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Can Cats Eat Margarine? Vet Approved Health & Safety Facts


Jun 23, 2023
scooping margarine using knife


scooping margarine using knife
Dr. Athena Gaffud Photo

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Cats can be adventurous eaters. Some are tempted by new smells, while others want to get a piece of whatever their favorite human eats. If your cat is begging you for a lick of margarine, is that okay?

Cats can eat a little bit of margarine without getting sick. But just because your cat can doesn’t mean it should. Margarine is an unhealthy treat for your cat and can even be dangerous over time. It’s best to give them a different treat.


Will Margarine Poison My Cat?

If your cat’s already eaten margarine, don’t worry—margarine isn’t poisonous to cats. A few licks won’t hurt your cat, and even if your cat eats a little more than a few licks, it will only lead to an upset stomach. Margarine is usually made of processed vegetable fats. That’s not something that will seriously hurt your cat. In fact, similar ingredients are occasionally found in cat food. Eating too much will make your cat sick, but the recommendation to avoid margarine is more about the long-term health effects.

Closeup of a Tub of Margarine
Image Credit: tim elliott, Shutterstock

Why Margarine Isn’t Healthy for Cats

There are several reasons why margarine isn’t a healthy choice for your cat.

First, cats need a balanced diet that is centered on animal fats and proteins. They also need a small amount of plant food in their diet to give them nutrients that plain meat might lack. In general, plant fats and proteins are harder on your cat’s digestive system than meat products. That’s why you shouldn’t feed your cat a vegan diet, even if it is high in protein. Margarine, which is generally vegetable fat, isn’t very healthy in large quantities.

In addition, cats need some fat in their diet, but not too much. Margarine is almost 100% fat, so it’s not surprising that eating too much can be bad for them.

Margarine also has quite a bit of sodium—one tablespoon has about 0.284 mg. While your cat may not eat a full tablespoon of margarine that may lead to salt toxicity or dehydration, it’s better to avoid it altogether.

Preventing Your Cat From Eating Human Food

If your cat is a food stealer, you may have to work to prevent your cat from eating margarine and other unhealthy foods.

Here are some important ways to help keep them out of your food:

  • Keep margarine and butter in the fridge or a covered dish, not out on the counter.
  • Don’t let your cat on the counter. If you have an enclosed kitchen, consider locking it out, especially when you’re cooking.
  • Don’t give in to begging. Teaching your cat that it can beg for food will only make the problem worse.
  • Educate other people in your home about the best food for cats.
  • Feed your cat several smaller meals instead of one large meal.
  • Use a food topper or broth to soften dry food, add flavor, and increase hydration.
  • Pay attention to your cat’s feces. Changes in feces can signal a health issue or tell you that your cat ate something it shouldn’t have.


Wrapping It Up

Overall, margarine isn’t the best choice for your cat. Eating large amounts of margarine can make your cat sick, and eating any amount regularly is unhealthy. However, if your cat does eat som margarine when you aren’t looking, don’t worry. A small amount won’t be dangerous to your cat.

Featured Image Credit: Love-the-wind, Shutterstock

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