Is it safe for cats to drink milk?

A black cat and tabby cat drink milk from a saucer.

Cats are commonly shown lapping milk from saucers. But can they safely drink milk?

The popular image of cats drinking milk may have emerged during the 19th century, when cats and dogs became popular subjects for artists. As the Industrial Revolution progressed and more people migrated to cities, the number of cat and dog owners grew, and artists were increasingly called on to paint charming works of pets. As such, French artist Alfred-Arthur Brunel de Neuville often drew cats drinking from bowls of milk, and his work proved very popular during his lifetime, according to Rehs Galleries (opens in new tab) in New York City.

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