It's well-documented that our canine compadres are big fans of peanut butter, but what about our feline friends? The answer is yes, you can feed Felix a tasty PB treat, but there are several important things to consider before breaking out a jar of peanut butter to feed your feline.
Peanut butter isn't listed by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) as human food that you shouldn't feed to cats. However, certain ingredients in peanut butter can make cats sick.
Another potential safety concern is whether your feline has a nut allergy. While usually mild, nut allergies in cats can cause a range of symptoms, most commonly severe itching, irritation of the ears, vomiting, and hair loss. Contact your vet if you fear your cat has a nut allergy.
The most common ingredient is xylitol, a sweetener used in everything from baked goods to toothpaste. Xylitol is most commonly found in highly processed peanut butter, so always check the ingredients and opt for an all-natural brand.
Xylitol poisoning in cats can be deadly, prompting a release of insulin that can cause liver failure and hypoglycemia. Initial symptoms include vomiting, lethargy, and seizures. Take your cat to the vet immediately if you suspect they've ingested xylitol.
So, while it's safe to feed your cat peanut butter, you might be wondering, "What's the point?" The reality is there's no real benefit of feeding Smudge peanut butter — it has no nutritional value and isn't part of a balanced diet for cats.
In fact, as peanut butter is high in fat and carbs, feeding your cat large amounts of peanut butter could lead to obesity.
If you do plan to give your cat peanut butter as a treat, consider the portion size. As mentioned, peanut butter is high in fat, so regularly feeding your cat PB could lead to obesity.
Also, due to the thick consistency of peanut butter, it could get stuck in your cat's throat, causing them to choke. Feeding your cat large amounts of sticky peanut butter could also cause vomiting and diarrhea.
A good rule of thumb for feeding your cat treats is that only 10% of their daily calories should come from treats.
The best way to feed your cat peanut butter is by placing a little on the end of your finger and letting your cat lick it off.
There are a couple of other things to consider when feeding your cat peanut butter. Number one is that, unlike dogs, cats usually take no interest in peanut butter and will probably turn their nose up at a dollop of peanut butter.
It's also worth pointing out that peanut butter is often used in pest control. So, if your cat gets a taste for peanut butter, check that nobody in your neighborhood is using peanut butter in pest control. Otherwise, your cat may accidentally ingest poisoned peanut butter.
The answer is no, it's probably not worth feeding your cat peanut butter. While ASPCA states it's safe, peanut butter has no nutritional value and isn't part of a balanced diet for cats. There are also numerous potential risks associated with feeding a cat peanut butter, from nut allergies to choking.
The most obvious reason not to feed a feline peanut butter is that most cats plainly don't like it. There are plenty of nutritious cat treats on the market that your cat will love. Most cat treats are much tastier and safer alternatives to peanut butter.