Common misconception: giving milk to a cat or hedgehog

Maybe you’re lucky to live in an area where there are hedgehogs. Hedgehogs are lovely and it is only natural if you want to help them a little. Their life is hard enough because of humans, such as cars and building roads everywhere, which can shred their area. And of course they also have a lot of trouble with all the poison we throw in our gardens. But I would like to write a different blogpost about making your garden (if you have one) hedgehog friendly.
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A lot of people give a hedgehog a platter with milk, when they see one. This is very saddening, because you try to help the hedgehog, which is a good thing. But by doing this, you’re making it worse. You should never give a hedgehog milk. They aren’t tolerant for the lactose in it and it will give them diarrhea and other indigestion problems. This is very dangerous and could lead to their death, for example due to dehydration.

If you see a hedgehog, you can give him some water, this can really help them with their journey and life. If you want to give him some food, you could give some cat or dog food or some cooked eggs or scrambled eggs without milk. Neder give pieces of bread (again lactose) or herbs.
Hedgehogs like humid foods. Hedgehogs are omnivores and a big percentage of their diet exists of worms, snails, wood louses etc. This is one of the reasons why  having hedgehogs in your garden can be great. Giving them water regularly, can make them come back to your place.

Since we’re talking about milk being bad for a hedgehog, even though a lot of people don’t know this, I also want to connect this to a similar case: cats. You shouldn’t give cats milk either, again because of the lactose. Adult cats can’t digest it, so you shouldn’t give it to them, even though they often do like milk.
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You shouldn’t give kittens cowmilk either. They don’t contain the necessary nutrients. There is special catmilk, in case you have a kitten who can’t get milk from it’s mother. You can also find special powder to make it yourself at the vet.

In a lot of pet stores, you can find catmilk. This is a treat for your cat and you shouldn’t give it to them regularly, even though it’s specifically for cats. Catmilk contains a lot of calories and doesn’t contain necessary nutrients. It’s best to always give water.

Please remember that it’s best to give water. Water is necessary for them and it’s very helpful if you give it to them. It’s not ‘boring’ for them or ‘sad’ that they always drink water. Also keep in mind that these animals often do like milk, so they will still drink it, even though it’s bad for them. So that’s not a good indicator of whether it’s bad for them or not.

If you encounter a situation in which someone wants to give milk, please tell them they (the animals) can’t have it. There’s nothing wrong with not knowing it or being wrong, but it’s so much better for the animals if we inform each other.

Source: Common misconception: giving milk to a cat or hedgehog

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