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Can Cats Eat Peanut Butter? What You Need to Know!

Do your cats bother you for a taste when you’re enjoying a snack? They will likely poke around nosily, wondering what kind of goodies you’re preparing. Peanut butter can be questionable since so many humans can be allergic to this little legume — as can any critter.

But don’t fret. The truth is, it’s totally alright for your cat peanut butter in moderation—if you can convince them to eat it. It’s non-toxic, but that doesn’t necessarily mean your cat will hop aboard the peanut butter train. Your feline may come to investigate with a quick sniff and leave with their nose in the air.

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Is Peanut Butter Safe for Cats?

In short, peanut butter is non-toxic to cats. So, if your cat got caught sneakily sampling your peanut butter sandwich while you weren’t paying attention — they will be just fine. But eating peanut butter regularly can be a different story.

Peanut butter is an abundant source of protein. So, you may think like any reasoning person that because cats thrive on protein, it would benefit their diet. While protein is a primary staple for cats, there is a pretty big difference between animal and plant-based proteins.

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Credit: RATT_ANARACH, Shutterstock

Animal vs. Plant Protein

Cats are strict carnivores, which means they only eat meat. Their sensory receptors respond to the delightful smell, look, and taste of animal products. Plant-based protein doesn’t have the same draw for a cat, nor does it have the same nutritional value.

Animal proteins are complete with proper amino acids that cats need in their diets. Cats need certain essential amino acids they can only obtain through eating meat. Seafood and small game are the most common proteins in a cat’s diet.

Plant proteins are incomplete and do not have all the necessary amino acids a cat requires.

The reality is simple — even though your cat may be able to eat peanut butter with no consequence, they probably naturally won’t want to.

How Much Peanut Butter Can a Cat Eat?

Like any other snack, peanut butter is best in moderation. If your cat does take a shining to the taste of peanut butter, daily offerings aren’t the way to go. Keep peanut butter samples small and only give on special occasions.

A lick here or there won’t hurt, but too much of a good thing is a bad thing. So, no matter how they try to pressure you to give up the goods, you must resist their kitty charm.

Peanut butter could work well to administer medication if your cat finds the taste irresistible. It’s easier to hide a pill inside, and it’s very tacky. Every once in a while, if you let your cat lick a spoon with peanut butter, it shouldn’t harm them.

yarn ball dividerBeware of Peanut Butter Contents and Safety

A well-balanced cat diet consists of dry kibble or dry/wet food combo with adequate fatty acids, protein, fats, and fiber — and peanut butter is full of fat and protein.

Peanut butter contains an especially high amount of fat. Some peanut butter brands include extra sugar, too. These two factors contribute to weight gain, obesity, and other health issues — like diabetes.

Because peanut butter is very thick and sticky, it can be hard for your cat to swallow. So, choking is always a possibility. Plus, like any indulgence, if your cat overeats, it can cause gastrointestinal trouble — like nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.

So, be mindful and give sparingly.

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Image Credit: deborahmiller56, Pixabay

Keep Your Cat in Mind When Using Peanut Butter

When it comes to giving your cat the buttery peanut surprise they seek, there are a few things to keep in your thoughts.

1. Do you know what peanut butter classically attracts?

Mice — which can be troubling for a few reasons…

If your cat is attracted to peanut butter, the smell can draw them to mouse traps, which could harm them. Or, they may try to eat a dead rodent in the trap. Your cat scores a double-whammy.

But the trouble is, mice carry disease — plus, your cat may get very ill from a potentially poisoned mouse. It’s bad news all around.

2. Cats can have peanut allergies too.

If you let your cat take peanut butter, they may react not-so-pleasantly. If your cat shows any signs of an allergic reaction, discontinue.

Signs of peanut allergies in cats:

  • Chronic ear infections
  • Severe itching
  • Ear itching or infections
  • Inflamed throat
  • Damaged paw pads
  • Hair loss or skin rashes
  • Weight loss

3. Health issues are sometimes forever.

If you frequently load your cat up with human foods unnatural to their diet, they can develop numerous ailments. It’s essential to keep your cat healthy with a nutritionally balanced diet.

Use owner discretion, of course. If you feel safe giving your cat peanut butter and they seem to enjoy it, simply use the treat seldomly.

cat paw dividerCats and Peanut Butter — Final Thoughts

If your cat is a peanut butter lover, it’s nice to know that a taste here and there won’t hurt them. But truthfully, you’ll need luck on your side to even spark interest. Peanut butter doesn’t have much to stimulate a cat’s palette. But if your kitty is a special case, remember to space it out — even if they demand otherwise. Either way, it’s nice to know that peanut butter is overall safe for our feline friends.

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Featured Image Credit: stevepb, Pixabay