Can Cats Eat Peanut Butter? Is it Safe?

Has your cat ever looked at you inquisitive while you are digging into a snack? Perhaps you are sitting there right now with some peanut butter on toast. You might be wondering to yourself, ‘is peanut butter OK to feed to my cat?’ Well, before you do, please read this… 

Can Cats Eat Peanut Butter?

No, cats should not have peanut butter unless a vet specifically says that they can. Peanut butter is not always poisonous to cats, but it is definitely not healthy to add to a cat’s diet because it is like junk food for cats.

Can cats eat peanut butter and bread

What Happens if a Cat Eats Peanut Butter?

In most cases, nothing will happen when cats eat peanut butter, but only if it is a bit of peanut butter. The issue is when cat owners give their cats too much peanut butter or as a regular treat. Peanut butter does not have the nutrients that your feline friend needs.

Cats can get a number of issues if they have too much peanut butter, from upset tummies to weight gain. However, the biggest issue is that giving a cat peanut butter can make them choke. If your cat happens to eat a bit of nut butter and it gets stuck in your cat’s mouth and throat, give your cat lots of water to help them wash the nut butter down.

If your cat still shows signs of choking, it would be best to bring them to a vet immediately. If your cat accidentally has nut butter, watch them for a couple hours to see if there are any concerns. A veterinarian will be able to properly clear their throat and any other possible issues that your cat may have.

Is Peanut Butter Safe for Cats?

Generally, no, peanut butter is not safe for cats. Nut butter is not extremely toxic to cats in most cases, but that does not mean they can have it regularly or as an occasional treat. It is not directly toxic, but it is still not ideal for cats.

Think about it like chips for humans. Chips do not have any health benefits for people, but too many chips can be bad for one’s health. As for cats, they are much smaller than humans, so if they eat peanut butter it can be very bad.

Moreover, there is a risk of choking when cats eat peanut butter. Most peanut butter brands are very heavy, thick and sticky, making it difficult to pass through their throats.

can cats eat peanut butter

Health Benefits of Peanut Butter for Cats

There are no real health benefits to cats eating peanut butter. Many pet owners think the answer to “Can cats eat peanut butter?”, is yes because dogs can eat peanut butter. However, felines have very different bodies to dogs, so it offers no nutrition to a cat.

Is Peanut Butter Bad for a Cat’s Health?

Yes, peanut butter can be bad for cats. Cats eating peanut butter is not directly bad, but there is no nutritional value. Overall, cats eating peanut butter can be worse for their health, so it would be best for cats to avoid nut butter altogether.

There Is No Nutrition

Overall, there is absolutely no nutritional value in nut butter for your cat. Cats are primarily carnivores, which means that they rely on meat for a balanced diet, usually containing fish and meats. Peanut butter’s nutritional value for pet is little to none, making it a better choice for dogs but not your feline friend.

Nut butter cannot provide the same nutritional value and protein as animal-based meats for your feline friend. Dogs can have some nut butter as a treat because they are partially omnivores, but felines stuck close to their ancestral diet.

They Need Animal Protein

Animal proteins provide the proper nutrition that a cat’s diet requires. Animal protein is your feline friend’s main source of energy, and it helps maintain their blood glucose concentrations. Plus, animal proteins contain essential amino acids for your cat.

Cats cannot eat peanuts as a replacement for protein in their diet because they require healthy animal products. Trying to switch your cat’s protein needs by letting your pet eat peanut butter will not be healthy for them. Feeding a cat peanut butter will be similar to giving them junk food.

They Can Choke

Most peanut butter brands are very sticky and thick, which most dogs can handle, but your cat may not be able to eat it safely. Nut butter is a choking hazard for felines because it can get stuck in a cat’s throat, making it one of the more dangerous foods for cats.

If your cat eats a few licks of the nut butter, it can already cause a hazard because cats’ throats are very small and susceptible to choking. It can irritate your pet’s mouth then get stuck in its throat. Therefore, they should never be left alone with too much peanut butter, but it would be best for pet owners to never give it at all.

is peanut butter poisonous to cats?

