Your dog goes absolutely bonkers for a spoonful of peanut butter. But your cat is also sniffing around and sneaking onto the kitchen counter every time you make a PB&J. As much as you may want to give your precious feline a taste, you’re not exactly sure that it’s safe. So, can cats eat peanut butter?
Some cats can eat some peanut butters
Cats are obligatory carnivores, so they get their nutrients from animal protein. If your healthy cat shows an interest in peanut butter and they’re not on a specialized diet for a particular health condition, they can have some peanut butter in moderation—but it won’t offer them any nutritional benefits. If you’re going to give your cat peanut butter, you should only dole it out very occasionally and in moderation. Think of it like a treat.
A word of caution, however: Be sure to read the label before offering some to your cat. Some peanut butters contain a sweetener called xylitol, which is toxic to cats. Use a peanut butter with minimal ingredients and additives.
But not all cats should have peanut butter
If your cat has any health conditions, all PB is off the table. It's also important to note that cats are notorious for having finicky, delicate digestive systems. One of your cats could have a few licks of peanut butter with no side effects, while the other could throw it up or get diarrhea as a result.
How to safely feed peanut butter to your cat
Two tablespoons is a *human* serving size—your cat should only be given a small amount. According to the Clinical Nutrition Service, treats should only make up 10 percent or less of your cat’s daily calories. Since peanut butter is fatty and calorically dense, the portion will likely be tiny; but do the math based on the amount of dry and wet food your cat eats every day to figure out the proper serving size. You can also consider melting or diluting the peanut butter, since its sticky, thick texture can be a choking hazard.
The bottom line
Peanut butter is far from a dietary necessity for any cat. And since there are potential issues that could crop up as a result, there’s no need to try forcing your feline to eat peanut butter. But if your kitty has a genuine interest and they’re healthy, there’s no harm in giving them a small serving of a type without xylitol from time to time.