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Home > Cats > Can Cats Eat Margarine? Vet-Approved Facts & Safety Guide

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

Can Cats Eat Margarine

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Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca

Veterinarian, BVSc GPCert (Ophthal) MRCVS

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?

Margarine is not toxic to cats; if your cat eats a tiny bit of margarine, they are unlikely to get sick. However, just because margarine is not poisonous doesn’t mean that your cat should have it. Margarine is an unhealthy treat for your cat and can even be dangerous depending on the amount consumed. It is not recommended to offer margarine to your cat as a treat because there are much healthier options that your cat will love. If you would like to introduce any human foods to your cat, you should always consult with your veterinarian first.


Will Margarine Poison My Cat?

If your cat’s already eaten margarine, don’t worry—margarine isn’t poisonous to cats. A lick or two shouldn’t hurt your cat. If your cat eats more than that, it may cause them digestive upset such as vomiting or diarrhea. 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 at once will make your cat sick, but it is also not recommended to offer your cat small amounts of margarine on a regular basis.

Closeup of a Tub of Margarine
Image by: 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, because cats are obligate carnivores, they must eat a balanced diet that is centered on proteins of animal origin. They also need some carbohydrates and fats because a diet that consists only of protein is not complete and balanced. Any treats or extra foods that you give your cat should consist mainly of protein. Margarine contains a minimum of 80% of fat; therefore, if your cat eats margarine, they are not eating other healthier foods that would provide what they need. 

Sometimes margarine is combined with other ingredients (for example, with garlic) to make a buttery garlic bread spread. This situation is quite dangerous, as garlic is toxic to cats, especially in its dried form. If your cat consumes margarine with garlic, even a small amount, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.

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. If this is a new behavior in your kitty, it is essential to speak to your vet about your cat’s situation. Some health issues can cause your cat to be extremely hungry to the point of stealing food that they have never been interested in before.

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 they can beg for food will only make the problem worse.
  • Educate other people in your home about the best food for cats.
  • Measure your cat’s food every day and ensure they are getting the amount they need to fulfill their dietary needs. 
  • 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 they shouldn’t have.

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Wrapping It Up

Margarine is not toxic to cats, but overall, margarine isn’t the best choice for your cat either. Eating large amounts of margarine can make your cat sick, and eating any amount regularly is unhealthy. However, if your cat licks a bit of margarine from the floor when you aren’t looking, don’t worry. A tiny bit should not harm your cat. Just avoid offering it voluntarily. 

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Featured Image Credit: Love-the-wind, Shutterstock

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