Lots of Calories

Peanut butter products are calorically dense, which means that even a small amount can be too much peanut butter for their bodies. Remember, a cat is very small compared to most dogs or humans, so many human foods (including nut butter) will have too many calories.

Cats typically only need 24-35 calories per pound per day. So, an 8-pound cat would only need around 192-280 calories a day. Of course, it would depend on your cat’s specific needs, but this is a general guide for most healthy felines.

A single teaspoon of peanut butter already contains 94 calories, meaning it is almost half of their calorie intake for the day! It would be best to give them foods that offer real health benefits since peanut butter offers none.

Salt and Dairy Content

Most jars of peanut butter that you find in the store contain dairy products and a load of salt. Both of these ingredients are very bad for a cat, wreaking havoc on their overall health.

Despite what most media shows, a cat cannot have dairy products because it is usually lactose intolerant. As for the salt, a cat has a very sensitive body that is not used to salt, and it can lead to obesity, heart problems, high blood pressure, etc.

Sugar Content

Most peanut butter products have a lot of added sugar, which is not good for cats. Sweeteners and table sugar are not part of a cat’s natural diet, meaning their bodies cannot process it properly.  While it is not toxic, it is definitely not good for their health.

A cat’s digestive system is meant to handle meat and certain foods like some carbohydrates and veggies. Cats’ digestive systems are not equipped to digest processed sugars, which are in most peanut butter products.

Giving your pet sugary products regularly can lead to a number of health problems. Sugar can cause the same issues in felines as it does in humans. For instance, sugar can cause obesity, tooth decay, diabetes, etc.

It is also important to remember that your feline pal can easily have too much sugar. A cat has a much smaller body than humans, so even a quarter of a teaspoon of sugar can be excessive.

Feline’s digestive systems can also show adverse reactions when cats ingest sugar. It can be similar to allergies to peanuts, which include vomiting, diarrhea, itching, etc.

Furthermore, many peanut butter products can contain sweeteners that are actually toxic to felines. For instance, xylitol along with other artificial sweeteners is very dangerous for a cat. Sweeteners like these can lead to liver damage, liver failure, an upset stomach, seizures, low blood sugar levels, etc.

Do cats love peanut butter

Full of Bad Fats

A lot of peanut butter is specifically created to last for a long time, meaning that it has a lot of trans fatty acids. These fatty acids can be very toxic to a cat, so it is best to steer clear of them.

Most commercial brands also contain a lot of vegetable oil, which is not good for a cat either. Excess fat and oil consumption can cause obesity, heart problems, liver damage, etc.

Painful Stomachs

A cat is used to eating a heavily meat-based diet, so that is what their stomachs can handle. Cats can eat a little grass and carbohydrates, but they rely on animal protein to stay healthy. A cat can get an upset stomach when they eat peanut butter because their bodies are not used to it.

Gastrointestinal upset is a common side effect that occurs when a cat eats peanut butter. Gastrointestinal upset happens because their tummies are trying to digest the nut butter. Nut butter contains sugar, fats, oils, etc., which your cat’s tummy is not accustomed to digesting. It can cause a painful stomach, gas, vomiting, diarrhea, etc.

Potential Poisoning

A huge reason why peanut butter can be dangerous to a cat is because of accidental poisoning. Rat poison often has peanut butter to attract rodents, fooling the rodent into eating the poison. If your cat develops a taste for nut butter, they could accidentally poison themselves if they find rat poison, especially if your feline likes to hang outside.

Aflatoxins

Another reason why cats and peanut butter do not mix is that peanuts have aflatoxins. Aflatoxins are a kind of mycotoxin. Mold colonizes peanuts when they are underground, creating these toxins.

Mycotoxins can cause cancer, and it is one of the number one causes of cancer on Earth. They are also very bad for the liver, leading to liver damage and liver cancer.

Can cats have a little bit of peanut butter

Do Cats Like Peanut Butter?

If your cat decides to try a lick of peanut butter, it is likely that they are curious, and not because the cat likes peanut butter. Felines, especially ones that love to eat, will often want to try the food that you eat because they wonder what the taste and texture are like.

