Can Cats Eat Peanuts

Can Cats Eat Peanuts?

Peanuts are a tasty, high protein treat for humans. They come in tons of different flavors, can be shelled or unshelled, and a handful of peanuts are a great snack if you’re on the go. But can cats eat peanuts?

As tempting as it is to share your snacks with your feline friend, not all human foods are safe for cats and it some types of food are only safe sometimes.

Unfortunately, peanuts fall under the “sometimes” category.

  • Cats and Peanuts, What You Need to Know
  • Can Cats Eat Peanuts?
  • Can Kittens Eat Peanuts?
  • Benefits/Negatives of Feeding Cats Peanuts
  • Alternatives to Peanuts for Cats

Cats and Peanuts, What You Need to Know

We’re only going to cover snacking peanuts in this post, not peanut butter. For more information on peanut butter, check out “Can Cats Eat Peanut Butter?

While human beings have been growing and eating peanuts pretty much since the dawn of time (they’re indigenous to South America, where records of their cultivation can be traced back over 3,500 years), they aren’t a particularly popular snack in the animal kingdom.

While cats and peanuts may sound like a bit of an odd combination, some cats really seem to enjoy these nutty snacks. But are they safe?

As with many human foods, the answer to that question is a little bit complicated and depends on how the peanuts are prepared, whether or not your cat is allergic, and how often you give them to your cat.

This cat is snacking on some raw peanuts, which is probably the safest kind as long as you’re careful about the shell!

Can Cats Eat Peanuts?

Unlike some other varieties of nut, such as almonds, peanuts are not toxic to cats. However, they aren’t particularly healthy either and probably shouldn’t be your first choice when looking for a cat-friendly human food.

Peanuts aren’t a great addition to your cats for a few reasons, and most of them have to do with the way that the peanuts are prepared.

Most commercial peanuts are absolutely loaded with salt, which is bad for cats and can cause a variety of health issues.

Peanuts are also very high in fat, easy to choke on, and can provoke a severe allergic reaction if your cat happens to be allergic (and some cats are).

If your cat loves peanuts and you really want to give them a peanut once and a while, keep the following in mind:

  1. Skip the salted peanuts. Excess sodium intake can be very unhealthy for our feline friends. Opt for an unsalted variety, such as Planters Dry Roasted and Unsalted Peanuts.
  2. You should also stay away from flavored peanuts. While they’re amazing for humans, cats don’t need any of the extra additives or flavorings.
  3. Only offer your cat one peanut at a time, and always watch them carefully to make sure they don’t choke.
  4. Keep an eye out for any signs of an allergic reaction to peanuts, such as sneezing, agitation, runny nose, itchy eyes, excessive grooming, and hair loss. If your cat is allergic to peanuts, absolutely don’t give them to your cat again!
  5. Also watch out for signs of digestive upset, such as vomiting and diarrhea, and don’t give peanuts to your cat again if they occur.
  6. If you are giving your cat raw peanuts, make sure to discard the shell. Small slivers of peanut shell can get caught in your cats throat and can be dangerous.

Can Kittens Eat Peanuts?

Because of the risk of choking, adverse reactions, and allergies, it’s never a good idea to give your kitten a peanut.

Kittens are more likely to choke on a peanut and generally have more sensitive digestive symptoms.

Actually, it’s almost never a good idea to get creative with your kitten’s diet. Kittens are still growing and are forming all of the food habits that they will carry with them into adulthood.

It’s best to only feed your kitten high-quality kitten food such as Merrick Puurfect Bistro for kittens, which is grain-free and contains quality meat ingredients.

This cat is going to town on a handful of peanuts (though he should probably only be eating one or two).

Benefits/Negatives of Feeding Cats Peanuts

Unsalted roasted peanuts are an excellent source of healthy fat, manganese, niacin, vitamin E, and biotin.

But your cat is already getting all of the nutrition from their cat food, provided you are feeding them a high-quality cat food like Merrick Purrfect Bistro, which is grain-free and lists meat as the first few ingredients.

The only benefit to feeding your cat a peanut is that it may make them very happy and strengthen the bond between kitty and owner. But, since peanuts aren’t actually that healthy for cats and can be risky because of allergies, choking hazards, and sodium content, it’s best to steer clear of them if possible.

Alternatives to Peanuts for Cats

While some cats genuinely like the taste of peanuts, it’s more likely that your cat likes the texture and crunch. If that’s the case, you may be better off simply buying your cat some high-quality crunchy cat treats.

Treats that are primarily made of meat or fish, such as Wellness Kittles (which come in a ton of different flavors) are your best bet. They’re crunchy, bite-sized just like a peanut, and specially-formulated to be healthy and safe for cats.

Because peanut butter is such a common ingredient in dog treats, you may be tempted to offer your cat a peanut butter dog treat or two. While it seems harmless, the formula for dog treats and cat treats is actually very different. Feeding your cat dog treats over a long period of time can result in kidney and bladder issues, so it’s best to steer clear of treats made for dogs. 

So, Can Cats Eat Peanuts?

While peanuts are unlikely to do your cat any serious harm (unless your cat is one of the unlucky kitties who is allergic to peanuts), they aren’t really a healthy choice for cats.

Between the sodium content, the risk of choking, and the potential for allergic reactions, you’re better off sticking to cat treats like Wellness Kittles, which are made of meat and formulated to be safe for cats.

If you can’t resist giving your cat a peanut (or if they won’t stop begging when you eat them) just remember that they should be unflavored, unsalted, and only an occasional treat.

What did you think about our post on whether or not cats can eat peanuts? Do you have a kitty that likes to eat peanuts? Let us know in the comments!

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Amanda K.

After moving to New York City from Rome, Italy, I began working in the nonprofit world. Despite my day job, my passion has always been animals, especially dogs and cats, and writing. What better way to combine the two? I've been a pet owner for 15 years, and my menagerie includes dogs, cats, hamsters and the occasional hermit crab. My beloved cat, Mozart, who I found as a newborn kitten, sparked my love for felines and is now nearly 15 years old. I am an enthusiastic volunteer at the local ASPCA, where I enjoy spending time with the cats and cleaning up after the dogs. I've been writing about pet ownership and care for the past five years.

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