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Can Cats Eat Margarine? Vet-Approved Health & Safety Guide

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Can Cats Eat margarine

Vet approved

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Luqman Javed

DVM (Veterinarian)

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

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Cats aren’t like dogs that will seemingly eat just about anything. However, some cats are more adventurous with their eating than others and will try all foods. Maybe you want to offer margarine to your cat, or perhaps they’re begging for some when you have it out at dinner. If you’re wondering if it’s safe for your cat to eat margarine, we’ve got the answer you need.

Margarine is not a good treat for cats because it’s not a natural and wholesome food containing the nutrition cats need. However, if your cat sneaks a lick of margarine now and then, it’s nothing to worry about because small quantities of margarine ingested by a healthy adult cat shouldn’t make them ill. Read on if you want to know more about why margarine should not be a part of your cat’s diet.

Why Margarine Isn’t a Good Treat for Cats

applehead siamese cat
Image Credit: woff, Shutterstock

Margarine is a food item made for human consumption. When you take the time to read the label on a margarine tub or container, you’ll realize that it’s mostly made of a vegetable oil base, such as soybean, corn, palm, canola, or olive oil mixed with water. Some manufacturers add in ingredients like salt, colorings, and natural or artificial flavorings to make their products appeal to their intended consumer base. As you may have guessed though, these ingredients aren’t healthy for cats.

Many people occasionally let their cats lick a bit of margarine because it looks like butter, but margarine isn’t butter because it contains no dairy. A cat’s dietary requirements are far different than what’s required for humans, and the ingredients used to make margarine aren’t suitable for cats.

Consequences of a Cat Eating Margarine

With its high fat and calorie content, margarine can be harmful to both humans and cats. If a cat is allowed to eat margarine every single day, they would likely develop gastrointestinal issues, not eat their recommended food (because the margarine’s high calorie content might make them feel satiated), gain weight, and, over time, develop issues associated with obesity.

Preventing Your Cat From Eating Margarine

If your cat loves margarine and will go to great lengths to eat some, you need to be on your toes! Remember that your cat’s well-being depends on the care and food you give them. You need ensure that your cat doesn’t have access to margarine, so you would want to start by keeping it out of their reach.

Here are some other tips and tricks to curb your feline’s margarine cravings:

  • Don’t allow your cat on the kitchen counter.
  • Don’t feed your cat table scraps.
  • Never leave margarine sitting out unattended.
  • Tell your children, family members, housemates, and guests not to feed your cat margarine (or any table scraps!).
  • Provide your cat with nutritious cat food and treats.
  • Offer your cat multiple small meals a day to keep them satiated; this may lessen their cravings for unhealthy snacks.
  • If your cat  begs for margarine, don’t cave in. If you repeatedly do so, your cat can quickly learn that all they need to do is beg, and your compliance may reinforce this unwanted behavior.

Be Smart When Giving Your Cat Treats

a tabby cat being fed a cat treat by hand
Image Credit: Jakub Zak, Shutterstock

Cats enjoy eating treats, just like we enjoy our human snacks! It’s fine to provide your cat with some treats as 5-10% of their daily nutritional intake. If you want to buy commercial cat treats, choose a healthy cat treat that is specifically made for cats and with minimal preservatives and flavorings. Natural options (for example: freeze dried treats) with a few ingredients, or, better yet, just a single ingredient, are better than overly processed treats.

You can whip up some homemade cat treats if you’d like! Choose treat recipes that are easy to make with clear, concise instructions.

If your cat has a taste preference for foods like chicken, search for cat treat recipes containing chicken. This will make your pet purr with delight. It can be a rewarding experience for you to watch your cat gobble down the treats you make with your own hands!

Know What Your Cat Needs Nutritionally

Cats have different nutritional needs than other pets like dogs and rabbits. It can be tricky to know how to properly feed a cat, especially if you’re a new cat owner.

If you are not sure what the best possible diet is for your cat at their current life stage, always consult a veterinarian or a cat nutritionist for additional advice. Remember that your feline friend is an individual just like you, and as such, they have unique needs that you will need to cater to.

That being said, some nutritional rules apply to all cats. The main point to remember is that cats are obligate carnivores, and this means they need protein that is derived from animal tissue. Never attempt to make your cat a vegetarian or vegan. Not only is this practice inhumane, but it may also be illegal where you live. Take the time to learn more about the nutritional needs of cats so that you’ll have a better idea of what to feed your furry friend.


While you should not worry if your cat sneaks a lick of margarine now and then, cats should not eat margarine regularly because this food has no beneficial nutrition for them. Margarine is made for human consumption. Learn all you can about the nutritional needs of cats so that you can provide them with the best care possible!
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Featured Image Credit: jackmac, Pixabay

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