Can Cats eat Peanut Butter? The short answer to this question is yes, cats can eat peanut butter.
The answer to the question is simple but the problem is that the question is not the correct question to ask.
The question we should be asking is: Should cats eat peanut butter? The answer to this question is very different. Cats should NOT eat peanut butter.
Cats are carnivores
Cats are carnivores which means that they are meat eaters. Besides being classified as carnivores, cats belong to a group that are called obligate carnivores.
Obligate means: by necessity or more simply put, cats are meat eaters because they have to eat meat to survive. Their digestive systems are not made to process plant matter. If a cat has not eaten sufficient protein it will break down its own muscle in order to satisfy its energy needs.
Vegetable matter is very difficult to digest. Herbivores; animals that only eat plant matter have digestive systems that are made especially for digesting plants. The guts of herbivores are filled with bacteria that help to digest the plant matter that they eat.
Plant matter also has very low caloric content, or nutritional value, so very much more food needs to be eaten by these animals.
How are cats different from humans and dogs?
Humans and dogs are omnivores which means that they are able to eat many different types of food and actually do the best when they have a combination of animal and plant matter in their diets.
Humans existing on a diet consisting of only animal matter do not do well, because we derive the glucose we need for our brains to function; from digesting carbohydrates that come from plants.
Cats get their glucose from a process called gluconeogenesis, where they breakdown protein instead of carbohydrates to create the glucose they need.
Dogs have very different food requirements to cats, although wild dogs are strict carnivores, domesticated dogs have an adaptable digestive system, they have lived alongside humans for approximately ten thousand years and have become omnivores like us.
Benefits of peanut butter
Articles on this topic will tell you about all the wonderful properties that peanuts have vitamin H or biotin, that makes hair shine, it strengthens nails and moisturizes skin.
Peanut butter also contains vitamin A which boosts the immune system and protects the body from disease. Peanut butter also contains vitamin E and resveratrol which are known to provide some protection against heart disease.
Although this is all true and peanut butter does contains these items, none of it is of any use to your cat, because the peanut butter has to first be digested before any of the nutrients can be absorbed into the blood stream.
Your cat simply does not have the ability to digest any pant matter so all these nutrients will pass through the digestive system of the cat without giving any benefit.
Peanut butter contains protein and healthy mono-saturated fat, it contains many nutrients but these only benefit us and can be dangerous for your cat.
How to ensure your cat has a shiny coat
If your cat cannot absorb these nutrients from peanut butter how do you ensure that your cat’s coat remains shiny, that its immune system is functional and that it is protected from heart disease.
Strangely enough the answer is the opposite of giving it peanut butter to eat. A diet that is specifically designed for cat or fresh meat are the best way to keep your cat healthy.
Cats are very meticulous about keeping their fur clean and bright. A dull coat is usually due to over washing by us, age, excess weight, and most importantly poor nutrition.
The one time it may be okay to give your cat peanut butter is to help it take a table.
If your cat likes the peanut butter, many cats will not even try it, and it helps the cat to takes its medication. Then the good outweighs the bad.
The benefit of having the medications has more advantage than what the peanut butter can harm.
Why would you give peanut butter to a cat?
Most cats are very particular about what they will eat and will refuse outright to eat peanut butter.
I know my cat puts his nose up at almost everything that I offer him to eat, unless it is something that he is used to.
We love our pets and we want to make them happy. Eating delicious things makes us happy so we assume that it will also make our pets happy.
The truth of the matter is that this is just not so. Cat do not eat for enjoyment, they eat for nutrition to get enough energy to get through the day. Even if they spend most of their day asleep on the window sill, that is where my cat is right now.
Giving your cat food that is not part of his natural diet can really do more harm than good. Your cat will appreciate time you take to play with it much more than a food ‘treat’.
Effects of eating peanut butter
A cat’s digestive system is not built to eat plants so it is likely that eating peanut butter will result in an upset stomach for your cat.
Peanut butter is very sticky and it can also be a choking hazard for your cat. A chunk of peanut butter can get stuck in the cat’s wind pipe making it impossible for the cat to breathe. This can be a very serious situation.
Besides the physical effects of eating peanut butter your cat may even show behavioral changes, it may become aggressive or irritable. So when you are observing your cat for any side effects don’t forget to watch for emotional as well as physical effects.
If the cat is not behaving as it usually does, if it is behaving out of character, this can also be from eating something that is upsetting it.
Rat poison and peanut butter
Peanut butter is often used to hide rat poison. A cat that has become accustomed to eating peanut butter might inadvertently eat poison that has been surrounded by peanut butter.
Cats are wanderers and it is very difficult to know what they eat when they are out of the house. One of my dear cats was found dead, the vet said that she had been poisoned probably by poison put out for rats.
What to do with a cat that has diarrhea?
If the cat is having stomach ache or diarrhea it is probably best to starve the cat for up to twelve hours to allow the toxin to move through the digestive system.
Always have water available for your cat to drink. Pro-biotics for cats are now available, speak to your vet to find out which ones would be best for your cat. Keep in mind that a cat’s digestive system works at a faster rate than ours does. So onset of problems with a cats digestion will happen faster than what you may expect.
If the cat has an upset stomach do not make things worse by giving it over the counter human medication. These medicines are made for people and are toxic to cats and can potentially prove to be fatal.
If the diarrhea has not stopped within 24 hours take the cat to the vet and let a professional take care of your cat.
Can your cat be allergic to peanut butter?
The mechanics of allergic reactions are not well understood. An allergy is different to a food intolerance.
Food intolerance is when something you eat does not agree with you and you get an upset stomach, constipation, vomiting or diarrhea.
An allergy is a much more serious condition and is potentially fatal. An allergic reaction can include the above mentioned effects but can also be accompanied by swelling, skin rashes, sneezing and or difficulty breathing.
If you see your cat is having an allergic reaction take it to the vet immediately.
Cats’ nutritional needs
The rare cat who is happy to eat peanut butter faces yet another risk.
The fat in peanut butter sends a message to its brain to say that the cat has eaten sufficient food. The cat then does not eat the food it needs to meet its daily requirements and it can actually starve.
Cats require the amino acids taurine and arginine to survive. These amino acids are not found in plant materials.
A few meals without arginine is enough to cause serious health damage to your cat, with possible convulsions coma or even death. Taurine deficiency is less severe and takes longer to show, it can cause blindness and heart failure.
What should you give your cat to eat?
It is best to feed your cat commercially available cat food either wet or dry. These foods have been designed by veterinarian nutritionists that know what your pets nutritional requirements are.
Do not give dog food to your cat. The two may look similar to you, but the nutritional properties of the two are very different.
A typical cat is a natural predator and it will usually go out and hunt its own food catching birds or mice.
- Cats are meat eaters.
- Only give a cat peanut butter in extraordinary circumstances like when giving tablets.
- Your cat will appreciate being played with more than a food treat.
- Make sure you provide a healthy diet for your cat.
- Cats and dogs have different digestive systems.
- Eating peanut butter can make your cat sick.
- If stomach upset lasts longer than a day take your cat to the vet.
- If your cat shows signs of an allergic reaction take it to the vet immediately.
- Remember that cats are not humans they have different dietary needs.
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