When we think of foods that our cats may enjoy, peanuts probably aren’t the first thing to pop into our mind. But what happens if a peanut is dropped on the floor and gobbled up by a curious pet?
Although the peanut is not toxic to the feline species, there are some things to consider when answering the question of can cats eat peanuts?
Cats and Peanuts
Even though the peanut is technically not a nut, but rather a legume (as it is harvested from just beneath the ground), it’s by far the most popular “nut” consumed worldwide For humans, the peanut is an extremely healthy and convenient snack food. It is loaded with protein and the “good fats” we always hear about.
However, when it comes to cats and peanuts, the protein and healthy fats don’t count for much. The feline species is not built to break down plant matter as they are considered to be carnivores so that an odd peanut will have no health benefits.
That being stated, if one were to be eaten by your cat, he or she will most likely suffer no adverse effects.
Watch Out For…
Of course, like all foreign foods that we introduce to our pets, we must be deliberate in how the food is prepared and presented to the cat. Never give your feline friend peanuts that have been coated in seasonings, especially those that contain onion or garlic powders. These can cause damage to the red blood cells, which could lead to anemia.
Another no-no is candy-coated and chocolate covered peanuts. Candy is high in sugar and chocolate contains theobromine a compound that can cause a number of health issues.
You will also want to avoid giving your cat any part of the peanut’s shell. This tough outer layer can pose a choking hazard.
Cats and Peanuts in a Nutshell
Cats and peanuts in a nutshell (no pun intended) could be considered an okay snack occasionally. If you choose to give your cat a peanut, be sure it is plain and unsalted. You may also want to dice it or chop it up for easy chewing.
If your cat experiences vomiting or diarrhea from eating a peanut, it could be an inability to digest it properly, and you will want to steer clear of giving your feline any more.
The one thing I have found my cats doing is playing with the peanuts when they are still in the shell; they make excellent “chasers,” and my felines are happy just to bat them around until something else becomes more interesting.
The Bottom Line
Although the bottom line is that peanuts are not toxic to cats, there is really no benefit to feeding them this handy snack food. If your feline munches on the occasional stray peanut, he will most likely be satisfied with just the one. However, be sure to pick up all dropped peanuts that have seasoning, candy or chocolate coatings, as these can be toxic. Check out our page about more foods that cats can or cannot eat.