Can Cats Eat Butter? (Hint: It Depends on the Quantity)

Being the cat owner, you might want to feed butter to your cat as it is yummy, savory, and nutritious. But before that, do you knQow whether the butter is safe and healthy for cats?

Cats can eat butter, but it is better not to give them plenty of it. Though there are a few vitamins, butter has high-fat content, which is not safe for the cat’s health. If you want your cat to eat butter, feed it only a tiny amount or give it as an occasional treat.

When it is about giving butter to your cat, a fat-rich food, you need to be familiar with some crucial information. In this post, you will learn many things about butter, such as benefits, risks, alternatives, and more.

Can Cats Eat Butter? (Hint: It Depends on the Quantity)

Is It Healthy For Cats To Eat Butter? Extra Information About Butter 

Can cats eat butter – it is one of the controversial questions. Experts say that it is not good for cats to eat plenty of butter. Before diving into the details of the benefits and health problems, here is brief information about the butter.

Butter is one of the dairy products, and it is prepared by stirring the milk. The stirring procedure splits up the heavy fats and liquid. This liquid is called buttermilk.

Many types of butter in the market are made from cow’s milk. However, you can also find butter, which comes from the milk of buffalo, sheep, camel, and goats.

Nutritional value 

There are different types of nutrients in butter, but all of them are in small quantities. It also has Vitamins (A, B12, D, E, and K2). Cats depend on healthy unsaturated fats to grow, and butter does not have much of it. Remember, butter has high-fat content of 80% of fat, and more than 65% is saturated.

Only one tablespoon of butter has around 100 calories, and it is the same as one medium-sized banana. Here is the brief list of the nutrients in one tablespoon (14.2 grams) of salted butter:

  • Calories – 102<
  • Water – 16%
  • Fat – 11.52 grams
  • Saturated fat – 7.29 grams
  • Monounsaturated fat – 2.99 grams
  • Polyunsaturated fat – 0.43 grams
  • Trans fat – 0.47 grams
  • Energy – 102 kcal
  • Calcium – 3.41  mg
  • Protein – 0.12 grams
  • Sugar – 0.01 grams
  • Carbs – 0.01 grams
  • Cholesterol – 30.5 mg
  • Fiber – 0 grams.   

Are There Any Benefits For Cats From Butter?  

Though there are a few benefits of your cat eating butter, the cons outperform them.  

  • Tiny amounts of butter are utilized to conceal pills so that the cats would consume them without much hassle.
  • Butter has butyrate, and it sustains the cat’s gut-friendly bacteria.
  • Butter helps a weak and thin cat increase its weight. But before feeding butter, it is best to talk to the veterinarian about this.
  • Many cat owners use butter to grease the cat’s throat, making it easy for the cat to get hairballs out of its digestive tract.

Is Butter A Bad Food For Cats? 

Though butter tastes delicious, it is not healthy for cats, and it has high levels of fat. There are 11.5 g of fats in 14.2 g of butter (one tablespoon). Butter has some vitamins and other nutrients. But due to the high amounts of fat, it is not good to feed it for cats.

Cats are carnivores and get crucial nutrients from other animals and their fats. But, the fat content in butter and meat are not the same and are very distinct. Feeding the meat fat is better than giving butter to your cat.  

What Health Risks Do Cats Face If They Eat Butter? 

Here are four common and typical health problems your cat will face by eating butter:

1. Lactose intolerant 

Cats and butter are not a good combo because many cats are lactose intolerant. Butter belongs to the dairy family, and it has lactose (milk sugar).

Young cats (kittens) can absorb the mother’s milk and many dairy products as they generate lactase. Lactase is a necessary enzyme that is essential for cats to digest dairy foods. When the kit weans off, it will stop generating lactase. Due to this, adult cats can not absorb the butter.

2. Vomiting And Diarrhea 

Make sure that your kitten is not having an addiction to the butter because it brings severe health issues. If the light intolerant cat eats butter, it will suffer from vomiting and diarrhea. But cats with lactose allergy and heavy intolerance lead to critical illness and degrades their health.

3. Obesity 

As butter is a fatty food, there are high chances of the cat gaining heavyweight over time. Besides that, indoor cats have more danger to become obese than outdoor ones.  

