Nutrition

Can Cats Eat Peanut Butter? Is Peanut Butter Safe For Cats?

Learn all about cats and peanut butter. Is this a safe treat for felines? Can cats be allergic to it? We have everything feline owners need to know.

Danielle DeGroot

Last Updated: July 7, 2022 | 5 min read

Cat licking cutting board with peanut butter spooned out

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Can cats eat peanut butter? Feline owners may notice that their kitty might seem highly interested in this common human snack. It is an ingredient in many of our favorite treats from cookies to stuffed pretzels. It may seem ok to allow pets to share foods, especially things as tasty as nut butter. Dogs love peanut butter, so it may seem logical to assume it is safe for felines.

Knowing what human snacks are ok for kitty consumption is an essential part of being a responsible pet parent. As a general rule, cats should not share human snacks. There are far too many fillers, fats, high sugar content, and artificial ingredients that, while not all toxic, can be hard for the feline body to digest and break down.

Feeding felines human foods is tricky, some are safe, and some can be dangerous. While kitty might love the taste of this salty, sweet food, feline owners should watch out for kitties eating this salty snack. We answer the most asked questions about cats eating peanut butter.

Can Cats Have Peanut Butter?

This is a tasty snack that humans eat all the time and one that even dogs love. However, felines are another story. Plain, unsalted peanuts are not toxic to cats, so a plain peanut here and there will not be a big deal. Kitties actually love the salty, nutty taste. However, peanuts have zero nutritional value for kitties. They need a meat-based diet. They are obligate carnivores and need animal proteins to develop properly and be healthy. Felines cannot sustain eating a plant-based diet, and even high protein foods like peanuts do nothing for them nutritionally.

Unlike plain peanuts, spreads have several added ingredients and are not safe for kitties. Added sweeteners can contain chemicals that are toxic to cats. Many varieties are high in added oils and fats. Most big brands use roasted peanuts, which have a higher salt and oil content than raw peanuts. So, while eating raw, unsalted peanuts very occasionally is not the worst thing your cat can eat, spreads should be off-limits all the time.

Do Cats Like Peanut Butter?

Many kitties do like the taste of peanut butter. It has a salty flavor they are drawn to. Cats cannot taste sweet things, so it is more the salt than the sweet that draws them in. Felines can be highly attracted to salty food. Salt is one of the primary flavors they can taste. Kitties do not have as many taste buds as some other animal species and taste mainly salt, sour, and bitter flavors, as well as umami. Peanut spread may attract them due to its high salt. Cats have an enhanced sense of smell and can detect foods with high salt. Always keep this food in a sealed container away from the kitty’s reach.

Is Peanut Butter Good For Cats?

Spreads like nut butter are not good for cats. While a few peanuts or a bit of spread that contains only peanuts may not be toxic for a kitty, that does not make it good for them. It has no nutritional value and is not something that would ever be part of a feline’s natural diet. A kitty will do much better with a meat-based treat, formulated specifically for them.

Is Peanut Butter Bad For Cats?

Peanut butter can be bad for felines and can cause them some physical discomfort, even worse if they eat too much. This is due to some of the ingredients used in making the spread.

Xylitol is an added ingredient used in artificial sweeteners. This additive is toxic to felines and can cause them to get sick. Symptoms include drooling, lethargy, nausea, vomiting, seizures, mobility issues, liver failure, and more. Always read human food labels before feeding your cat anything. Xylitol is common in candy, gum, baked goods, condiments, syrups, drink powders, and nut butter.

Added sodium in human foods like nuts can be hard for a kitty to handle. They are very susceptible to getting too much salt. When kitties overdo it on salt, it can lead to severe health issues. Dehydration, excessive thirst, heart issues, excessive urination, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, seizures, and more can develop after a feline ingests too much salt.

Elevated levels of oil and fat can cause discomfort and gastrointestinal distress to felines. Bloating, stomach pain, discomfort, vomiting, and diarrhea can occur if felines ingest too much. Cats with sensitive stomachs can be particularly susceptible to discomfort from eating this spread.

Weight gain is a big concern for cats that eat too much fat. These spreads are often high in added fats and sugars. Kitties who eat human foods regularly will be susceptible to weight gain, diabetes, and all the health concerns that come from being overweight.

Allergy is a concern as well when feeding human foods to pets. Some kitties are allergic to peanuts and will experience moderate to severe reactions after eating them. Peanut allergies are not life-threatening to felines, but they can have an extremely uncomfortable reaction. Itchy skin on the head and neck, as well as gastrointestinal symptoms, can occur.

Peanut butter can be a choking hazard due to its thick consistency, so felines should never have free reign or be fed a significant amount.

What Happens If My Cat Eats Peanut Butter?

If a cat eats a small amount as an isolated incident, it will usually be ok. Still, it is never a good idea to feed this to kitties regularly. A lick or two will not hurt them, but more than that is never wise. If you suspect your cat has eaten a large amount or see any signs of an adverse reaction, it is best to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Feline Treat Alternatives

Peanut butter is a tasty treat but not appropriate for felines. There are plenty of delicious, more suitable options to feed a cat. Owners can try the following ideas instead to offer a kitty variety in their diets or an occasional treat.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can cats eat a PB&J sandwich?

Kitties should not be fed PB&J sandwiches. Nothing in that snack is healthy for felines or is part of their natural diet. Do not feed your cat this snack. It is too high in sugar, fat, and potentially toxic ingredients.

Is a cat eating peanut butter an emergency?

A small amount is usually not an emergency but can be if they ingest too much or start showing severe symptoms. Call your vet immediately if you suspect your cat is experiencing distress or an extreme reaction.

Is there any peanut butter safe for cats?

There are animal-safe varieties that may be better for a feline to consume. Varieties that do not have xylitol are best. Avoid sugar-free kinds as they use artificial sweeteners toxic to felines. Organic varieties with no sugar and only crushed peanuts may be safer. However, this food should not be a regular part of a cat’s diet.

Final Thoughts

Peanut butter is not a great treat for a kitty. While peanuts themselves are not toxic to felines, it often includes many different ingredients like added sugars, oils, and fats that are not healthy for them. Some substances, like xylitol, are toxic to cats and can cause them discomfort and pain and lead to serious health concerns. There are much healthier, better options for kitties than human snacks. Kitties get everything they need from a well-balanced cat food formulated for them. Owners should always discuss any concerns about their feline’s diet with their veterinarian rather than supplementing with human foods.

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