Peanuts are one of the most popular foods in U.S.A. They are also very healthy with all the protein and the healthy fats they contain. However, we generally tend to think the concept of healthy food not considering the digestive system of the species. A food that is healthy for human consumption might be toxic for some other species. So, are peanuts safe for cats? Can cats eat peanuts?
First of all, peanuts are not really nuts. They are legumes like peas, lentils or beans. Also nuts are fruits that grow on trees, however peanuts are seeds of the peanut plant that grow under soil. When considering about the safety or health benefits of a plant for any animal, it is important to learn about the plant itself, too.
Are Peanuts Safe For Cats?
Peanuts are not toxic to cats, unlike onions or garlic. So from this point of view, yes they are safe for cats in the short run but as with all foods, too much peanuts might harm your little feline friend in the long run because peanuts contain high amounts of fat which can not be properly digested by cats.
Another safety concern can be the shells which can be a choking hazard. Peanut shells can be easily crunched by cats but this does not mean they can easily swallow them. In addition to being a choking hazard, peanut shells car hard to digest and can become shard-like objects in cats stomachs and can even cause small bleedings which can be very painful for your feline friend.
Another health hazard for cats is salt. A lot of commercially available peanuts contain salt, sugar, spices, additives and flavors such as chocolate. Always remember that these are not good for your cat. Chocolate is even highly toxic and can cause serious health issues and even death if consumed in high amounts.
If you decide to give your little furball peanuts, make sure that it is raw, unsalted, unflavored and without any additives.
Are Peanuts Healthy For Cats?
Cats are obligate carnivores which means that they get their nutrition from meat. You can see your cat eating grass from time to time to calm their upset stomach but this not an everyday issue. Although cats can get some benefits from plants, they are not really the best sources of nutrition for cats. This is to say that of you give the same amounts of plant and meat with the same nutritional values, cats will get more benefit from meat.
Cats require proteins as the main nutrition in order to stay alive and healthy. Keeping this in mind, peanuts do have high amounts of protein, taurine, Vitamin E and biotin but the digestive system of felines can have higher concentrations of the same nutrients from meat. From this point of view, the health benefits of peanuts are negligible.
Also plant based proteins are not exactly the same as meat based proteins. The amounts and types of amino acids are different for plants and meat. So instead of giving peanuts to your cat for health benefits, giving meat is a better idea.
Can Cats Eat Peanut Butter?
We all have seen on YouTube dogs eating peanut butter with an amazing appetite. This might not be the case for a lot of cats. Cats probably won’t even be drawn to peanut butter unless you offer it.
The basics for peanut butter are the same as peanuts. They are safe for cats provided they don’t contain any salt, sugar, spices, additives or flavors but not as beneficial as meat.
A potential issue with peanut butter is that people use peanut butter as a bait for rodents when they set up traps and cats being animals of habit, they might go for the peanut butter used in traps and might be caught by the trap or be poisoned.
What About Peanut Allergies?
Although it is a thing to consider, peanut allergies are not as common as they are for humans. As with all human foods, you should give peanuts to your cat in small amounts and watch for any symptoms such as diarrhea or vomiting. Other symptoms may include itching and scratching, coughing and sneezing, irritated eyes and ears and hot spots.
Although these symptoms may point to a dozen another health issue, it is important to consult your veterinarian without losing any time.
Peanuts are not toxic to cats and safe for them if given in small amounts.
The main issue with peanuts is the high fat content which might cause diarrhea or vomiting.
Salt, sugar, spices or flavorings are very harmful for cats and peanuts or peanut butters containing them should be avoided at all times.
If you decide to give peanuts to your cat, make sure that it is in small amounts and as treats.
Don’t make peanuts the main source of food for your cat.