If you’re both a dog and a cat person, you may give your dog peanut butter. The sticky-and-sweet treat is the perfect addition to a food puzzle or Kong and helps medicine go down better than a spoonful of sugar.
But can your feline friend also partake?
“Yes, cats can have peanut butter,” says Michelle Burch, D.V.M., from Safe Hounds Pet Insurance. “There’s no contraindication with it.”
Even though it’s relatively safe for cats to eat peanut butter, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind. Dr. Burch dishes on everything you need to know about giving your kitty peanut butter.
Quite simply, you may just want to treat your cat. If you love peanut butter, you may want to share it with Kitty. It also may have some medical uses, particularly if your cat is on medication.
“Peanut butter makes it harder for them to spit medication out because it’s sticky and sticks to the roof of their mouth,” Dr. Burch says.
And sometimes, cats will just take it upon themselves to try peanut butter.
“Sometimes, they … find opportunities to lick it,” Dr. Burch says. “My cats do this when my husband doesn’t rinse out a jar of peanut butter yet. They decide it looks delicious.”
Think of giving your cat peanut butter like giving a child an ice cream sundae: It’s an occasional treat.
Peanut butter is high in fat content. Dr. Burch says that cats can develop pancreatitis, which can be difficult to treat, particularly if the cat is refusing medication.
“They may need hospitalization,” Dr. Burch says.
And pancreatitis can affect other organs, like the liver.
The high-fat content can also lead to obesity.
“Weight gain leads to more risk of type 2 diabetes, joint issues and heart issues,” Dr. Burch says.
Cats known to have sensitive stomachs or digestive issues should not indulge in peanut butter.
If you’ve given your kitty peanut butter for the first time, you’ll want to keep an eye on them to see how they take to it. Vomiting, diarrhea and defecating outside the litter box are all signs the peanut butter isn’t sitting well.
“If it is mild, you can offer a bland diet of boiled chicken and white rice to help settle the stomach,” Dr. Burch says. “If there is vomiting, if you are going on over 24 hours of the cat not eating or they have belly pain, I recommend having them seen by the vet.”
It’s always a good idea to speak with your vet about any dietary changes or table food treats you may want to give.
“Some foods can be severely toxic to cats, so it is always best to check to ensure they are safe to give,” Dr. Burch says.
Featured Photo: Bebenjy/Getty Images
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