My cat loves butter but I wonder if giving in to her demand is good for her. This is why I did extensive research on whether cats can eat butter.
If you are interested about the answer to this question, then you are on the right page. Continue reading below to know more.
Cats can consume butter. However, too much butter can be bad for them, and in some cases, it can lead to serious health issues.
Many cats love eating butter, whether it’s plain butter or other buttery treats. But, there is not much nutritional value for them in consuming it, so it’s up to you as an owner if you want to indulge them with it or not. Plus, when cats can develop lactose intolerance, butter can trigger its symptoms.
Meanwhile, if you have kittens, they are less likely to experience adverse side effects from butter. This is because they still have the necessary enzyme needed to digest lactate.
In many movies and animations, cats are seen lapping milk or licking butter. For instance, Tom and Jerry have gotten into some very intense situations with lactose-infused, dairy products. However, in real life, butter is not necessarily good for good for cats.
Cats cannot eat butter because they are lactose intolerant, and butter is a lactose product. Cats are unable to digest lactose products, and in more than tiny quantities it causes gastrointestinal upset and other severe problems.
Yes, your kitten can eat butter but in moderation. This is because kittens, unlike cats, have enzyme lactase that processes lactose. Kittens are able to digest lactose. In fact, kittens rely on their mother’s milk to survive the first few weeks of life. A mummy cat produces milk with the perfect amount of nutrients, fat and proteins needed for a kitten to survive.
However, as your cat grows older, its body produces fewer enzymes to process lactose. Instead, your cat matures into being a carnivore. This does not stop cats from being totally obsessed with dairy products and fatty foods. They’ll gobble it up without a care and even beg for more. However, as a cat parent, it is advisable to prevent their intake of butter, cream or other dairy products.
Symptoms of lactose intolerance will begin to show about 8-12 hours after your cat has eaten butter or any other dairy products. Usually, irritability is seen before vomiting and diarrhea.
The most important thing you can do for your sick kitty is to encourage it to drink as much water as it can. Will it be easy? No. Your feline baby will definitely prefer cat milk to water. However, water is the best thing it needs because all the vomiting and diarrhea leads to dehydration.
Supplement the diet of your feline with food that is wet. It will improve hydration and will entice your cat to drink more water.
Margarine is used for baking. It has a very similar feel, look and taste to butter. It was made especially for people who have allergies to dairy. Butter has a lot of saturated fats; however, margarine has lots of water and vegetable oil.
Your cat may eat small amounts of margarine without toxic side effects, but at the end of the day, like butter, margarine is not a cat food. It is a poor nutritional choice to give your cat margarine.
Here’s a list of the general nutritional guide of margarine, compared to butter. This list is based on the Whirl’s, and it is per 100g of butter:
|Typical values per 100g
|Trans fatty acid
A small percentage of cats are not lactose intolerant. However, even if your furball is part of the lucky few, here are additional reasons why butter is not good for your cat:
- High Calories
Your cat most likely spends most of its time indoors and it’s important that it gets the right amount of calories. Because of its high calorie content, butter may lead to feline obesity. Cat obesity leads to a shorter lifespan and can cause many other health problems like heart disease, pancreatitis and diabetes.
- Trans-fatty acid
Transient fat leads to many chronic diseases and negative side effects. High trans-fatty acid can be a big problem for your cat’s digestive system. Almost all butter has trans-fatty acids, because it makes the butter last longer.
- Lack of minerals and vitamins
Butter contains vitamin K, Vitamin A Vitamin B-12, protein, calcium and Vitamin D. However, the benefits it gives cats are minimal. The quantities of the vitamins are not enough for your cat. Cat food has vitamins and minerals in healthy quantities to ensure that your cat is in premium health.
- High sodium
Salt is not good for your cat and it can make cats act strangely. It leads to lethargy, seizures, damage in the brain and kidneys, and even causes internal bleeding and death.
