Peanuts can make a great snack for people, especially since they are rich in a wide range of nutrients, such as biotin, vitamin E, and thiamine, but also minerals such as magnesium and phosphorus. But can cats eat peanuts?
We’re answering this question and many more in today’s post, so keep on reading!
Can cats eat peanuts?
While some other articles on the Internet might tell you that peanuts can make a great occasional treat for cats, the truth is that they were not genetically designed to process them well, and they’re also obligate carnivores, so they should have a diet consisting primarily of meats.
Granted, peanuts are much richer in protein than other foods, which is why they might make a suitable option for people such as vegans, who have to look for alternative sources of protein besides meat.
However, not only do peanuts not provide any benefits for cats, but they can also be quite dangerous.
If you are a responsible cat guardian, it’s pretty clear that you aren’t going to give your pet 100 grams of peanuts, but just to give you a clue as to how unhealthy they can be, we’ll tell you that this amount contains as many as 567 calories.
So not only are they rich in calories, but there are also 4 grams of sugar, 18 mg of sodium, and 16 grams of total carbohydrates in 100 grams of peanuts. As you probably know by now, cats shouldn’t have sugar and sodium.
Can cats eat peanut butter?
The answer to this question is also a no. If you also have a dog, you probably know that your canine companion is a great fan of peanut butter and minimal amounts are always safe to give as snacks or as a tricky way to give your pet some medicine.
But cats shouldn’t eat peanut butter also because they are smaller in size. So, a small quantity of peanut butter might not cause anything in a dog that weighs in at 155 pounds, but it’s not going to be the same even for a cat that weighs in at 15 pounds (which is typically large for a cat anyway).
Peanut butter contains a lot of trans fats, and they are responsible for making this type of product capable of having a long shelf life. Too much fat can be bad for any cat, and trans fats can lead to a variety of health conditions, with the number one being heart health complications.
On top of that, there are different peanut butter varieties out there. This also means that some can contain sugar or sodium, both of which your cat should not have. There are even some that contain xylitol, which is an artificial sweetener dangerous for all pets.
To give you an example, small amounts of xylitol can cause hypoglycemia in cats, but also liver failure. In some situations, it can be lethal.
Some clinical signs of xylitol intoxication are the following:
If you think that your cat accidentally ate a product that contains this artificial sweetener, go to the vet clinic as soon as possible.
Can cats eat chocolate-covered peanuts?
Yet again, no.
Most pet parents are aware of the fact that chocolate is particularly dangerous for dogs, but the truth is that it is the same for our feline companions, too! Chocolate contains two extremely dangerous ingredients — caffeine and theobromine.
Not only are both of these harmful for pets, but they can lead to severe symptoms, such as the following:
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Increased thirst
- Seizures, tremors, muscle spasms
- Increased breathing rate
- Restlessness and hyperactivity
It’s not uncommon for some cats to die after having eaten something with chocolate, which means that chocolate-covered peanuts are simply bad for them, and they put their life at risk.
Not all chocolate is the same. For example, white chocolate might only cause digestive distress, while dark chocolate can be lethal.
Peanuts and aflatoxins
Aflatoxins are toxic metabolites that are produced by a number of fungi (mold) in the Aspergillus genus, with some of the most common culprits being A. nomius, A. flavus, and A. parasiticus.
Aflatoxins are extremely dangerous for both humans and animals, but the fact is that we’re constantly exposed to small amounts of them when we eat peanuts. In fact, the likelihood of peanuts being contaminated with them is very high, especially if they were kept in poor conditions such as high and humid temperatures.
The worst thing about aflatoxins is that they do not disappear when the food is cooked – so even if you were to bake, roast, or fry peanuts, they would still be there. They would not be killed by high temperatures such as bacteria or some viruses could be.
Moldy peanuts are particularly risky to give to cats as due to their size, a very small quantity can be fatal for them.
Want to know something else that might change your opinion of commercial cat food? The vast majority of brands out there contain mycotoxins.
A study showed that while most contain very low concentrations of these toxins, in some cases, the limit imposed by health authorities can be exceeded. In China in 2017, after 32 pet foods were analyzed, the researchers involved in this study found that just one sample had not been contaminated with any toxins and that aflatoxin B1 was present in 96.9% of the pet food varieties they examined.
Exposure to this toxin (but also those produced by Fusarium, Penicillium, or Amanita genera) can cause severe symptoms in cats, such as the following:
- Vomiting, diarrhea, blood in feces, bloating
- Nasal discharge, rapid and difficult breathing, sneezing
- