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Home > Cats > Can Cats Eat Peanut Butter? Vet Approved Facts & FAQ

Can Cats Eat Peanut Butter? Vet Approved Facts & FAQ

can cats eat peanut butter

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Dr. Lauren Demos

Veterinarian, DVM

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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If you’re a cat parent you are fully aware that these tiny creatures are extremely picky. While we love them like our own children, finding a brand of food and even treats they enjoy can be tricky. Often, kitty parents resort to trying treats that dogs are known to enjoy. Peanut butter is a fave for canines everywhere. The big question is, can cats eat peanut butter? The answer to this question isn’t exactly straightforward.

Can cats eat peanut butter? Yes, they can; it isn’t toxic to them. What we should be questioning is, should cats eat peanut butter? The answer to that question is basically, no. To make all this easier to understand, we’ll take a deeper look at kitties and peanut butter so you can decide how you want to handle this relationship.


Can Cats Eat Peanut Butter?

As we mentioned, the answer to this question is technically yes. All-natural peanut butter without lots of additives should be safe for a cat. However, your cat is an obligate carnivore. This means they get all the nutrition they need from the meat they eat. This is why you don’t see cats nibbling on veggies in the garden. You’ll also find that peanut butter is simply empty calories for your cat. In most opinions, the risks of feeding peanut butter to a cat far outweigh the idea of them enjoying the treat.

The Risks of Feeding Your Cat Peanut Butter

Now, we’ll take a more in-depth look at the risks associated with feeding peanut butter to your kitty. This will help you better understand why, although it isn’t toxic (unless it contains the dangerous additives mentioned later on), it’s best to avoid adding peanut butter as part of your cat’s diet.

Gut Issues

Many of the ingredients in peanut butter aren’t great for a cat’s gut health. Often, you’ll find that peanut butter is high in fat, sugar, and even salt. Their digestive systems simply aren’t designed for this. You’ll also find that high levels of salt can result in heart and kidney issues. This can cause a cat to present with vomiting, diarrhea, gas, and stomach pains.

Choking Hazard

If you’ve enjoyed peanut butter in your lifetime, you know just how sticky and thick it can be. Now, imagine the small mouth and throat of your kitty. You may not expect a small amount of peanut butter to stick in your cat’s mouth, or especially the throat, but yes, it’s possible. Anything that can present a choking hazard to your kitty should be considered dangerous.

Unwanted Weight Gain

a fat cat lying on the ground outdoor
Image Credit: Almi, Pixabay

Peanut butter has lots of sugar inside. This makes it calorie-dense. These calories can easily make a cat gain too much weight, especially house cats that don’t get a lot of exercise or deal with obesity issues.

Dangerous Additives

Many people have sugar-free peanut butter varieties in their homes. This is common to help avoid more calories in our diet. Unfortunately, many sugar-free foods use xylitol. This is a sugar substitute that we know is very dangerous for dogs. While it isn’t fully decided whether xylitol presents the same dangers for cats, many veterinarians feel it is best to avoid this substitute to be on the safe side.

Potential Allergic Reactions

While peanuts aren’t usually an issue for cats, it’s theoretically possible they can have an allergic reaction. Here are signs of an allergic reaction you should be aware of so you can monitor your kitty when they’ve had peanut butter.

  • Vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Hair loss
  • Itching, skin rashes, and skin irritation

When Can I Give My Cat Peanut Butter?

peanut butter
Image Credit: Pexels, Pixabay

While some cat owners will want to give peanut butter to their cats as a treat, it’s important to remember that only a small amount is safe. A teaspoon of peanut butter contains up to 100 calories. This is a lot for a small treat amount. If you give your kitty a bit of peanut butter it should only be a tiny amount, simply a taste.

Many people use peanut butter to help hide medications their kitties need to take. This is a good option for cats that enjoy the taste of peanut butter. With the high calories inside peanut butter, it’s best to use as little as possible when doing this. Perhaps ¼ to 1/8 of a teaspoon. This small amount is safer for your kitty, especially if they have medications they must take on a daily basis.

What If My Cat Eats Too Much Peanut Butter?

Yes, cats are notorious for getting into things. While it doesn’t happen often, your kitty could find a jar of peanut butter they can get into. If you’re unsure of how much peanut butter your cat has eaten, you need to monitor them closely. In most instances, you’ll notice a bit of tummy issues. Your kitty may vomit, present with diarrhea, and even suffer from stomach pain. If these issues persist or worry you in any way, contact your veterinarian for advice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s take a look at a few other common questions pet owners have when it comes to cats and peanut butter.

What Peanut Butter Should I Offer My Cat?

If you want to give your kitty a taste of peanut butter or need to hide medications, it’s best to use organic peanut butter. This will help you avoid xylitol, added sugars, and tons of salt. You can even search for recipes to allow you to make your own peanut butter at home.

Do Cats Enjoy Peanut Butter?

Not every cat is the same. You may offer peanut butter to one cat that falls in love with the taste. Another cat in your home could be completely disinterested without even tasting the peanut butter. Whether your cat enjoys it or not, it’s important to remember peanut butter shouldn’t be given to cats routinely.

Can Kittens Try Peanut Butter?

No, it’s best to avoid providing peanut butter to any cat under a year old, even if you’re trying to hide medications. Kittens’ mouths and throats are much smaller than that of an adult cat. This means they could easily choke on the thickness of peanut butter.


Final Thoughts

As you can see, while peanut butter isn’t toxic to cats, it’s in their best interest to avoid making it a part of their diet. Yes, if your cat is a fan of peanut butter like a dog, a lick here and there shouldn’t be an issue. However, it’s clear that the risks outweigh the yummy taste.

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Featured Image Credit: inewsfoto, Shutterstock

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