Cat Ate Butter (Now What? Is This a Concern?)
If you have noticed your cat gravitating to your butter you may be wondering if it is OK for them to have some.
Can cats eat butter?
Cats can eat butter but it is not good for them. It has a high-fat content which can lead to obesity and has not beneficial nutritional content for cats. You may notice your cat showing interest in it, but it is still not ideal.
So, now you know that it’s not a good idea. But, what is butter made of? What can happen if your cat eats butter? Are cats naturally lactose intolerant? Keep reading for these answers, and so much more.
What is butter?
Butter is a combination of fat and protein from milk, according to Wikipedia. At room temperature, it will have a near-solid structure but will melt when the temperature rises. It is a delicious spread that is used by humans on toast or in baking.
Although I stated that it is delicious, in my opinion, doesn’t mean that it is good for us or cats. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Due to its large fat content, it is often substituted for other alternatives like vegan butter, margarine (Click here to see if cats can eat this), etc.
Nutrition Facts of Butter
Source: USDA, per 100g *
- see the source for full details
As you can see from the table above the majority of butter is fat. Which is the main reason why it is not ideal for cats. Even for humans it should be consumed in moderation or avoided.
Why does my cat crave butter?
Cats crave butter because it is a milk-based product. But, realistically cats should not be consuming cows’ milk. or milk in general after they have been weened. They are obligate carnivores, meaning they need protein to survive.
You will likely see your cat going crazy for butter if they see it. This may be confusing because I have just said why it should be avoided. But, think of it like this, most humans love pizza, right?
But, just because we love it doesn’t make it good for us, are you with me? Same thing for your cat. Your job as a cat owner is to guide them to lead a healthy and long life.
Does butter help cats with hairballs?
Butter is known to help cats with hairballs. In particular, it is known to lubricate them and help them pass the hairball. The method used by some owners is to melt the butter and offer it to their cats. However, some argue that even though it works it’s still not a great food for cats.
Butter in small amounts shouldn’t cause a big effect. But, some will say no butter at all regardless of the situation, hairballs or not. Whether you agree or not is your call as an owner.
I think faced with a cat screaming in pain any owner would consider any proven remedy to help their cat.
Should you offer butter to your cat for hairballs?
Although hairballs are known to help your cat pass them some say you should still not use it as a method. Nature does have ways of dealing with these problems, such as your cat coughing them up. But, the decision is down to the owner, it’s subjective.
If you are on the fence about giving your cat butter for this reason it’s probably better to look for another solution because you clearly have concerns, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
What happens if a cat eats butter?
Cats that consume butter may encounter digestion problems, sickness, or feeling gassy. As well as these obvious symptoms the long-term effects of obesity are also a big concern.
Although these effects may not seem drastic it is important to avoid butter for your cat. There are other more beneficial foods that they can eat. So, there is no reason that they should be offered this food. Also, it is not particularly cheap, so that not even a valid argument.
Can kittens eat butter?
Kittens should not be eating butter (What if there is raisins in it? Click here) as well. This is for the same reasons as adult cats. It has too much fat content and no nutritional benefit for them. It is true that kitten food typically has higher calories than adult cat food but it still does not mean they should eat butter.
Depending on their age, kittens are known to consume milk (more on this later). And, yes, butter is milk-based which makes some cat owners assume butter is OK. But, hopefully, now you have learned that it is not.
Why do Kittens digest milk better than adult cats?
While cats are young kittens they produce lactase. This enzyme helps them to digest milk while they feed off their mother. However, once they are weaned they will naturally reduce this production, and in some cases completely stop, causing lactose intolerance.
This is why many adult cats have issues with milk and also dairy products like butter. Although kittens can consume milk before they are weaned they naturally drink their mother’s milk. Butter or other dairy products are still not in line with their natural instincts and should still be avoided.
Are cats lactose intolerant?
Some cats are classed as lactose intolerant, like humans. But, not necessarily all cats are. As discussed earlier, adult cats produce less and less lactase, and in some cases none at all resulting in lactose intolerance.
When cats are lactose intolerant the lactose in milk, or dairy, is not digested properly. This often results in diarrhea or related problems.
What about Vegan butter?
Vegan butter is still not good for cats. It is perceived to be a healthier alternative to standard butter but it still has a high-fat content. The animal fats are traded for plant-based fats. But, these are still not ideal for your cat.
Some cat owners may assume any vegan product must be better. But, in this case, for cats, it’s not a worthy alternative for butter. The reality is there are various other alternative foods for cats. So, you are better off using this instead.
What are better food alternatives to butter for your cat?
Rather than butter, you should offer your cat healthy protein-rich food that is high in taurine. You can also offer chicken breasts or other lean meats. You want to avoid saturated fats.
If you can find a quality wet food it will also offer hydration while they eat. Some cats find it hard to drink enough water in a day and the wet food will help them get enough water into their system.
Is it OK to eat food your cat has licked?
It is not OK to eat food that your cat has licked. This is because cats have bacteria in their mouth that is not good for humans. Also, you have no idea what your cat has licked with their tongue that day. Remember, cats use their tongue to groom and clean their entire body.
Some cat owners who have a great connection with their cats sometimes find it hard to know where the line is. Yes, it’s great to be close but eating cat-licked food is beyond the line. To keep yourself safe it is not worth doing this.