Can Cats Eat Peanuts? Human Food for Cats · The Wildest

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Can My Cat Eat This?

Can Cats Eat Peanuts?

They’re not technically dangerous, but they’re not ideal.

by Sio Hornbuckle
May 15, 2024
Orange cat looking at peanuts on table.
Helen Rushbrook / Shutterstock

Peanuts are generally considered a healthy choice for humans to snack on — they’re high in protein and healthy fats, and they’re a great (and yummy) way to get necessary nutrients like biotin, vitamin B3, and vitamin E. But what’s good for humans isn’t always best for cats. While peanuts aren’t technically toxic for cats, they’re not a highly recommended treat, and they should only be fed to cats in moderation — if at all. 

Nutrition facts: Peanuts for cats

Peanuts aren’t toxic for cats, but they aren’t great for them, either. Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they technically only need to eat meat to survive — so a nut won’t add too much to their nutritional needs. Peanuts are high in fat and carbohydrates, so overconsumption can lead to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. 

Are peanuts good for cats? 

Peanuts aren’t a super healthy choice for cats. “Cats can eat peanuts, but it is not recommended as a regular part of their diet,” veterinarian Dr. Bethany Hsia says. “While peanuts are not toxic to cats, they are not a natural part of a cat’s diet and can pose some risks.”

It may sound surprising, because they’re a popular health food snack for humans, but peanuts simply aren’t nutritious for cats. “Peanuts are high in fat which can be difficult to digest and they can be salted which is also harmful to cats,” Dr. Hsia says. Too many high-calorie snacks can lead to obesity and diabetes. And while peanuts are a good source of protein for humans, cats can’t break down plant protein, so they don’t receive the benefits humans do from the snack.  

Can cats eat peanuts?

They’re not the healthiest option, but peanuts aren’t toxic for cats, either. If your cat sneaks a couple of peanuts behind your back, don’t panic. They will most likely be fine.

If you choose to feed your cat some peanuts, Dr. Hsia recommends taking the following precautions: “1) Make sure the peanuts are unsalted and unflavored, 2) Only give a small amount as a treat and make sure they are crushed into small pieces. 3) Watch your cat closely for signs of an allergic reaction.” 

Are peanuts completely safe for cats?

Peanuts are not completely safe for cats. For one, the size and texture of the snack makes them potentially dangerous. “Peanuts are small and hard, which can pose a choking hazard, especially if a cat doesn’t chew properly and swallows them whole,” Dr. Hsia said. 

Plus, while it’s rare, some cats have food allergies. “Like humans, some cats might be allergic to peanuts,” Dr. Hsia adds. And, just like with humans, allergies can sometimes develop later in life.

Cats with food allergies often become extremely itchy and will scratch or lick pretty much any reachable area of their body, including their face, groin, legs, paws, and belly. Sometimes the scratching and licking causes hair loss or wounds. Cats with allergies can also experience gastrointestinal upset like diarrhea and vomiting. If your pet experiences any of these symptoms after eating nuts, it’s safest to get them to a veterinarian — and, it goes without saying, don’t feed them any more peanuts.

Other foods that are safe for cats

Other foods that are dangerous 

The bottom line: Can cats eat human food?

Cats can eat some human foods, but you should always check with your veterinarian before adding anything to your cat’s diet. Cats need a balanced diet, so it’s not good to feed your kitty too much of any one snack. Treats — whether they’re commercial cat treats or human table scraps — should make up no more than 10 percent of your cat’s daily diet. 

FAQs (People Also Ask)

Can cats eat peanuts?

Peanuts aren’t toxic for cats, but they aren’t recommended as a regular part of a cat’s diet because of their low nutritional value. 

How much peanuts can cats eat?

If cats eat peanuts, they should not eat many, because peanuts are high in fat, low in nutrients, and can be a choking hazard. 

Are peanuts safe for cats?

Peanuts are safe for cats in small quantities, but they aren’t a very healthy choice. They can also be a choking hazard for cats. 


Sio Hornbuckle

Sio Hornbuckle is a writer living in New York City with their cat, Toni Collette.

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