Everyone has laughed at dogs eating peanut butter—they love it, and they look ridiculous trying to unstick it from their mouths. But, what about cats? Of course, they can eat just about anything, but should they? Is it good for them?
Peanut butter is full of wonderful nutrients and vitamins. It’s been around at least since the Aztecs, made much the way we do now, by pulverizing peanuts until the oils are released and we get the sticky paste we know and love. These days, the process is mechanized and machines do all the smashing.
What Does Peanut Butter Contain?
While some brands of peanut butter carefully exclude chemicals or unnecessary additives, other brands add things like canola oil, sugar, and salt to accentuate the flavor. The most nutritious peanut butter choice will be the one where the ingredients are 80%+ peanuts with a little salt.
Nutritionally, peanut butter is a powerhouse. Protein, biotin, copper, folate, and phosphorous are just a few of the healthy benefits of peanut butter. That is, benefits for human consumers. When it comes to cats, the question is more complicated and should be understood in detail.
Things To Consider About Peanut Butter…And Cats
Cats are very particular and finicky eaters. They don’t need a wide variety of foods for a healthy diet like we do; they need their bare essentials without frills or over complication. Cats are carnivores. They are not likely to choose something like peanut butter given the chance unless it’s something you’re introducing intentionally.
Even then, don’t be surprised if your cat ignores your suggestion.
Basically, peanut butter, like any human food, should be free of as many additives as possible if you are trying to feed it to your cat. Sugars, extra oils, and salt are not something the cat needs and could lead to health issues.
Feeding a cat food not part of his or her normal diet can lead to feline obesity—something worth avoiding through prevention if possible. Overweight cats are susceptible to numerous health problems. It is much harder to help a cat safely lose weight than it is to prevent the weight gain in the first place by avoiding human foods.
Peanut butter can be a dangerous allergen for people—and for cats as well. Peanut allergy symptoms for a cat may include vomiting, diarrhea, swelling, and itching.
So, Can Cats Eat Peanut Butter?
Cats can eat peanut butter, but it’s not the best food for them, and it’s certainly not healthier than their cat food. Even in the organic peanut butter options, it is difficult to find a brand that doesn’t add salt of some kind. Salt is on the list of foods cats should not eat, so if you decide to feed your cat peanut butter, proceed with caution. Check the label and be aware that those additives are generally unhealthy for people, but for a cat, they’re going to be even more dangerous.
As their carer, be aware of the food choices you make for your pet. Their overall health depends on your attention.