Can Cats Eat Cheese? Is It Safe For Cats To Eat?

Posted in: Cat Health - Last Updated: April 15, 2023 - Author: Mayurii Rajvanshi
Posted in Cat Health 
Last Updated: April 13, 2023  
Author:  Mayurii Rajvanshi

Cheese burst pizza… pasta loaded with delicious melting cheese...cottage cheese…or cheesy garlic bread…if there’s anything that can take the flavor of the food up one notch, it’s cheese! 

can cats eat cheese

No wonder most of us love having a bit of cheese every chance we get. But what if your kitty shares the same taste palette? Have you ever tried grabbing a bite or two of a cheese-loaded pizza with your cat begging in the background? It’s almost impossible to eat without sharing some. 

It is even harder when you’re cooking at home! Start removing the cheese wrapper to put a slice in your food, your feline friend would inevitably come running. Cats love cheese A LOT and you might be tempted to share it with them. But should you? Is cheese bad for a cat health?

Can Cats Eat Cheese? 

So, can cats have cheese? Although it is a common enough image to see cats drinking milk, it is a myth that it’s ok to give them dairy products. Most cats are lactose intolerant and should not be given milk, cheese, or other such related foods. While they would happily lap it up, your cat could end up having a digestion issue.

Cats Are Obligate Carnivores

Remember, cats are obligate carnivores! Humans and other omnivores naturally produce the lactase enzyme to break down lactose in dairy products, but cats don’t produce this enzyme. Giving cats cheese (and a bowl of milk!) would be problematic as they don’t have the enzyme that digests lactose. 

can cats eat cottage cheese

If your cat is especially lactose intolerant, then even small amounts could end up making them sick. Eating cheese could end up giving your cat diarrhea and a stomach upset.

This dairy allergy could also trigger vomiting in your cat and in severe cases suffer abdominal pain. Cats have a very delicate digestive system, so introducing something like lactose doesn’t help them at all. 

Additionally, cats are carnivores, and their digestive system is designed with that in mind. They are more comfortable with eating meat than they are with drinking milk or consuming cheese. In fact, products such as cheese don’t offer them much in the way of nutritional benefits. Whatever benefits cats might get from cheese are found in cat food available in the market. 


If your cat is unhealthy or fat or facing any other such issues, you should steer clear of giving them cheese. A cheese slice comes with high-fat content. This means you would be adding a lot of calories to your cat’s daily diet. Not only would your cat gain too much unhealthy but can also end up having to suffer other health-related issues.  

Some factory-produced cheese also has added ingredients that could end up being harmful to your cat. If the cheese contains any onion or chive or garlic, you should keep it away from your cat. 

They can be toxic for your feline friend. 

Is cheese bad for cats

Can Cats Eat Brie (Moldy Cheeses)?

A popular soft cheese, brie is made with raw milk, which may contain Salmonella and Listeria, pathogens that cause serious illness. Some other types of soft cheeses to avoid are blue cheese and Camembert.

Blue cheese is caused by mold. Yes, mold!  This type of cheese, including Stilton, is made with mold Penicillium, which can be toxic to pets.

Hard cheese such as cheddar has much lower lactose content, so it might be ok for your cat to take a nibble every once in a while. 

Can Cats Eat Cream Cheese?

Consuming any lactose can lead to gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain in cats. Furthermore, cream cheese is high in fat and calories, and feeding it to your cat regularly can contribute to obesity and other health problems.

It is best to stick to a well-balanced, species-appropriate diet for your feline friend and reserve cream cheese for an occasional, small treat, if at all.

Can Cats Eat Swiss Cheese?

Yes, we sound like a broken record but the same thing goes for Swiss cheese. Dairy products, including Swiss cheese, are not an essential part of a cat's diet and can cause digestive issues for cats that are lactose intolerant. Ingesting lactose can lead to symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain.  

Is Cheese Good for Cats? Any Benefits?

The chances of cheese being beneficial to your cat are very minimal. However, cheese tends to be high in calcium and protein, which can be good for your feline friend. In fact, the protein present in cheese is what makes it enticing for your cat when they come bounding from wherever they are to try and make you give them a piece. 

One advantage of cheese is that it’s a pretty effective way to help your cats take their medication. More often than not, your cat would avoid taking the pills prescribed by the vet.

Even if you try to trick them, they tend to outsmart their humans. But putting these pills in cheese can help make them take their medication. The cheese makes the pills more palatable for your cat. 

If your cat is completely healthy, a small piece of cheese acts as a bit of a fun snack. Of course, even though they enjoy the cheese, you should make sure that these treats are kept to a bare minimum. In fact, it would be best to talk to your vet before deciding to use cheese as treat for your cat.

They are low carb, and your cat loves the taste, so they can also help in training good behavior in your cat. 

Is cheese good for cats

How Much Cheese Should A Cat Eat?

Before you start giving cheese to your cat as a treat, you should first monitor its health by using small bits. If there are no side effects and your cat doesn’t fall sick, only then should you consider cheese as part of your feline friend’s treats.

When you give your cat a piece of cheese, make sure it is of a size they can bite and chew with ease. 

If your cat is a fussy eater, then sprinkling a bit of grated cheese on top of the food can help. However, make sure this doesn’t happen on a regular basis as the cheese would become too much for your cat to digest. It should only be done every now and again so that you entice your cat to eat the food it needs to maintain its health

Another thing you will need to keep track of is the amount of cheese as part of your cat’s diet. Usually, it is recommended that cheese should not be more than 10% of a cat’s diet.

However, cheese is also high in sodium and fat. 

So to be on the safe side, it is best to keep it to as low as 5%. You should also ensure you give them only hard cheese. 

Can Cats Eat Cheese: The Verdict

Can cats eat cheese then? We would suggest you steer clear. Anything with lactose will not potentially be good for cats. Cats can be very persuasive when it comes to human food, so you should stand your ground and not fall for your feline friend’s cute face. 

A small amount of cheese as a treat may be okay but you should avoid making an occasional cheesy treat a part of your cat’s regular diet. Always monitor your cat to see if there are any adverse effects upon eating cheese so that you can take the necessary steps to ease their pain. 

In a nutshell, cats like cheese, it's not good for them so store ALL your cheeses (including mozzarella and parmesan) away securely!

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About the author

Mayurii Rajvanshi takes pride in being a content ninja, who is an avid animal lover. She has fostered numerous cats and developed in-depth knowledge of feline facts so she can write about cat health and cat care to help dispel myths with authentic information. Her aim is to encourage responsible pet parenting and cat adoption.