Cats and butter

Can anyone tell me if there is any truth to the tale that putting butter on a cat’s paws will stop it from running away from a new home? Lots of people have told me it’s true, but I haven’t been able to find any concrete evidence for it.

Thanks in advance,


It is an old wive’s tale. The “rationale” is supposedly that the cat likes the butter and will associate this pleasurable experience with its new home.

Cats love routine. They don’t like new situations like moving to a new house. Just keep the cat indoors for a couple of weeks so it becomes habituated to the new surroundings. Once it feels comfortable and secure in the new home, you are all set.

Personally, I would never let any of my cats roam around outside. Indoor only cats live longer, cost less in vet bills and you never find one squished in the street.

ASPCA- Reasons to Keep a Cat Indoors


Wouldn’t it be easier to just give the cat a chunk of butter? (Or something they’d actually like?)

The one time I heard it, I thought the reasoning was that you could leave the cat without worrying he/she’d run away right away before they got used to the house 'cause it would have to spend so much time getting rid of the *%#&$ butter.

      • It is true, sort of: putting 300 lbs of butter on a cat will keep it from running away to a new home. Unless it’s a really big cat.

Sorry I’m late. I had to butter the cat.

With some cats, if you can distract them from what’s freaking them out, you might be able to break the cycle of freaking out. So, if you stick butter on their paws, they have to clean their paws and by the time they get done, they’re over the freaking out.

For other cats, putting butter on their paws will just freak them out more, they’ll gallop all over the new house, and then you’ll have little buttery paw prints everywhere.

I’ve found that lavish stroking plus a dish of their favorite food is much more effective. After that, leave the cat to explore or hide, depending on his or her personality.

I like to “butter the cat” as much as the next guy, but y’know, there’s a time and a place for it…

When we moved house I was planning to keep our cat in for the recommended three weeks. After just one day she seem so relaxed and laid-back about the whole moving thing I decided to let her outside. There was no trouble, she took a peek outside, had a good sniff of her surroundings and came back inside. She then went outside and came back when it suited her.

One thing I did notice is that every time she came back into the house for the first few weeks she went straight to our dog and made a real fuss of him. Then she would come to us humans. I suppose that going up to the dog was reassurance to her that everything was fine, he and my wife and I were still there and there wasn’t any point in trying to get back to her old home a hundred miles away.

I think you’re supposed to butter the cat’s back and throw it in the air. It’ll just float in the air, unable to decide which way down it should fall.

Well, if you get the cat to eat, then you’re on the road to acceptance. But there is a better way- don’t let the cat out.

We had outdoor cats.


Jingles and Larry where lost to foxes or coyotes. Don’t know for sure. We learned.

I’m sorry for that.

Now we have indoor cats. They do great. We also have two medium sized dogs (60 lbs). They are safe outside. Safe as me anyway.

But we still keep the dogs fenced in, and have a doggie door so they can do there thing.

Heh. I’ve moved the doggie door 1, 2, 3, 4 times. Had an extra for a while, when I was worried that my aging Lab may not be able to climb stairs to get back into the house.

I agree. I should have mentioned in my post that eating can help settle a nervous cat after a move. But letting the cat out is unwise at the best of times, and directly after a move isn’t the best of times.

It seems to me, reading various threads about indoor / outdoor cats, that a higher proportion of Brits let their cats outside compared to folks in the US. The reason could be less predators such as coyotes and snakes.

We live in a very quiet road with no through traffic. Our cat also has very good road sense. When she hears a car she either runs back down the driveway , or hides under a parked car.

Sorry, to me keeping cats indoors is bizarrely unnatural and inhumane. Sort of like keeping baby calfs penned in a barn. Or a parakeet in a two-foot cage. Indoor cats are flabby, pale, and mentally dull. That’s a human’s perception of a cat, but it ain’t a cat.

Cats need to hunt bugs, climb trees, chase squirrels, wander in the bushes, and run away from dogs. If they get hit by a car, or taken by a coyote, that’s a sad thing. But cats have been dealing with misfortunes like that for several thousand years. Keeping them confined to a condo is cruelty.

So shoot me.

Er, pale? As far as I can tell, cats don’t change color when they’re feeling peakish.

A little late, but good one scr4 :smiley:

Not mine. He’s fast, lean, trim and smarter than your average tabby. He’s never been outside to speak of. Now, sure, we play a lot- and I have a special window where he can get sun and watch the birdies.

Outdoor cats are…well, what they are is **dead ***a lot *sooner than they should be. :frowning:

But we are getting into GD or IMHO territory here.

I just have to add thta keeping your cat indoors only works if you got your cat indoors. If you take in a stray, you are likely to have a home that smells like cat urine.

I took in a stray 17 years ago. She has had quite a life. She has Holyfield Ear and, accoording to her vet, a bb lodged next to her shoulder blade. Still she has always had a warm bed and full bowl of food to come home to, so she’s doing better than a lot of humans. She’s a great cat; she simply has no use for a litter box.

The OP has been answered.

We’re not going to debate indoor vs. outdoor cats in GQ. Anyone who wishes to discuss indoor vs. outdoor cats is invited to open a thread in IMHO or GD.

This is closed.

DrMatrix - GQ Moderator