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Can Cats Eat Peanut Butter?

As conscientious owners, we should want to give our cats the best diet. Their food is one thing we can really tailor to keep our beloved felines as healthy as possible.

We have good control over what our cats eat and we owe it to them to ensure every morsel counts. There are several foods that truly add no value to a cat’s diet. Is peanut butter one of them?

As a general rule, cats can eat peanut butter. However, it is difficult for cats to swallow and can even cause them to choke. Certain types of peanut butter are healthier than others so if you use one to help your cat swallow a pill, we reveal the best ones to choose.

Everything you give your cat to eat should be carefully considered. Cats need a nutritionally balanced diet and a specific number of calories to ensure they stay healthy. Before you feed a cat peanut butter, what are the health benefits or risks?

Is Peanut Butter Bad For Cats?

Don’t assume that because dogs can eat it that peanut butter is automatically safe for cats as they have completely different digestive capabilities. What is safe for a dog can be quite problematic for a cat.

On average, peanut butter is a bad food to regularly feed to a cat. It is not considered a nutritionally complete cat food and contains too much carbohydrate and other additives that could affect a cat’s health. However, a small amount is harmless, for example, licking it from your fingers or as a way to administer a pill.

If you’ve given your cat peanut butter from time to time in blissful ignorance of whether it is good for it or not, you are about to discover the truth.

A red tabby cat proving cats can eat peanut butter - from a spoon!

Can Cats Eat Peanut Butter Or Not?

Theoretically, peanut butter is not a harmful food for cats. However, it is also not an ideal healthy choice as a cat snack. Yes, cats thrive on high-protein foods but it’s the other ingredients lurking in the jar that have no place as part of their staple diet.

A cat can and will eat peanut butter but that doesn’t mean it is Ok for it to do so. A cat can’t make healthy choices – that’s a job for its owners! Though peanut butter is not toxic to cats, avoid including it as a regular part of their diet.

Peanut Butter Has No Nutritional Value For Cats

Cats are obligate carnivores which means they need protein from meat for survival. As such, they do not possess the ability to digest vegetables.

You may be surprised to know that a peanut is not actually a nut but is a legume and therefore, a member of the vegetable family.

Though cats can eat peanuts and peanut butter, they have no nutritional value for them. There really is no health benefit in feeding peanut butter to a cat.

If you want to spoil your cat, give it morsels of chicken or fish which are packed with the valuable proteins it requires.

A spoonful of peanut butter.

Peanut Butter Contents

The ingredients in peanut butter vary from brand to brand.

Let’s look at one of America’s favorites.

Ingredients list:

  • Roasted Peanuts
  • Sugar
  • 2% or less Molasses, Fully Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils (Rapeseed And Soybean), Mono And Diglycerides, Salt

Nutrition per 2 tablespoons (33g)

Of which saturates3.5g
of which dietary fiber2g
and natural sugar1g
and added sugar2g

A cat’s daily calorie requirements

When you consider that an average 10-pound cat needs just 250 calories a day to maintain weight, you can see how easily you could be giving it excess calories by feeding it peanut butter.

One teaspoonful of peanut butter contains over 30 calories and which equates to 12% of a 10-pound cat’s daily calorie requirement. And don’t forget, that’s 30 calories with no nutritional value to your cat whatsoever.

Sugar and cat teeth

The sugar in peanut butter is not great for a cat’s teeth. Cats are notorious for having periodontal issues because most of them refuse to have their teeth cleaned on a regular basis. It’s always best to avoid giving cats sugary snacks.

Salt in a cat’s diet

Cats require somewhere in the region of 20mg of sodium per day which is present in the correct amounts in pre-prepared cat food. One teaspoon of peanut butter would provide 23mg of sodium – more than it requires in any one day without counting the salt in anything else it consumes that day.

Cats and Peanut Butter Allergy Risks

Cats can be allergic to certain foods and so it is feasible for a cat to be allergic to peanuts and therefore peanut butter. That said, peanut allergy is rarely heard of in cats.

Mild food allergies

Mild allergies can be present from birth or develop with age. They are not life-threatening but cause varying levels of discomfort.

Signs of mild allergy to peanut butter are:

  • Scratching at face and neck
  • Runny, itchy eyes
  • Excessive grooming
  • Chewing at paws and body
  • Hair loss
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing

If your cat reacts in this way to peanut butter, don’t give it to it again. If it shows these signs and hasn’t eaten a peanut product, it may be allergic to some other food and you should seek your vet’s advice.

Severe food allergies

Whether a peanut allergy has ever caused anaphylaxis in a cat is unreported but should a cat have such a severe reaction, its life could be at risk if it is not given immediate medical treatment.

Common symptoms of anaphylaxis in a cat include:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Wheezing
  • Facial swelling
  • Collapse
  • Trembling
  • Itchiness
  • Drooling
  • Vomiting

If you spot any of these signs, especially after eating peanut butter or any new food, don’t waste any time – rush your cat to the nearest vet.

A cat eating peanut butter from its owner's fingers.

Peanut Butter and Xylitol

Xylitol, a sugar substitute, can be found in certain low-sugar products, including certain peanut butter brands.

Whilst it is harmless enough to humans, it has severe health implications for dogs. Don’t panic as, according to the ASPCA, it is not harmful to cats. It is, however, an artificial ingredient that has no place in a cat’s diet.

If you are in the habit of giving your cat peanut butter, choose a brand with only natural ingredients.

Peanut Butter Choking Risk

Peanut butter can be harmful to cats if it gets stuck in their throats. The cloying, sticky nature of this product means it could be difficult for a cat to swallow.

A small amount could easily obstruct a cat’s airways if it inhales any as it attempts to eat it. For this reason, if you do treat your cat to peanut butter, make sure it is just a tiny amount and never leave it to eat it alone.

The Healthiest Peanut Butter Choices for Cats

You may be one of the many people who use peanut butter to help their cat swallow medication.

According to, these are six of the healthiest peanut butter brands you can buy:

  • Crazy Richard’s 100% Peanuts All Natural Peanut Butter
  • 365 Everyday Value Organic Peanut Butter, Unsweetened & No Salt
  • Trader Joe’s Creamy No Salt Organic Peanut Butter, Valencia
  • Adams 100% Natural Unsalted Peanut Butter
  • MaraNatha Organic Peanut Butter
  • Santa Cruz Organic Peanut Butter

Find full details at (opens in a new window)

Can Cats Eat Peanut Butter? The Verdict

Though peanut butter has not been declared dangerous for cats, it holds no nutritional value for them. Yes, cats can eat peanut butter but it is empty calories to their digestive systems and you are better off opting for a healthier, specifically designed treat for cats.

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