Can Cats Have Peanut Butter?
Cats don't only lick themselves when grooming, licking is also a sign of affection (Photo: Adobe Stock)
helloBARK! staff
By helloBARK! staff
Updated on April 18, 2019

Dogs are notorious lovers of peanut butter – but can you give this tasty treat to cats?

If you own a four-legged pooch, there’s a good chance that you’ve fed your dog peanut butter at some point.

Whether it’s a spoonful directly from the jar, placing some of this nutty food inside a kong or placing a blob in their bowl, dogs can’t enough of peanut butter.

It’s not just dogs – either. Humans love to snack on peanut butter on toast, peanut butter and jam sandwiches or peanut butter and rice cakes.

But can cats enjoy peanut butter like their pet parents and their canine companions?

Disclaimer: Before we get into the bones of this article, we must emphasise this isn’t expert content. We recommend talking to your local vet before making any changes to your pet’s diet or giving your cat/dog a new type of food to try.

In this article, we’ll take a look at whether cats can have peanut butter.

We’ll break down this informative article into the following sections to cover everything you need to know about cats and peanut butter.

• What Is Peanut Butter?
• Can Cats Have Peanut Butter?
• Does It Have Any Nutritional Value?
• What Are The Potential Problems?
• Peanut Butter Allergies
• How Much Peanut Butter Can A Cat Eat?
• Anything Else To Consider?
• In Conclusion

What Is Peanut Butter?

For the few who are unfamiliar with peanut butter (unlikely as it is), let’s take a close look at what peanut butter comprises of.

Peanut Butter is a food paste or spread that is made from ground dry-roasted peanut. There are different varieties of peanut butter that include flavorings.

Other ingredients such as oil and sugar could be added to different types of peanut butter to alter the taste.

Peanut Butter is high in fat and calories, so it’s a treat that animal lovers should give to their beloved pets in moderation.

One tablespoon of peanut butter can contain around 120 calories, while two tablespoons of PB contains around 16 grams of fat.

Can Cats Have Peanut Butter?

Peanut Butter is not poisonous to cats. So, in theory at least, you should be able to give your cat some peanut butter.

The ASPCA don’t list peanut butter on their list of foods that are toxic to our feline friends unlike caffeine, chocolate, grapes and raisins.

While PB doesn’t make the aforementioned list, Macadamia nuts are named on the page of toxic foods on ASPCA’s website.

So while you can give your cat some tasty PB, it doesn’t mean that you should. Some experts advise against feeding your cat this treat.

Does It Have Any Nutritional Value?

One of the biggest arguments for not treating your cat to some peanut butter is that the spread doesn’t contain any beneficial nutrients to felines.

Cats are used to an animal-based protein diet given that’s what their ancestors predominantly ate. So we’re talking about meats such as chicken, fish and turkey.

Peanut butter is not an animal-based protein because it comes from ground dry-roasted peanuts – and it may contain salt, sweeteners and emulsifiers to enhance the taste for humans.

So feeding your cat some PB is unlikely to poison it, but it probably won’t help your cat’s health either.

What Are The Potential Problems?

Peanut butter could be a potential choking hazard for a cat. Some varieties of PB can be dense, thick and difficult to swallow for a little kitty.

It can potentially get stuck in their throat, so it’s important that you keep an eye on your cat if you do decide to give your feline a taste of this treat.

You should make sure there is an ample supply of fresh water near your cat when they’re sampling some PB.

We urge cat owners to speak to their vet before deciding to feed PB to their feline for the first time.

Peanut Butter Allergies

Just like humans, cats can be allergic to certain types of food. An allergy to nuts is a common problem for humans around the world – and it’s no different with cats.

Our felines can have a reaction to certain types of food. So once again, we must emphasise the importance of keeping an eye on your cat when they’re eating a treat such as peanut butter.

You should speak to your local vet if you want to give your cat PB but suspect it could be allergenic. It’s a good idea ask the expert about the signs and symptoms of cat allergies.

That way you can be an alert and responsible cat owner should any problems arise by spotting the onset of symptoms early.

Side Effects Of Peanut Butter

Cats can suffer some side effects if you do have a feline that shows a particular interest in peanut butter.

These include side effects such as diarrhea, vomiting, obesity, indigestion and obstruction.

Symptoms could also include persistent itching, scratching, skin irritation and hair loss.

Cats have a reputation for having sensitive stomachs at the best of times.

If you’re worried that your cat is having an adverse reaction to peanut butter, you should call your local veterinarian immediately.

How Much Peanut Butter Can A Cat Eat?

So you’ve got a kitty that likes the taste of peanut butter but you’re unsure how much PB is too much.

Bear in mind peanut butter is high in fat, salt and sugar – and offers no nutritional value to your fluffy kitty.

You should limit the amount of PB you feed your cat to avoid too much of this dense paste giving them an upset tummy.

If your cat eats a lot of peanut butter at once, it could suffer from a bout of diarrhea or vomiting.

The easiest way to feed your kitty some PB could be by using the tip of your finger or a small teaspoon to practise portion control.

Regularly feeding your cat such a rich food substance such as peanut butter could have long lasting effects on their health and wellbeing.

Again, we can’t emphasise enough the importance of consulting your vet before giving your cat a taste of PB for the first time.

Anything Else To Consider?

A grey and white cat with green eyes (Photo: Dan Imam)
A grey and white cat with green eyes (Photo: Dan Imam)

There’s one occasion where peanut butter can be a great ally to a cat owner – and any pet parent.

If your cat is on medication, you can try coating the pill in peanut butter to encourage your feline to swallow the medicine.

It’s a trick that works well but once again, you should pay close attention to your kitty to make it has no problems swallowing the PB and pill.

In Conclusion

So there you have it. Peanut butter isn’t usually toxic to cats, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should feed your feline with lots of PB.

Some cats won’t show an interest in this nutty spread, but for felines that want to taste peanut butter, owners should limit the amounts their four-legged friend gets.

It has no nutritional value for a cat and is high in fat, so lots of PB could potentially result in diarrhea or an upset stomach.

Be aware that some cats could have an allergy to peanut butter too.