Most veterinarians would say no, cats shouldn’t eat peanut butter. Cats are obligate carnivores and their diet should consist mostly of meat. Peanut butter contains high levels of fat and sodium, and is very calorie-dense. Can cats eat peanut butter and live? Sure, but it’s not worth the risk.
Peanut Butter Provides No Nutritional Value for Cats
Cats are carnivores, so their bodies are not able to digest plant-based proteins the way dogs’ can. That’s why most human food is not a good choice for felines. The protein in peanut butter is not easily absorbed by them and can actually do more harm than good.
Everything your pet needs is already there in their cat food. Peanut butter provides no nutritional value for cats – it’s a waste of time. If that doesn’t convince you, let’s break down the risks.
Peanut Butter Is High in Fat
The fat in peanut butter is unhealthy for cats. They’re getting enough from cat food, and adding more is a bad idea. Too much fat in your cat’s diet can cause weight gain, pancreatitis, and other health issues. Also, some manufacturers may add hydrogenated fats to their peanut butter to keep it from separating. These fats, called trans fats, can be even more harmful to cats.
Peanut Butter Is (Usually) High in Sodium
Salt is added to most brands of peanut butter as a preservative. It’s fine for humans, but too much sodium isn’t good for cats. A high salt diet can cause dehydration and increase the risk of heart disease.
Can cats eat peanut butter without additives? The other concerns still apply. Most of the fat content comes from peanuts themselves, not from added ingredients. So even an all-natural peanut butter is generally not a good idea.
Peanut Butter Is Calorie Dense
Indoor cats are already prone to weight gain, as they’re not getting as much exercise as their wild counterparts. An excess of calories can lead to all sorts of health problems, including diabetes and heart disease. That’s why it’s recommended to limit the number of meals your adult cat eats daily.
If you were to give them snacks like peanut butter, you would need to count the calories and give them less of their normal food, which means their diet would be less nutritious in general.
Can Cats Eat Peanut Butter and Be Fine?
What if your cat licks some peanut butter off a knife in the sink? Are they going to be fine? A little peanut butter now and then isn’t going to do your cat any harm. But if you’re letting them indulge in peanut butter every day, that’s too much.
If your cat eats an alarming amount of peanut butter off your bread when you’re not looking, don’t panic – call your veterinarian for advice. They may want you to bring them in for a check-up, but chances are they’ll be just fine.
Check the label, though, as store-bought spreads may contain additives that are toxic to cats, such as xylitol. Symptoms of xylitol poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy.
Is There a Safe Amount of Peanut Butter as a Treat?
Now you might be wondering, can cats eat peanut butter in small amounts as a treat? If you want to give your cat something special, there are much better – and safer – options out there.
Canned tuna or salmon (in water) is a good choice, as is cooked chicken. You can also find freeze-dried treats made from meat or fish. If you want to give your cat something you have at home, opt for a boiled egg – it’s nutritious and tasty at the same time!
Can You Give Your Cat Peanuts?
While we’re on the subject, can cats eat peanuts? The answer is no. Peanuts are a type of legume, and like all legumes, they’re high in carbohydrates. Cats’ bodies can’t digest carbs efficiently, so they’ll just end up passing them – or worse, they could get an upset stomach. They could also choke on a peanut.
Can you give your cat a peanut to play with? If you drop a peanut on the floor and your cat enjoys rolling it around, that’s fine. Keep an eye on them, though, to make sure they don’t accidentally crunch it and choke on a piece.
How About Other Nuts?
What about other nuts? Can cats eat almonds, cashews, or pistachios? Again, no. These nuts are also high in carbohydrates and fat and can cause health problems in cats. Stick to treats specifically made for cats, like those mentioned earlier.
Can Cats Eat Peanut Butter Dog Treats?
If you’re making some peanut butter treats for your dog and wonder if your cat can have them too, the answer is no. Dogs can eat peanuts and other nuts in moderation, but cats really shouldn’t. It doesn’t matter how much peanut butter is in the treats, as the recipe will typically include flour, which means even more unnecessary carbs for your kitty!
Don’t Feed Your Cat Peanut Butter – Period
In short, can cats eat peanut butter? No, they shouldn’t. Peanut butter contains too much fat, sodium, and calories, and provides no nutritional value. But if your cat licks a little off your finger once in a while, you don’t have to worry. Just make sure the peanut butter you were eating doesn’t contain any harmful additives or too much salt.
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