Are Peanuts Bad For Cats? What Do I Do If They Eat One?

Peanuts are a staple food for most households in the United States. Whether it be a jar of peanuts or peanut butter, this is certainly a food that is enjoyed by many. But are they bad for cats? We all know that certain foods can be toxic to our pets and knowing the safe from unsafe is very important for your cat’s safety.

The good news is that peanuts are not toxic to cats, but they aren’t good for them, either. There’s no need to panic if your cat were to ingest peanuts. Here, we’ll break down the reasons why peanuts aren’t good for cats and what you can do if your cat were to eat some.

Peanuts/Peanut Butter and Cats

For humans, peanuts offer some incredible nutritional benefits. They are a great source of healthy fat, protein, and fiber, and are full of essential vitamins and minerals. While humans can benefit well from snacking on peanuts, the same doesn’t go for cats.

No part of the peanut is toxic to cats, which is great news. However, just because something is non-toxic to cats does not mean it should be part of their diet. Cats and all other members of the feline family are obligate carnivores, meaning they get all their needed dietary requirements directly from meat.

Your cat’s digestive system is adapted specifically for meat and is not designed to digest any plant-based food sources. While plant-based foods are typically rich in nutrients, and peanuts do contain protein and fat, which are also heavy in meat sources, their digestive system is unable to process these nutrients as efficiently and therefore they do not get the same benefit as omnivores and herbivores would.

High in Fat

Peanuts, like all other nuts, have a high-fat content. Even though peanuts are a source of healthy fat, cats are not adept to process a diet that is high in fat. Excessive fat intake can lead to digestive upset if consumed in large amounts during one sitting but could lead to obesity over time.

bowl of peanuts
Image courtesy of Pixabay

Salt and Additive Concerns

Another concern for peanuts and peanut butter is salts and other additives. A lot of peanut varieties come salted or with sugared glaze or other spices or flavorings for taste.

Most peanut butter, unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer, contains more than just peanuts. Many brands will contain added salt, sugar, hydrogenated oils, and even preservatives. Salt is toxic to cats if ingested in larger amounts and while sugar and other additives may not pose a threat of toxicity, none are good for your cat and should be avoided entirely.

What Do I Do If My Cat Eats Peanuts?

If your cat were to eat peanuts or even peanut butter, there is no need to panic. Try and assess how much was eaten and keep an eye out for any unusual symptoms. Peanuts and peanut butter may cause some digestive upset so your cat may experience diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting after consuming a new food variety that is so high in fat.

Your cat would have to consume quite a bit of salted peanuts to be at risk of salt toxicity, but If you have any concerns at all, or if your cat were to present with unusual symptoms, reach out to your veterinarian immediately for further guidance.

Proper Diet and Nutrition for Cats

It is important to feed your cat high-quality cat food that is appropriate to their age, size, and activity level. You should speak with your veterinarian about the best diet plan for your cat.  Fresh, clean water should be available at all times.

While peanuts aren’t an ideal treat for cats, there are plenty of other options that are perfectly healthy to offer as an occasional treat.  Of course, it is recommended that treats are given in moderation to avoid obesity and the negative health issues associated with it. Treats should also be high quality and meat-based, and unsalted. Due to the risk of bacteria, raw meat should be avoided.

Healthy Treat Options

  • Cooked, unsalted lean meats (small amounts)
  • Dried liver
  • Pieces of kibble
  • Bits of wet food
  • High-quality commercial treats


Peanuts are not toxic to cats but they are not good for them, either. Not only are cat digestive systems not designed for anything other than meat, but sometimes peanuts and peanut butter come heavily salted or with other flavors or additives that need to be avoided.  Whole peanuts shouldn’t be offered as part of their diet or even an occasional treat, but there’s no need to worry if your cat were to consume a few peanuts. Of course, if you have any concerns it’s best to reach out to your veterinarian.

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

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