Moreover, felines cannot even differentiate sweet flavors, so a cat cannot have a sweet tooth. If your cat tries to taste peanut butter, it may taste the umami and fat flavors. However, it will likely not be because your cat likes peanut butter.

Felines have fewer taste buds compared to dogs and people. People have around 9,000 and dogs have about 1,700, whereas a cat only has 470. So, giving your cat a “sweet treat” will not mean much to them, and it is unhealthy.

Are Cats Allergic to Peanut Butter?

Similar to humans, your cat can have peanut allergies. Moreover, it is possible for them to develop a peanut allergy over time. Therefore, they can be born with an allergy and you may not know, or your cat may eventually develop one.

Some symptoms of allergies can be mild, but very uncomfortable. However, it can be dangerous in some cases, especially if they have a lot of nut butter or are severely allergic to nuts. They will require immediate attention from a vet if your cat suffers from signs of distress or discomfort after eating peanut butter.

Symptoms of Peanut Butter Allergies
Your cat can show signs of allergies to peanuts. Some common symptoms of allergies in a cat’s body include:

Skin irritation
Itchy skin
Diarrhea
Chronic ear infections
Vomiting
Stomach pains/Gastrointestinal upset
Weak appetite, weight loss

The symptoms can vary depending on your cat and how much peanut butter they ate. If your cat shows any of these symptoms, it would be best to take them to a vet immediately. Allowing allergies to fester can be very uncomfortable and painful for many cats.

Can Cats Eat Peanut Butter

Can Kittens Have Peanut Butter?

No, kittens cannot have peanut butter. Nut butter cannot be given as special treats for kittens or adults because it is not healthy. An adult cat will not benefit from nut butter, so a kitten cannot either.

Moreover, a kitten’s body is more sensitive than an adult cat’s body. A kitten can have more severe reactions to peanut butter than an adult cat. It would be best for kittens to continue their regular diets.

Are All Kinds of Peanut Butter Bad for Cats?

In most cases, all kinds of peanut butter can be bad for a cat. Most commercial brands contain a lot of harmful ingredients, making it a bad choice for cat parents to give to their pets. It would be ideal to stick to their regular diet and other kitten-approved snacks.

When Can a Cat Have Peanut Butter?

So, is there any exception to “Can cats eat peanut butter?”. In very rare cases, a veterinarian might recommend peanut butter to a cat. However, it will likely be to cover a medicine capsule in a bit of peanut butter. If your cat likes it, then they will be able to easily consume the medication.

Furthermore, a veterinarian may recommend pure peanut butter, meaning the ingredients are only peanuts with no additives to coat medication. Otherwise, there is no other reason to give your cat nut butter.

All in All

The general answer to, “Can cats eat peanut butter?”, is no, they cannot have peanut butter. Peanut butter offers no nutrition to a cat, making it a very unhealthy snack for your pet. Cats and peanut butter do not go together. It can cause more problems than benefits, so it would be best to stick to healthier snacks instead.

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References: 

  1. ASPCA, ‘People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets’, https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/people-foods-avoid-feeding-your-pets, Date Accessed – 30 July, 2021
  2. Veterinary Practice, ‘The cat as a carnivore: proteins, carbohydrates and beyond…’, https://veterinary-practice.com/article/the-cat-as-a-carnivore-proteins-carbohydrates-and-beyond, Date Accessed – 30 July, 2021
  3. Pets WebMD, ‘Mistakes People Make Feeding Cats’, https://pets.webmd.com/cats/guide/mistakes-people-make-feeding-cats#1, Date Accessed – 30 July, 2021
  4. Bond Vet, ‘Can Cats Eat Sweets: What You Should Know About Cats and Sugary Treats’, https://bondvet.com/b/can-cats-eat-sweets-what-you-should-know-about-cats-and-sugary-treats., Date Accessed – 30 July, 2021
  5. VCA Hospitals, ‘Food Allergies in Cats’, https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/food-allergies-in-cats, Date Accessed – 30 July, 2021

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