A significant responsibility of cat owners is to figure out the right thing our furry friends can consume to stay healthy and live a healthy lifespan. Butter is a yummy treat, and as a cat owner, you might want to share a nibble or two with your cat, but can cats eat butter?
Yes, cats can eat but shouldn’t eat butter. If your cat has a habit of raiding the kitchen and licking butter behind your back, you should start making butter inaccessible to your cat as soon as possible. The risk of your cat eating butter comes from the lactose content in butter.
Cats are lactose intolerant; hence taking lactose from any source can affect their healthy self. Although butter isn’t poisonous to cats, taking in butter puts them at risk of malnutrition and several other serious health issues.
What Happens If A Cat Eats Butter?
Butter might seem like a great addition to your cat’s diet, considering that they love milk, and butter also turns out to be a dairy product. Yet, it is essential to note that we cannot let our cats make their diet choices. That’s why they have you.
Cats are naturally curious animals; they love anything that tastes good and loves to try new things, so just because they are taking it doesn’t mean it’s right for them. It’s your duty as a cat owner to sort out their diet and ensure they take only the appropriate meals, treats, and snacks.
The nutritional value of butter includes vitamin A, D, calcium, protein, and others. Hence, it might seem like a great choice. However, it is vital to remember that butter also contains around 80% saturated fats, which isn’t healthy for cats, unlike unsaturated fats.
The fats can lead to an increase in weight in your cat alongside several other health complications due to the content of the butter. Let’s take a look at some of these health-related issues.
Obesity is a primary health implication you should watch out for if you feed your cat butter. Butter contains excessive saturated fats, which can cause an increase in the weight of your cat. Aside from this, butter also contains trans fatty acids. These acids are added to products to increase shelf lives, and they can cause digestive and heart-related issues for your cat.
Pancreatitis may also be a consequence of butter intake in your cat. The pancreas is a vital organ responsible for regulating blood sugar and releasing enzymes that will aid digestion in cats. When pancreatitis happens, the digestive enzymes are released within the pancreas instead of the intestine, and the pancreas starts to become inflamed.
Although the exact cause of pancreatitis isn’t known, it is said that ingestion of a diet rich in fats might be among the reasons. It is a severe condition that can usually lead to cat diabetes. Some of its symptoms include lethargy and lack of appetite.
Another reason butter isn’t suitable for your cats is their lactose intolerance. Research has shown that cats are mostly lactose intolerant. Even though butter has a lower lactose value than other dairy products, it can still trigger lactose intolerance when taken in large quantities.
Lactose intolerance in cats means that they have trouble digesting lactose (milk sugar) available in food sources such as milk and butter. For a furry friend to digest lactose, your cat’s digestive system must contain the lactase enzymes responsible for digesting lactose.
However, as your cats grow, they begin to produce less lactase, making it hard to digest lactose. Thus, if your cat ingests lactose food sources, it might result in vomiting, diarrhea, tummy upsets, and discomfort.
In addition, fatty foods for cats increase their chances of getting cancer and put them at the risk of skin, pancreas, liver, and several other diseases. Although butter contains some nutrients and is a good source of vitamins, it is advisable not to feed your cat because the cons outweigh the benefits.
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Does Butter Help Hairballs In Cats?
It is a common myth that butter helps cats cough out hairballs better but is this true? If you don’t give your cat butter, will they have difficulty coughing out hairballs? Are there alternatives? These questions run through your head as a cat owner.
Truly, melted butter is a good hairball remedy. It acts as a lubricator for the hairball to pass through without difficulty. Yet, if you do not give your cat butter, they would still be able to cough out hairballs.
Cats have been coughing out hairballs without help for centuries; it is normal cat behavior. However, if you are worried about your cat going through any discomfort, you can seek other healthy alternatives. You can ask for a recommendation from a veterinarian or take your cat on a visit to a vet if they have difficulty breathing due to a hairball stuck in their throat.
It might be frightening watching your cat cough and try to expel hairballs in its stomach. Still, it would help if you didn’t feed your cat butter. There are many products nowadays designed to help with the removal of hairballs. However, below are some home remedies you might want to try out. Ensure to talk to your vet before trying out alternatives that might alter your cat’s usual diet.
Brushing a cat’s fur is a simple remedy for helping your cat. Have you ever wondered why cats cough out hairballs? They do so because they love to groom themselves by licking their coat, but cats shed a lot of fur. Hence, in licking, they swallow a lot of loose hairs.
This hair accumulates to form hairballs in them, and when they become uncomfortable, cats look for a way to expel them, and thus, they cough it out. Therefore, if you brush your cat’s coat regularly, you can help remove those loose hairs and help your cat swallow less hair, reducing regular discomfort while trying to vomit the hairballs.
Feeding your cat more healthy oils can also help. Fish oil, olive oil, corn oil are all great oils you can add to your cat’s meal to help aid the expulsion of the balls. Rather than melted butter, oils can act as an excellent grease to help your cat cough out hairballs more easily.
Olive oil, for example, eases digestion. Thus adding a little bit of olive oil to your cat food can help your cat pass out those swallowed hairs through stools instead of coughing it out.
Will Butter Hurt A Cat?
Technically, butter won’t hurt a cat, but it can lead to profound health implications if consumed in large quantities. The high saturated fat, lactose, and salt levels may cause a severe medical problem for your furry friend.
As they grow, a cat’s digestive system is built to get its required nutrients from meat products and some plant sources, not dairy products. So although it won’t necessarily kill your cat at a go, it can do a lot worse.
For instance, a high caloric intake can increase weight. Suppose your cat isn’t an active outdoor cat. In that case, it might be difficult to metabolize the extra calories, making your cat obese, which may lead your furry friend to depression due to being unable to participate fully in activities.
Cats won’t die if they mistakenly ingest butter, or you feed them a nibble once in a while, but it is advisable to keep them far away from it to help them stay healthy and away from the risk of several health issues.
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Shawn Manaher is a serial entrepreneur but when he isn’t working, he loves dogs. He’s owned different pets over the years, and always gives a part of his heart to each pet.