The typical diet of cats should contain high levels of animal protein and some carbs and fats. As for butter, the protein levels are low, and it has high-fat content.

You might find obese cats adorable, but they become weak. Obesity can cause many urinary, heart, pancreas, liver, and bone diseases.

4. Pancreatitis

The pancreas in cats helps in controlling blood sugar levels. It also discharges the enzymes that are necessary to digest protein, fats, and carbs.

Eating toxins, fatty foods, physical trauma, and obesity leads to pancreatitis. It is a fatal disease with severe damaging effects on cats and also decreases their lifespan.

Due to the nonspecific symptoms of pancreatitis, it is difficult to cure the cat in time. Some of the possible signs are loss of appetite and lethargy. To avoid this, you have to maintain a proper diet by removing fatty foods.

5. Feline diabetes  

Feline diabetes is a disease where the pancreas generates little to no insulin. This pancreas is crucial to control sugar levels in the blood and gives energy to the cat.

High sugar levels in the blood for a long time cause severe damage to the internal organs. In extreme cases, the cat might die.

Till now, there is no permanent treatment for feline diabetes, but you can give medications to your cat. If a cat with type 1 or 2 diabetes gets proper treatment, it can stay alive for several years.

6. Salt 

At last, butter also has salt. The cats need to eat a small quantity of sodium, and it has to be from the meat-based cat diet. If your cat eats excessive amounts of salt, it might get stomach pain and, in drastic situations, it will die.

What Should I Do If My Cat Ate Butter? 

Butter is not toxic to cats if eaten in small amounts occasionally. You do not have to worry a lot if your cat licks on a small piece of butter. But when it consumes a huge amount, your cat will suffer from various health risks. Some of them are below:

  • Poor digestion
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pains
  • Vomiting.

If your cat has a constant habit of eating butter or eats a big portion of butter, severe health problems might arise. It is better to contact a cat specialist or visit the local veterinarian to get advice.

Can Cats Eat Dairy Products And Other Fat Food? 

Almost everyone has seen cats drinking milk either in cartoons or posters and thought of it as ideal cat food. But the milk we buy from the store has high-fat content, and it is difficult for cats to digest it.

Not every cat is lactose intolerant, but the majority of them have natural lactose intolerance. Due to this, cats might have stomach problems by eating dairy products, such as butter, cheese, and cream. Sometimes, cats will vomit and suffer from diarrhea. In short, cats have a sensitive digestive system and struggle to digest dairy products.

You might be wondering what about the baby kittens? It is best to avoid feeding dairy products to the young cat. If the baby cat is not at the age to consume solid foods and does not have access to the mother’s milk, you need to feed kitten-specific milk formulas.  

You still have to be more cautious when it comes to offering high-fat content food to your cat. It is better to keep your pet away from unhealthy, pasteurized, and saturated foods. Foods with high amounts of sugar, fat, or lactose tend to decrease the lifespan of a cat. Sometimes, you may find sudden changes in your cat’s behavior.

Because of all these reasons, you need to restrain yourself from feeding fatty foods and fried food. These foods include cakes, cookies, biscuits, french fries, and more.

Is Vegan Butter A Good Alternative For Cats? 

Compared to animal fat, vegan butter has fewer amounts of fat. But many manufacturers mix fatty vegetables, making them unhealthy products. Besides vegan butter, margarine is also neither safe nor healthy for the cat.

Butter and oils from plants are not any better than dairy products. Plus, vegan butter is not beneficial for cats as they thrive on the carnivorous lifestyle.

To give the best nutrition to the cat, only select premium-quality cat food and protein meat. Foods like taurine-rich cooked chicken breast, unsaturated fats, and arachidonic fatty acids are also the best choice.

Rather than searching for safe alternatives for butter, it is best to focus on giving essential nutrition to cats using cat food and treats.

Bottom Line 

It is safe to offer minimal amounts of butter to your cat but avoiding it is still the best thing. Vegan or dairy butter, they are not safe and not healthy for your cat.

Butter can lead to several health risks, obesity, and other harmful illnesses. To top that, it has only high-fat levels with little nutrition for your cat.

References

  • U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE. (2019). Butter, Salted Nutrients 
  • Prestige Animal Hospital. (2021). Why Cats And Cow’s Milk Don’t Mix 
  • WebMD LLC. (2005-2021). Lactase