Cats like to get into our business and sometimes want to taste what you’re eating. But can cats have peanut butter? Besides sticking to the roof of its cute little mouth, does peanut butter cause any actual harm to cats?
Let’s find out!
Can Cats Have Peanut Butter?
Most of the time, yes, cats can have peanut butter. But you still probably want to avoid it. While peanuts aren’t inherently toxic to cats like some other foods, there are quite a few reasons why peanut butter doesn’t make the best snack or treat for your feline. These include potential additives to the peanut butter that can be dangerous, potential reactions, upset stomachs, and more.
Unlike dogs, who love peanut butter as a snack and reward, cats do best sticking to a carnivore diet dominated by meats and fish.
Giving your pets a sample of your favorite “people food” is a loving way to bond with them. It’s a sweet gesture that reinforces the idea that they’re truly special to you. Cats may want to have some of your peanut butter, but they really shouldn’t. We’ll give you a few specific reasons why.
What Happens If Cats Have Peanut Butter?
A cat with a mouthful of sticky peanut butter can be entertaining, but it’s no laughing matter when they get sick. And though it’s rare, it can even be deadly. So here are a few good reasons to give your cat a firm “no” when it demands a taste of peanut butter.
Cats are famous for throwing up things. It’s just one of their many lovable traits. Often it’s a harmless hairball or a portion of canned food they hardly swallowed. One reason is it causes them gastrointestinal distress, and vomiting alleviates it. Looking on the bright side, it’s better than diarrhea, which is another possible outcome.
Too Much Fat And Salt
Peanut butter is high in oils and salt. Excessive fats and sodium are generally unhealthy for a cat’s diet, thus making this a less-than-ideal snack. These extremely heavy swings to a cat’s sensitive digestive system can trigger stomach upset and excessive thirst and urination. If continued, more serious medical issues related to high fat and sodium diets can occur.
Peanut butter sticking to the top of the mouth can be funny, sure, or it can lead to a severe problem. A thick, gooey glob of peanut butter can be hard to swallow. If it blocks the cat’s airway, it can prevent it from breathing. Chunky peanut butter poses a particular threat.
Pro Tip: It is essential that all cat owners know some basic cat first aid methods in case of injury or, in this case, choking.
People with nut allergies must avoid peanut butter, and some cats suffer from the same condition. While nut allergies are uncommon, you don’t want to find out the hard way. Vomiting can signify this, as can itching, swelling, hives, and hair loss. If your cat exhibits these symptoms after eating peanut butter, contact your vet.
Some people use peanut butter as a lure on mouse traps, mixing it with rat poison. We’d hate to hear that your cat fell to such a tragic temptation. If they are used to eating it, they might think it is a treat for them. Avoid using peanut butter altogether for rodents or pest control. Or be sure to put traps in place your cat can’t get to or sneak in without you knowing.
Pro Tip: Find out what vitamins and minerals your cat needs to stay healthy!
What Amount of Peanut Butter Is Tolerable for Cats?
If your cat gets into some peanut butter on its own, it may not be the end of its world. Just like humans, different cats have different levels of tolerance for different foods.
Some may show little or no ill effects from eating peanut butter, while others have an extreme reaction. If you do insist on giving them some – rather, if they insist on it – limit it to very small amounts. A good rule of thumb is no more than half a teaspoon a couple of times a week at the most. We recommend asking your cat’s veterinarian for their input before making it a permanent part of your treat schedule.
What Kind of Peanut Butter Is Tolerable for Cats?
Some types of peanut butter are worse for cats than others. To start, crunchy peanut butter poses a more serious choking hazard to your cat. But before you give your cat even a small amount of any peanut butter, check the label carefully. Some products are primarily natural, with very few additives, while others are chock full of added and unnecessary ingredients.
For cats (and dogs and people), the healthier and more palatable ones have lower amounts of sugars, sodium, and trans fats. There is no reason to feed your cat anything sweet or that may potentially contain an ingredient dangerous to their health.
How to Keep Your Cat Out of Your Peanut Butter
Hopefully, we’ve convinced you that peanut butter isn’t the best option for your cat. So, how do you keep your cat out of your peanut butter?
It’s pretty simple: just keep the lid screwed down tight when you’re not using it, and don’t leave open snacks unattended. Also, keep peanut butter and other food items a cat could get into inside enclosed cupboards.
Another approach is to offer them something else that’s healthier for them. Cat treats, some wet cat food, and some human foods like meats (ideally not deli meat), strawberries, cooked eggs, and bananas.
Play it safe, though. There are certain foods you should keep to yourself rather than share with your cherished pet.
Concerned about your cat overeating? Learn more about cat microchip feeders to automatically control your feline’s diet.
What Other Types of Food Can Make Cats Sick?
You may not realize it, but some of your favorite flavors can make your feline sick.
For starters, it’s a myth that cow’s milk is the perfect treat for cats. In reality, they are lactose intolerant. So milk can affect their digestive system like peanut butter does.
On the other hand, eggs are okay as long as they’re not too runny. Ensure you cook them thoroughly to avoid giving your cat a bout with salmonella or E. coli poisoning.
Chocolate is a big no-no, and so are caffeinated beverages. They can all be highly toxic because they contain methylxanthines. These are naturally occurring compounds, but cats’ bodies aren’t equipped to break them down. Besides diarrhea and vomiting, health problems can include heavy panting, excessive urination and thirst, cardiac arrhythmia, and seizures.
When you run out of cat food, you may think it’s perfectly fine to give them some dog chow. That’s not a good idea, either. It’ll cure their hunger but won’t meet their nutritional needs. With a steady dog food diet, they can get sick or even lose their hair from allergies.
Other foods you should avoid giving to your cat include raw meat and bones, onions, garlic, cow milk, and anything that contains alcohol.
What Should You Do If Your Cat Has a Reaction After Eating Peanut Butter or Other Foods?
Don’t panic if your cat has a severe reaction from consuming something it shouldn’t, but don’t hesitate to call a veterinarian. An emergency trip to the animal hospital may indeed be a lifesaver.
In the meantime, try to keep your cat as calm as possible, handling it gently and carefully. Speaking in soothing tones may help, too. Also, don’t induce vomiting unless the vet recommends it. Be sure and place it inside a pet carrier or a sturdy box for transport to the vet.
Pro Tip: If you’re concerned about other possible allergies, consider getting your cat tested for food sensitivities or intolerances.
Is Peanut Butter Safe for Other Pets?
While peanut butter is problematic for cats, many other animals have no problems with it at all. Many pet birds, such as parrots, parakeets, and cockatiels, love it, and so do most dogs.
As a caveat, don’t feed animals peanut butter that’s sweetened with something called Xylitol. This natural sweetener, made from sugar alcohol, can cause their blood sugar levels to drop dangerously low.
Skip the Peanut Butter If You Can, for Your Cat’s Sake
Will a little bit of peanut butter hurt your cat? Probably not, but there’s just no reason to risk it. Yeah, it’s a sweet treat with some protein, but it’s also high in calories with very little nutritional value.
So playing keep-away with the peanut butter is a no-brainer. If you love your cats, it’s better to give them something they love that’s also good for them. They’re carnivores by nature, so those kinds of foods are your best bet for satisfying their hunger.
What kinds of people foods do your cats crave?
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