Can Cats Eat Butter?

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Cats are notorious thieves when it comes to food left out on the counter. I can’t recall how many times I’ve found my cat licking from the butter dish when it was accidentally left out. So what happens when they do? Can cats eat butter?

» You might also be interested in whether your cat can eat bread, mangoes, or tuna safely.

cat licking lips - can cats eat cheese

If you leave food on a counter top, chances are your feline friend will help themselves to a taste. But what if your cat ate some butter? Will it cause any issues that need to be addressed? And just how should you go about keeping them from doing it again? We’ve got answers for you in this article.


» You might find this interesting. Are Cats Ticklish?

Can Cats Eat Butter?

Like everything else a cat might get into, whether or not it harms your cat depends on what kind it is they’ve eaten. Butter, as well as any other type of dairy, is not great for a cat’s digestive tract.

According to Advantage Petcare, “Most cats are naturally lactose intolerant, meaning that cow’s milk and dairy products made from it – like butter or cheese – can upset their stomachs, causing vomiting and diarrhea.”

Is Butter Bad For Cats?

You can rest easy that butter is not toxic to cats and will not lead to immediate danger for your cat. The problem with butter is digestion related, due to the dairy and the high level of fat in butter.

Take note of how much they have eaten. Cats aren’t good at digesting dairy, and therefore they shouldn’t eat very much butter. Your cat should never eat more butter than the size of your thumbnail in one sitting.

More than that can cause stomach issues that lead to discomfort in the short run, and chronic issues with digestion if they continue to do it.

Lactose Intolerance in Cats

Cats lack the enzyme lactase which allows animals to digest dairy. Because of this, dairy products such as butter often upset their stomachs. It’s also possible for your cat to be allergic to dairy products, which could cause a serious reaction.

cat at vet

If your cat has eaten butter, watch for vomiting, diarrhea, and general signs of them not feeling well (fatigue etc.). This may mean they ingested a large amount of butter or are having a bad reaction to it. If your cat is sick for over a day, call your vet and consult with a veterinarian. They might be lactose intolerant.

Felines are obligate carnivores, which means they don’t need dairy in their diets to survive. Those old clichés about cats drinking milk are not true! While dairy does provide some protein that can be good for their diets, it’s not worth the risk to purposely give them butter or milk.

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Preventing Your Cat From Eating Butter

cat getting treat

You’re going to want to do what you can to prevent your cat from eating things they shouldn’t. This includes butter, but also any other dairy products or fatty foods they can’t properly digest.

The best way to prevent a cat from eating butter is to always put it away as soon as you’re done. You can keep it in the refrigerator or in a butter dish with a lid, if you want.

Keep cats off the counter tops. It’s not always as easy as it sounds to do this, but making sure the kitchen is clean and devoid of any left out food will help. You can also train your cat not to go up there by putting them down on the floor immediately when they jump up and rewarding them for staying down.

Another way to discourage cats from eating things that are left out is to keep them on a feeding schedule and make sure they are satisfied with the amount of food they’re given.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my cat like butter so much?

Cats love food that is high in fat and tastes good to them. We all know that cats are not incredibly discerning when it comes to flavor. It’s possible they like butter because it’s devoid of flavor and has a pleasing texture. But just because they like it doesn’t make it good for them.

Can cats have butter to help with hairballs?

It’s been said that butter can act as a lubricant to help cats hack up that atrocious hairball that’s been lodged in their stomach. Is it an old wives’ tale? Feeding your cat butter for this purpose is not a great idea. Too much butter can cause lasting effects. It’s better to give your cat the proper medicine needed for hairballs, which you can get from your vet.

Can cats have butter to help their coats stay shiny?

Now this one really is a myth. Feeding your cat butter for the sake of getting a shiny coat is completely counterintuitive. It’s not a good idea. Don’t do it.


Your cat isn’t likely to die from eating butter, so that’s good! But if you’re asking can cats eat butter, you should definitely note that it’s not good for them and can cause issues both in the moment and long term. It’s best to limit your cat to a raw food diet or satisfy his hunger with dried food instead.


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Can Cats Eat Butter?

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