Peanut butter on toast, peanut butter with apples, peanut butter and carrots, peanut butter in smoothies—take your pick. What's your favorite way to eat this delicious spread?
If you're a cat owner, you may be tempted to give your kitty a little lick from the back of the spoon. But it's worth asking yourself if cats and peanut butter are a good mix.
Can cats eat peanut butter? Peanut butter for cats any good? As with many other kinds of people food, the answer isn't a definite yes or no.
What's in the Jar?
Understanding the Average Peanut Butter Spread
The peanut is a member of the legume family (other examples include beans and soy). While not technically a nut, the peanut is still loaded with monounsaturated fat, which is considered heart healthy.
Just 2 tablespoons of “PB” contains 16 grams of fat. This standard serving size also contains 8 grams of protein and 6 grams of carbs.
For humans without peanut allergies or legume intolerance, peanut butter can be a delicious and convenient source of healthy macronutrients.
Of course, not all peanut butter jars contain the same ingredients. Natural brands typically contain only peanuts and salt.
However, if you pick up any popular brand of peanut butter, you may be surprised to see what's inside. Ingredients often include things like hydrogenated vegetable oil, sugar, and even artificial preservatives like maltodextrin. These products are known to have negative effects on the body, like weight gain, food cravings, and blood sugar spikes.
Think about it: are these the kinds of things you want your cat consuming on a regular basis (let alone your human family)? Depending on how much peanut butter your household consumes per month on average, you may find it worth it to shell out a few extra bucks for higher quality peanut butter.
Can Cats Eat Peanut Butter?
We know dogs love peanut butter. In fact, many canine products come in peanut butter flavor or even contain peanut butter as a key ingredient. But can cats eat peanut butter, too?
Technically, no. Cats shouldn't really eat peanut butter. In fact, since cats evolved as carnivores, your feline friend can get everything she needs from eating meat and fish alone. You usually don't need to supplement your cat's diet with anything beyond her normal dry cat food, wet cat food, or raw food.
In general, however, giving your kitty a little bit of PB every now and then should be fine. If you have a young kitty in your home, you can give her a tiny taste of peanut butter to see if she likes it. Just be sure to watch out for any signs or symptoms of a bad reaction, especially because kitties tend to have less-developed immune and digestive systems.
Some pet owners use peanut butter in a pinch. If you're having a hard time getting your kitty to take a pill, sticking the pill in peanut butter may be an effective way to “trick” her into taking her medication.
As far as how much peanut butter should a cat eat, the less the better. That same 2 tablespoons of peanut butter contains a whopping 188 calories. That much peanut butter in a small cat's body can significantly raise her risk of gaining weight. It can also cause unpleasant side effects (discussed shortly).
Click Here To Find Out If Your Kitty Can Eat Bread.
So, if you do decide to give your cat peanut butter, only give her a very small amount, and only on rare occasions. Let her lick it off your finger or put a small dollop of it on some of her food.
Fair warning: she may really love it—so don't be surprised if she starts begging more often.
Is Peanut Butter Safe for Cats?
Let's put it this way: peanut butter isn't toxic to cats, unlike foods such as garlic, onions, and raisins. But in some situations, peanut butter can still be unsafe for your feline.
For one thing, PB is so sticky that it can easily become lodged in your cat's mouth or throat. This can cause your cat to choke.
Just like it does for some humans, peanut butter can also lead to gastrointestinal distress. Symptoms may include diarrhea, vomiting, upset stomach, or gas.
Peanut butter is even a popular “ingredient” in many pest control products. For instance, people often mix rat poison into peanut butter to attract and kill rodents. If your cat is allowed outside and stumbles upon this stuff, she may be more interested in eating it if she's already gotten used to the smell and taste of peanut butter. This is a serious problem for your feline friend, and could lead to accidental poisoning or even death.
In truth, there really isn't any upside for your cat if she eats peanut butter. Sure, she may like the taste. But the potential drawbacks associated with eating it generally make the risk not worth taking.
Are Cats Allergic to Peanut Butter?
While peanut butter is not toxic, it is not a good food to routinely feed your cat. It's best to give them their protein from an animal source.
It's rare that a cat is actually allergic to peanut products, but you should be observant of symptoms anyway. If after eating peanut butter your cat experiences hives, swelling, itching or difficulty in breathing contact your veterinarian immediately as this indicates a serious peanut allergy.
Click Here To Find Out If Your Kitty Can Eat Bananas.
Do Cats Like Peanut Butter?
It varies from one cat to another. Some cats like it, some don't. You can feed her a tiny taste off the tip of a finger to both see if she likes it and to see if she has a bad reaction to it. If she likes it, you can safely use peanut butter as a way to feed your kitty her medicine.
Do be cautious, as some people use peanut butter to bait mouse traps, which can result in a painful and embarrassing predicament for your cat. (There is nothing sadder than a cat caught in a mouse trap.) Because peanut better is not the healthiest treat for your cat, keep in strict moderation.
Cats And Peanut Butter Can Sometimes Spell Trouble
What to Do if Your Cat Suffers from Post-PB Gastrointestinal Upset?
If your cat is vomiting, having diarrhea, or simply looking uncomfortable after eating peanut butter, then that's a clear sign she has a poor tolerance to the product. So, don't give her any more of the darn stuff!
If the symptoms don't go away on their own within a couple hours, you may need to call your vet. He or she will be able to give you tips on what to do next, depending on the exact situation.
The Bottom Line
Is peanut butter bad for cats? Not exactly. A small shmear of peanut butter may fine as a treat every now and then. Peanut butter may also be helpful for tricking your cat into taking her medication.
That said, peanut butter offers no nutritional value for your feline friend. You shouldn't get in the habit of giving your cat peanut butter on any sort of regular basis. The rich fatty spread can easily lead to gastrointestinal upset, gas, and bloating. Plus, overfeeding your pet with too many special treats can lead to weight gain, undesirable begging behaviors, and even a disinterest in her own regular food.
Lastly, since many pest control products use peanut butter as a lure to attract critters, you're gambling with your cat's life when you give her this treat too much. She may be more prone to getting into something dangerous while she's out wandering the neighborhood and smells that peanut buttery odor.
So, when in doubt, skip the Skippy. Your cat will be just fine without it.
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