A high majority of cats are lactose intolerant and can not eat dairy products. Although butter contains only trace amounts of lactose, can cats eat butter?
There has been a tremendous amount of discussions over butter in the past few decades. Is butter safe or healthy for human consumption or how much butter can be consumed, etc… The same questions have also been asked for our feline friends because butter is not like other dairy products due to its very low lactose content. So if it is low in lactose can cats eat butter?
The answer to the question “can cats eat butter” is technically yes but they really shouldn’t because lactose is not the only thing you should worry about when it comes to feeding butter to your cat.
Is Butter Safe for Cats? Can Cats Eat Butter
The answer to this question depends if you give butter to your cat as an occasional treat or as a part of its regular diet. Butter is made up of almost entirely fat (more than 82%) which is not even close to being good or healthy for cats.
Cats are obligate carnivores which means that the main source of nutrition for them are animal based proteins. The low amount of fat they need is already in the meat they consume and the type of fat in butter is very different than the type of fat in any kind of meat so even if your cat needs fat for any kind of health issue, butter does not include the type of fat it needs.
Speaking of fats, the high amount of fat butter has can cause a lot of health issues for our little feline friends starting with obesity. A lot of people think that obese cats look cute with the way they walk and silly things they do due to their inability to move freely. But in fact obesity is not something to have fun with because it steals precious time you will spend together and will surely lead to some other serious health issues some which are lethal.
In addition to obesity eating too much butter can lead to heart disease, diabetes, and pancreatitis which are needless to say terrible health issues.
Also most butter brands include trans-fatty acids in order to provide longer shelf life to their products. Trans fatty acids can cause huge digestive problems for cats in addition to leading to many chronic diseases.
Another issue with feeding butter to kitties is salt or sodium. Salt is not good for cats and excessive consumption may even lead to deadly sodium ion poisoning a.k.a. salt poisoning. The maximum safe amount of salt an average sized cat can consume daily is only 42 mg. Considering your cat already gets what it needs from the cat food it consumes, any additional salt creates an unnecessary risk. Some symptoms of excessive salt consumption are as follows:
- Excessive dehydration
- Weight loss
- Increased urination
- Lack of appetite
- Coordination And Balance Issues
If you see any of these symptoms, please consult to your veterinarian without losing time.
What Happens If a Cat Eats Butter?
A lick or two can not do any harm as long as your cat is not allergic to butter or has some other health issue which might be triggered by eating butter therefore if your cat takes a bite of your buttery toast or licks some off of your plate, don’t be alarmed. However, it is a good idea to keep an eye on your little friends because it may cause some gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting or diarrhea.
As with all human foods, excessive consumption of butter in one go or regular consumption of it even in small amounts can cause more serious health issues.
Does Butter Help Coughing Up Hairballs?
Some cat parents give give melted butter to their cats in order to help them cough up hairballs easily thinking that butter is a natural way to lubricate cat’s throat. Frankly, although it is safe to give small amounts of butter to cats, giving it regularly could cause health issues so I, personally do not prefer butter over many products that are safe and specially designed for cats having difficulty with hairballs.
If you are looking for natural remedies to help your cat with hairballs, wheatgrass or special cat grass are safer options without the concerns over fat or salt.
Conclusion on Can Cats Eat Butter
Small amounts of butter that are given as occasional treats are not harmful to cats.
The main issue with butter is fat as opposed to other dairy products such as ice cream where the main issue is lactose.
The nutritional benefits that a cat can gain from butter is very little to none. Cats can get more nutrition from the same amount of cat food or meat compared to butter.
Butter contains some very harmful substances such as trans fatty acids and salt which can be deadly when combined with other factors such as the condition of your cat’s kidney.
The fat content of butter can contribute to obesity which is not what you would wish for your feline friend.
In the light of all these information my answer to the question “can cats eat butter” is yes but they shouldn’t because it is not worth all the risks involved.