice milk is a good choice for vegans or anyone who is allergic to other types of milk.
What Is The Nutritional Value Of Rice Milk?
Let us look at the nutritional value of one cup of rich milk:
Rice milk is also rich in calcium and vitamin A, B12 and D.
Just by looking at the nutritional value, it is easy to see why rice milk might not make the best of treat for cats in the long run.
We will go through the main components to further understand why.
Cats Do Not Need Carbohydrates
Our cats are obligate carnivores which makes them pure meat eaters. They need a high-protein diet from animal meat to survive and thrive.
This means that you should and need to be feeding your cat a protein-only diet. Some sites recommend that 5-10% of your cat’s calories come from carbohydrates.
But that is totally not necessary.
My cat has been on a raw meat diet for most of his life and has not eaten carbs since I took him off his kibble diet after adopting him from the shelter.
Some pet owners might argue that their cats chew on cat grass at home. Isn’t plant matter a form of carbohydrate as well?
Yes it is but the amount of carbs that your cat gets from eating cat grass is almost negligible. Unless you are telling me that your cat grazes on grass like a horse. In that case, you need to bring your cat to the vet.
There are a couple of reasons why cats like cat grass:
- Works as a laxative for hairballs
- Helps with digestion
- Contains beneficial minerals
Cats are drawn to cat grass not because of the need to satisfy their carb craving but more for the health benefits.
Rice milk is known to have the most about of carbs per serving as compared to other types of milk.
What Happens If My Cat Eats Too Much Carbs?
If you are feeding your cat dry food, kibbles or unhealthy human food like banana bread, too much carbs for your cat can cause health problems.
Dry food was never invented with our cat’s well-being in mind. It was just a cheaper and more convenient method for cat owners to feed their cats.
Even the best dry food brands for cats contain too much carbs to be healthy.
Another reason why dry food is bad for cats is due to the lack of moisture in the food. Our cats are not big on drinking water and tend to hydrate themselves from the food they eat.
The lack of water in a cat’s diet is the leading cause of kidney disease.
Here are other health issues that your cat can suffer from:
- Feline diabetes
- Liver disease
- Metabolic disorder
Don’t feed your cat a diet just because it is more convenient. Your cat needs food that is as close to its natural diet as possible.
Healthier alternatives will be canned food or raw meat and organs.
Sugar Is Bad For Cats
If you look at the nutritional value of rice milk, the next heaviest component would be the sugar content.
I understand that sugars are also a form of simple carbohydrates but the way our bodies and our cats utilize sugar and carbs is different.
Without going too much into the biomechanics of a cat’s body, too much sugar can cause a spike in the cat’s glucose levels. Such spikes can lead to obesity, diabetes and even hyperglycemia if the spike is large enough.
Similar to carbs, sugar isn’t toxic to cats but it doesn’t have any nutritional benefits for our deal feline friends.
Here’s an interesting fact.
Compared to humans and dogs, cats have the least number of taste buds and they are not able to taste ‘sweetness’.
The reason why many cats seem to get excited when you are eating something sugary is mostly due to the smell of fat which they can get. Our cat’s sense of smell is pretty amazing.
When they sell us eating ice cream, they don’t just smell the flavor but their noses can break down the individual ingredients used to make the ice cream.
What If My Cat Really Likes The Taste Of Rice Milk?
If you have a cat that just can’t do without some rice milk every now and then, the way to go about it is to make your own rice milk.
I would say that it is still a better alternative as compared to letting your cat eat parmesan cheese.
Another healthier non-dairy option is to let your cat drink cashew milk. You can also make it at home if you want to keep it as original as possible.
It is a lot easier to make rice milk as compared to other types of milk.
All you need to do is to soak the rice for a few hours, cook it with a lot of water, blend it and strain out the water with a muslin cloth.
The liquid collected is the rice milk that you can drink or give a little to your cat as a treat.
When making rice milk, it is best to not use normal white rice and not brown rice. Studies have shown that rice bran decreases taurine levels in cats when ingested.
Taurine is an essential amino acid that is very important for cats to help maintain a healthy immune system.
Your cat cannot manufacture taurine naturally and needs to get it from the food that it eats.
If you are too lazy to make it on your own and prefer to buy it off the shelf, give one that is organic, contains no brown rice and has no added sugar plus additives.
Should I Give My Cat Rice Milk?
In all honesty, there isn’t any need for us to give our cats any type of milk once they are no longer kittens.
Cats lose the ability to digest milk as they as get older which makes them lactose intolerant. Even though rice milk doesn’t contain lactose, the high carb and fat content aren’t healthy for your cat.
If your cat still likes it as a treat, a small serving once in a blue moon is a good enough treat for your cat.