Can Cats Eat Butter? Everything You Need to Know About Cats and Dairy

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can cats eat butter

Can cats eat butter? Yes, but only in small amounts. Let’s discuss whether a lick of butter is a healthy treat for your cat or best avoided. We’ll look at the health implications associated with including butter in your cat’s diet.

You may have heard the old wives’ tale that if you’ve recently moved house, you should put butter on your cat’s paws to stop him from getting lost. I’m not sure whether this will allow him to leave a scent trail that he can follow home or will encourage him home in the hope of getting more butter. While pondering this, I decided to investigate whether cats can eat butter.  

Many people believe that butter can help cats cough up furballs. Too much butter can cause digestive issues for your cat, so it’s important to feed it in moderation. When feeding your cat butter, make sure to choose a brand that is unsalted and made from the milk of grass-fed cows.

In this article, we’ll answer the question, ‘can cats eat butter?’ We’ll also look at why it isn’t necessarily a good idea to let your pet eat butter and discuss whether it’s beneficial for furballs.

Can cats eat butter?

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Cats can technically eat butter, but it’s not very good for their health. Butter is high in fat and calories, leading to weight gain and other health problems. It’s not a good idea to add extra calories to your cat’s diet unless advised to do so by a vet. Cats can easily put on weight, especially as they age, as they don’t get enough exercise to burn off all the calories.

While your cat may enjoy the occasional lick of butter, it’s best to keep it to a minimum. However, butter doesn’t contain any toxic ingredients and can be eaten by a cat; if your cat has stolen some butter you left out, there’s no need to worry.

That being said, there are some risks associated with cats eating butter, including:

You should also avoid feeding your cat butter if it contains garlic, onion, spices, and salt. Garlic butter should definitely be avoided, as garlic is toxic to cats. Too much salty butter can cause dehydration in cats and may even cause sodium poisoning. 

Can cats eat dairy products?

While some cats can tolerate dairy products, others may be lactose intolerant. If you’re unsure whether your cat can handle dairy, it’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid giving it to them altogether.

Risks associated with dairy products include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Gas

However, butter contains less lactose than other dairy products, such as milk, cheese, or yogurt. That’s because during the manufacturing process, butter is cultured and treated in a way that reduces the lactose. It may also have other ingredients mixed in.

Does butter help cats get rid of hairballs?

cat names starting with C
Can cats eat butter? Butter may not be the best solution to get rid of hairballs.

Some people believe that butter can help cats get rid of hairballs. The theory is that the lubricating properties of melted butter can help to smooth the passage of a hairball through the cat’s throat or digestive system. However, there isn’t any evidence that butter actually helps, and often, the downsides of giving a cat butter are worse than the benefits.

Vets don’t recommend using butter as a hairball remedy for cats because it’s high in fat and low in nutrients. Butter can also lead to digestive upset and weight gain in cats.

Most of the time, cats can cough up hairballs on their own without the need for butter. Rather than trying to give your pet treatment involving butter, it’s best to consult a vet, particularly if furballs are causing your cat breathing difficulties. There are healthier ways to help your cat with hairballs; after all, big cats manage to cough up furballs without having to eat butter.


One of the ways you can help your cats is to give them plenty of access to water, which will help them stay hydrated and make it easier for their bodies to pass hairballs.


You can also try grooming your cat regularly to help reduce the amount of hair they ingest. It’s particularly important to groom long-haired cats and to brush your cat more during times when they are shedding.

There are also some cat treats or supplements available to help cats with hairball problems. Products such as PETAG Hairball solution Gel are available on Chewy. 

Can cats eat vegan butter?

Vegan butter is a type of plant-based fat that can be used in place of dairy butter. It is made from various oils, such as coconut oil, olive oil, or sunflower oil. It’s best not to give your cat too much vegan butter as plants don’t naturally make up a large percentage of their diet. Overindulging in vegan butter can make your cat sick.

Some vegan butter brands contain ingredients that may be harmful to cats, such as onions or garlic. These ingredients can cause digestive upset and should be avoided.

Related Article: Can Cats Have Almond Milk? 

Is coconut butter or oil good for a cat's coat?

Coconut butter and oil can be good for a cat’s coat if used correctly. The coconut oils can help condition the fur and make it shinier. However, coconut butter and oil can also be very greasy. Too much of either one can lead to skin problems for your cat. Be sure only to use a small amount and avoid getting it in their eyes, nose, or mouth. It would help if you also spoke with your veterinarian before using any new products on your cat.

Can cats eat butter? Final thoughts

While some people believe that a small amount of butter is good for cats or that melted butter helps relieve furballs, others think it can be harmful.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what’s best for your cat, a small lick of butter now and again may not cause any harm, but too much butter in the long term is unhealthy. If you’re concerned about the possibility of butter causing health problems, it’s best to avoid giving it to your cat altogether.

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