The truth is, although your cat should not be fed butter, it would not poison it if it eats a very little bit by accident. However, it is likely to experience health complications when it eats a lot of butter. Below are some of the health issues that your cat can experience if they take a lot of butter.
Your feline baby may choke on butter if it is too thick and hard to swallow.
- Allergic reactions
Some cats are allergic to ingredients in butter. Allergic reactions may cause your cat to itch, have infections in the ear, and generally be irritable. The worst allergic reaction is anaphylaxis, which may kill the cat.
- Gastrointestinal problem
It may cause vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and gas. Gastrointestinal problems may be due to lactose intolerance or pancreatitis
- Accidental poisoning
Some butter contains xylitol, instead of sugar. This is absolutely toxic to your cat. Other animal toxic products are sometimes mixed into butter to kill insects.
The best option for you as a cat parent is simply not to risk giving your feline butter. There are plenty of other treats your cat can enjoy instead. If your cat accidentally takes butter, be sure to take them to a vet as soon as possible.
There are so many myths out there about giving butter to your feline friend. Here, we are going to set straight some of these myths.
- Butter helps my underweight cat gain weight
Yes, butter may help your cat gain weight; however, the cost your cat will pay is too high. Instead of giving your cat a boost with butter, feed it cat food that is vet-recommended and high quality.
- Butter will grease out hairballs
There are better products on the market for hairballs. These products are safe, approved by vets and efficient. Instead of dealing with it by yourself, ask a vet for a recommended hairball control product.
Here are some facts about cats and butter:
Fact #1: Many Cats Love Butter
If you notice in films and TV, many cats love drinking milk, and the same goes for butter. It is like catnip.
Fact #2: Rubbing Butter On Cats Paws
There is this superstition that you must put butter on your cat’s paws to help them adjust faster when you move to a new place. However, that is not true at all.
Fact #3: Too Much Butter can Cause Weight Gain
Feeding your cats too much butter can lead to them gaining weight quickly due to its high-fat content.
It is no secret that cats like butter. One of the major reasons behind this is that they love to eat fatty food.
However, since cats lose their ability to digest fats after some time, it is not good to tolerate this habit or provide them with many buttery treats. But, you can give them a controlled portion as a treat once in a while.
Cats are smart animals. But, it is impossible to trust them to look after their nutrition. This is why, as a cat owner, it is your responsibility to control your cats from eating butter.
If you are wondering how to do this, here are some tips on how to stop a cat from eating butter:
- Secure Your Refrigerator
Cats may not have hands, but they are very crafty when they want to be in specific places. Yes, this includes your refrigerator, where you typically store your butter. This is why it is important to make it a habit to shut your refrigerator doors properly.
- Put Butter in a Sealed Container
There can be times when you put butter on the table or counter and forget about it. This is typically when cats take advantage of the situation and taste the delicious treat.
To prevent this, it is best to put your butter in a sealed container rather than leaving it on its wax paper packaging. This helps keep your cats away from your butter and maintain its cleanliness.
- Do Not Introduce Your Cat to Butter
Since there is not much nutritional value in butter for cats, it is best not to introduce it to them in the first place. This way, they will not be looking for it.
It is safe to give your cats a tablespoon of butter once every week. Although it is fine if you give them a little more, it is not guaranteed that they will not barf on the floor because of it. So, to prevent unnecessary cleaning and suffering of your beloved pet, it is best to limit how much you give them as a treat.
The same thing applies to other butter alternatives, especially for those who do not provide cats’ nutritional values.
Kittens are born with the ability to process lactose from their mother’s milk. However, when they transition to solid food, the majority of them lose the enzymes that enable them to digest lactose. This leads to them developing lactose intolerance symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, and other stomach issues.
As cats grow older, many of them officially become lactose intolerant. But, this often does not stop them from eating this delicious treat.
Hairballs can be dreadful for cats. It can be uncomfortable and can result in major issues.
However, there is this idea going around that melted butter can help soothe hairballs. The question now is that, is it true?
