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Can Cats Have Butter as a Treat?

David Fields
Last Updated on
by David Fields

In this article, we will answer the question can cats eat butter?

If you’re wondering if your cat can eat butter, the answer is yes. But it’s not a great idea. Most cats are lactose intolerant, and the odds are that butter will give your cat an upset stomach.

We know…cats love milk. Who hasn’t been charmed by the image of a kitty lapping up a bowl of milk? But that doesn’t mean it’s good for them. In fact, no dairy is good for cats.

Kittens who are not yet weaned are better able to tolerate dairy products than adult cats. This is because they are born with the ability to break down and digest lactose, the main sugar in milk.

As kitties grow into cats, though, they lose the ability to digest lactose and become carnivores. They need to eat a meat-based diet. In the old days, this meant cats hunted mice and rats. Today, this diet is best achieved by feeding your cat nutritionally balanced cat food.

Can Cats Eat Butter?


Left to their own, most cats, but not all, will eat the butter because they like the taste. The cream, fat, and salt in butter are irresistible to most kitties!

But some people give their cats butter on purpose. Maybe they’ve heard that melted butter is good for helping cats pass hairballs. Some people swear by this method, but others are opposed. Alternatives include commercial remedies, coconut oil, olive oil, squash baby food, canned pumpkin, or vaseline on the paws.

Others put their cats’ medications in butter and let the kitty lap it up. They figure this is a good way to make sure the cat takes their pills.

Still others simply like giving their cats butter as a treat. Or they give their kitties baked goods containing butter as a special snack.

In this case, it’s better to give cats treats like tuna or sardines, which will give them the protein they need without the fat and salt. There are also many healthy cat treats available on the market. Catnip and cereal grasses, like wheat or oat, are good options, too.

Giving your kitty a little butter may not hurt him, but it’s not helping him either. Eating butter can give your cat an upset stomach or cause indigestion, vomiting, and diarrhea. This is likely because your cat is lactose intolerant and can’t break down the enzymes in butter. Even worse, kitty may have a dairy allergy!

Another reason why it’s not a good idea to give your cats butter is that it contains a lot of fat and sodium. Cats who eat butter can gain weight quickly, which is also one reason why people with underweight cats might be tempted to give their kitties butter.

However, the extra sodium isn’t worth any benefit your kitty might receive. If your cat is underweight, work with your vet to find the reason and a solution.

If your cat gains too much weight from eating butter, there could be other complications like behavioral changes or even a shortened life span. No one wants that for their kitty!

Read More: Can cats eat peanut butter?

What To Do If Your Cat Ate Too Much Butter

If your cat ate butter, don’t panic. Butter is lower in lactose than milk. Plus, some cats can tolerate dairy. If your cat is one of those, he or she may be completely fine. Keep an eye on her for any signs of an upset stomach.

If it was a large quantity of butter and your cat seems sick, it’s a good idea to call your vet for advice. Unfortunately, too much butter can lead to serious complications like pancreatitis.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can cats have butter to help their coats stay shiny?

It’s not a good idea to give your kitty butter in the quest for a shiny coat. Butter can make your cat overweight and lead to nutritional deficiencies if he starts ignoring his regular nutritious cat food for butter! These issues will lead to problems with your cat’s coat.

Instead, feed your kitty food specially formulated for cats, brush regularly, and ask your vet for guidance on Omega-3 or alternative foods.

Can cats have butter to help with constipation?

No, don’t use butter to help ease your kitty’s bathroom problems. Constipation is too risky of an issue to try home remedies without consulting your vet.

There could be something else wrong with your cat. That said, your vet may recommend pumpkin, polyethylene glycol, low-sodium broth, or canned food, but it depends on your kitty’s specific situation.

Can my cat be allergic to butter?

Yes, your cat may have a dairy allergy. More than 10% of cats are allergic to casein, the protein found in milk. Or your cat may have an overactive immune system that reacts to dairy products. Cats with a dairy allergy should not be given milk, yogurt, butter, cheese, or other dairy products.

How will I know if my cat is allergic to butter?

The symptoms of a dairy allergy are similar to those experienced with lactose intolerance. However, with a dairy allergy, additional symptoms will be present. Symptoms include sneezing, hair loss, abdominal bloating, and weight loss. Call your vet to discuss the symptoms of a dairy allergy.

Can cats have butter alternatives such as margarine or vegan butter?

No, margarine and vegan butter can be even worse for your kitty than real butter. Margarine contains both saturated and trans fats. Vegan butter is plant-based and adds no meaningful nutritional value to your cat’s diet.

Will putting butter on my cat’s paws prevent my cat from getting lost?

This is an old wives’ tale. The idea is that if you put butter on your cat’s paws, she will be so excited that she can have butter as a treat that she will never want to run away from home. It’s a nice idea, but it’s a myth!

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About David Fields
David Fields
David Fields is a long-time animal lover and has been blessed to share his life with many companions. A short list includes ragdoll cats, siberian husky and greyhound dogs, an African Grey parrot, many fish of all sorts, and a pandemonium of parakeet. He writes most of the articles on iPetCompanion and is regularly featured on other popular websites on the Internet.
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