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Can Cats Eat Butter? (Is Butter Good, Bad, Or Fatty For Cats?)

Posted in: Cat Health - Last Updated: May 2, 2022 - Author: Mayurii Rajvanshi
Posted in Cat Health 
Last Updated: May 1, 2022  
Author:  Mayurii Rajvanshi
can cats eat butter

Eating butter is not the favorite activity of cats, though sometimes they may eagerly nibble on the butter tray or have a bite of buttered toast. 

But is butter healthy for cats? Is butter actually okay for a cat's digestive system? Can your feline get sick from this product?

Read on to learn more about the cat and butter relationship and get these questions answered.

Can Cats Eat Butter? (in short)

While it contains vitamins, calcium, and protein, butter should be restricted from a cat's diet. 

Apart from all those healthy elements, butter abounds in saturated fat which is a bad type of fat. About 65% of butter is saturated and has a high-fat content which can cause obesity and other health issues. 

While vitamins are present in butter, they are in low quantities so you shouldn't expect them to help your kitty grow and stay healthy. 

There are many more nutrients in dry cat food and wet cat meat food which you are better off adding to your feline's diet. Besides saturated fats, butter has lactose which is also a controversial compound and causes debates on whether it should be fed to cats.

is butter bad for cats

Can Cats Have Butter? Is it Dangerous?

Butter is a dairy product which means it is made of milk. Cats are lactose intolerant.

Milk products contain lactose, a compound that needs lactase enzyme to be digested. Cats produce high quantities of lactase during the nursing period. After they wean, their body produces less lactase or ceases to produce it at all. 

If your cat doesn't have this enzyme after breastfeeding its kittens, it won't be able to digest the lactose in the milk products it consumes. It may result in diarrhea, vomiting, stomach ache, and other gastrointestinal distress.  

In some adult cats, the lactase production has slowed down but it hasn't stopped. Meaning, they can tolerate a small number of dairy products. 

So is lactose in butter dangerous for cats? 

Butter is super high in calories and consists mostly of fat, with lactose being in tiny amounts. So lactose shouldn't be so much of a worry unless your feline is allergic to it. However, the issue here is that a tablespoon of butter (14.2 g) contains 11.5 g of fats. Butter is an insanely fatty food!

If it's allergic, it can experience some serious health issues and complications after eating butter. Add in the obesity risks provided by the fat and you get a straight no-no food for your cat.

If your cat does eat some butter lookout for symptoms such as an upset stomach and vomiting. 

However, remembering your cat can't process lactose, if your furry feline friend licks your butter tray, it shouldn't lead to severe health problems. 

In fact, eating butter in tiny quantities is ok if your feline loves the buttery flavor and eats a meal more eagerly if it has a little piece of butter on it. 

Your main task is to prevent your cat from becoming a butter addict. To do so, try to keep the butter away from your cat and feed it only a tiny bit per day. 

Also, try to use less butter and cooking oil while preparing the meal for your pet.

But, simply put, do not use butter as a snack in your cat's diet. Full stop.

Is Vegan Butter Bad For Cats?

Vegan butter relies on plant-based oils. This is the very case when a plant doesn't mean healthy. 

Plant oils still contain a large amount of saturated fat. 

And while they have less cholesterol, which is typical of animal fats, they can't be qualified as healthy at all. 

Cats don't receive the needed nutrients from a vegetable-driven diet. Since they are carnivores, they need a diet based on animal protein, such as chicken breast. 

With only a few carbs and fats mixed in. 

Cat's body doesn't produce some critical nutrients, such as taurine, which is why they need to take them from food, specifically meat, fish, and eggs. Vegan butter should not be a centerpiece in your feline's diet. 

Cat always requires a balanced diet, with solid food choices and feline-focused nutrition!

can cats have butter

Butter For Cats. The Myths.

Some cat owners wrongly assume that butter can bring health benefits to their furry friends.

Some kitty parents prefer to cook cat meals with butter instead of oil. 

Others feed butter to their skinny cats in the hope that it would help them gain weight. While it's true, along with the half a kilo gained will come severe health complications caused by bad fats. 

Similarly, bad fatty ingredients in meals are the main reason why substituting oil for butter when cooking will not work.

Using Butter for Cat Hairballs

There are also cat owners who use butter to fight hairballs

Indeed, butter gets the hairball wrapped in grease which makes its elimination through the cat's throat easier. But, besides performing this noble mission, butter brings a lot of saturated fat into your cat's body. 

Some health issues excessive butter consumption entails include obesity, pancreatitis, cardiovascular distress, and bone disorders.

Take note, these health problems appear over time and your cat needs to eat a lot of butter daily to get heart disease, bone disorder, or fatal obesity

This means that you can stop your cat's bad habit before it leads to serious health implications. 

If you notice that your feline has fallen in love with butter and buttered foods, you should immediately restrict its access to this product. Try to give it more store-bought cat food than homemade meals, as it lacks bad fats and is rich in nutrients. 

Also, boil the meat instead of frying it with butter or cooking oil.

Back to hairballs, you can combat them with a large variety of special products, foods or medications available on the cat product market. 

They are vet-approved and both safer and more efficient than butter in solving the hairball issue. Before buying, ask your veterinarian which product goes better with your feline.

Butter On Cat Paws Superstition

One popular superstition often talked about between cat owners is placing some butter on your cat's paws before letting him go outside his new house for the first time.

Apparently, this will stop your kitty from running off too quickly and trying to relocate back to its old home. 

We can confirm. This is definitely a superstition, an old wife's tale, and does not work.

butter for cats

Can Cats Eat Butter: Takeaway

To conclude, butter doesn't give any health benefits to your cat. 

More than that, it can cause digestive distress, feline diabetes, obesity, and heart problems

Even if it contains a certain amount of vitamins and proteins, they are in the shadow of saturated fat which is abundant and harmful. 

Feeding butter to your cat is not recommended, although a buttered toast bite won't make a difference. 

You can treat your cat with something buttery (BUT only small amounts)  once in a blue moon.

Just make sure you don't give this dairy product a permanent place in your feline's diet.

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.