The answer to this is not yet confirmed because there is yet to be official scientific done with the topic. However, if you based it on cat owners’ testimonies, a majority have claimed that it does work.
But, if your cat suffers from major issues due to hairballs, such as difficulty breathing, it is best to immediately consult your veterinarian rather than give your cat melted butter to ease their hairball problem.
Cats like butter due to its creamy and rich taste. However, this is not the only type of food there is. Here healthy alternatives to butter aside from vegan butter:
- Greek Yogurt
Greek Yogurt contains high protein, and it is an ideal alternative for butter when cooking. It also contains natural tanginess that helps balance the flavors of a dish. Greek Yogurt can be given to your cat rarely and in small quantities.
Avocado has natural creaminess similar to butter. It also contains better fats that can be substituted for butter’s monounsaturated fat and saturated fat. It should be noted that you can occasionally give a cat avocado flesh in small amounts to avoid any toxic effects for your feline.
- Pumpkin Puree
This contains lots of vitamin A, and it can be an excellent alternative for butter when cooking many recipes. However, the consistency is a little more watery than butter. You can safely add one or two tablespoons of a pumpkin puree (sugar & additives free) to your cat’s food from time to time.
- Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has a distinct rich taste. When in its original form, its consistency can be a lot similar to melted butter. It is healthy for cats too. Try not no give your cat too much coconut oil as it can be quite dangerous. One quarter teaspoon of coconut oil would be enough for your furry friend.
There are different types of butter. Here are frequently asked questions that cat parents ask about butter:
Yes, cocoa butter is made for your cats. However, remember to give it in small portions because it contains traces of theobromine. This can become poisonous when consumed excessively by cats.
Yes, you can. Coconut butter makes your cat’s skin healthier. It also helps improve skin irritations. You do not need to apply generous amounts.
Yes, your cats can eat shea butter. It helps control hot spots, dander and moisturizes the skin. However, make sure only to give a small amount because too much can cause adverse reactions.
Yes, your cat can eat butter made from sunflower seed. When made into butter, Sunflower seeds are full of nutrients such as selenium and Vitamin E. These are essential nutrients for cats.
No, raw butter should not be given to cats at all costs. This is because raw butter contains high fat that can lead to rapid weight gain when combined with butter and fed to cats excessively. It contains bacterias that can be harmful to the digestive system of your cats.
No, it is not good for your cat to eat butter and bread. Bread does not provide any nutritional value for your cat. It can also cause unwanted weight gain due to its high carbohydrate content.
You should avoid giving your cats garlic butter. Plus, garlic butter typically contains garlic concentrate, which is poisonous to cats. This is because garlic belongs to the Allium family.
Since vegan butter is a healthy butter alternative for humans, it is only normal for cat parents to wonder whether it can be given to cats. However, vegan butter may not be ideal for cats since they are carnivorous and will not benefit from its ingredients.
Peanut butter is not poisonous for cats. This means that it is safe for them to consume it.
However, cats cannot get any nutritional value from peanut butter. Besides, most peanut butter contains high amounts of trans-fatty acid, which enables it to have a longer shelf life. This ingredient can be harmful to cats over time.
Cream and ice cream are dairy products that contain lactose, and as mentioned above, cats lose their tolerance to lactose as they grow older. This means that giving cream, whipped cream or ice cream to your cats will in most cases result in them feeling sick with symptoms of lactose intolerance.
Sour cream is a type of fermented dairy product. Although it contains lower levels of lactose, it can still be harmful to cats that are lactose intolerant. It is best to avoid giving your cats this type of food to avoid adverse side effects.
Although butter is a highly nutritious and flavorful treat for humans, it is not typical for cats. Unlike what you’ve seen on television, all dairy products, the bottom line is that your feline friend should not eat butter. It will definitely do more harm to your cat than good. Of course, this does not stop your cat from being obsessed with butter. If you notice them licking butter, bring this habit to a stop before it leads to some serious health issues.
Happy Cat Care!
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