Peanut butter is a favorite snack for dogs, but what about our feline friends? Are cats able to enjoy peanut butter as well? Unfortunately, while dogs can safely indulge in peanut butter, it’s not a good idea for our kitties. Let’s dive into the details.
Is Peanut Butter Bad for Cats?
Most peanut butter is not toxic to cats, as long as it doesn’t contain artificial sweeteners like xylitol, which can be dangerous for both dogs and cats. However, peanut butter doesn’t provide any nutritional value for cats and is essentially empty calories.
Unlike dogs, who are omnivores and can meet their nutritional needs through a variety of food sources, cats are obligate carnivores. This means they require meat proteins specifically to fulfill their dietary requirements. Peanut butter doesn’t qualify as a meat protein and is not metabolized properly by cats. Additionally, peanut butter is high in fat, which is unnecessary for our already chubby feline friends.
In summary, it’s best to keep peanut butter away from our kitties.
Can Cats Have Peanuts?
While the concerns about toxic ingredients are lessened with peanuts alone (although some may be coated in harmful salt or sweeteners like honey), peanuts are still a high-calorie treat with no added nutritional benefits.
Peanuts should be avoided for similar reasons as peanut butter. Moreover, if swallowed whole, peanuts can pose a choking risk or cause intestinal blockages, especially if they’re still in the shell.
My Cat Ate Peanut Butter. What Do I Do?
If your cat managed to sneak a taste of peanut butter, check the label to see if it contains xylitol. If it does, this is considered a potentially life-threatening emergency, and you should take your cat to the veterinarian immediately.
For peanut butter without xylitol, it’s likely safe to monitor the situation at home. However, if your cat starts vomiting, experiencing diarrhea, or loses their appetite, it’s best to call your vet.
If you have any concerns about your cat’s health or suspect there was xylitol in the peanut butter, don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian.
Can Peanut Butter Kill Cats?
For a healthy cat, the greatest risk associated with peanut butter is if it contains xylitol. If your cat consumes any peanut butter variety with xylitol, it can be fatal without immediate treatment.
Even when xylitol is not present, cats prone to gastrointestinal disease, pancreatitis, hepatitis, or diabetes are more susceptible to adverse effects from eating peanut butter. If your cat has a medical condition and consumes peanut butter, make sure to notify your veterinarian.
Most healthy cats should be fine after consuming a small amount (less than 1 teaspoon) of peanut butter without xylitol. At most, your cat might experience mild gastrointestinal distress, such as vomiting or diarrhea.
What To Feed Your Cat Besides Peanut Butter
When it comes to treats for your kitty, it’s best to opt for meat-based options. Consider offering a small piece of chicken or turkey breast as a safe and nutritious special treat. A tablespoon of tuna or salmon canned in water (or fresh, if you’re cooking at home without added spices) can also be a delightful snack.
If you’re boiling eggs for breakfast, breaking one open and offering a little to your cat can be another yummy snack option.