Related: Should I feed my cat milk?

I've read that some adult cats can handle cow's milk (whole milk), and other cats can't (diarrhea).

My question is this: A cat knows what's good for it, right?

If milk caused problems or discomfort for a cat in the past, the cat would know it and would NOT keep drinking milk, right?

-- especially an outdoor cat, or a half-feral cat, right?

My favorite half-feral cat seems very careful about trying new food. It tries a nibble, goes away, and comes back a few hours later -- presumably after it has determined that the new food item is ok.

Can I ask a related question?

I've seen on TV shows : hardcore "survival skills" guys saying what they do to see if a wild fruit is safe to eat -- they first rub it against the skin (wait a few hours), eat a tiny portion (wait several hours), eat a nibble (wait several hours), then it's safe to eat. -- or something like that.

-- Do feral cats do this ?

2 Answers 2


No they do not know, they can't correlate something like that as the side-effects happen later and not immediately.

Your kitty may not like the food very much or isn't very hungry, that is why it only eats a small amount and then comes back later.

We get cats come in often enough with string-gut (they eat dental floss or yarn and it gets caught in their intestines), they don't know.

  • 2
    I am a big fan of your answers, but I am not sure this is a good one. The question is about poison food, which would not include string or yarn. My understanding is that one of the reasons rats are difficult to poison is they do test foods, leading to the most common poisons to be slow acting. I would expect the same to be true in cats. Nov 4, 2016 at 23:48
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    Oh! The question was edited after I posted so I didn't get the whole poisoned bit - I'll think about it more. Nov 5, 2016 at 0:35

No, the cat doesn't know what's good for it. I would recommend just sticking to no milk, it's likely bad for it since it's bad for most cats. I just wouldn't take a chance. Plus, cat diarrhea? Nasty. Gross. Blegh. If you really wanna give it milk maybe a very small amount in a small bowl to test it out and see the results but, again, cat doesn't know what's good for it.

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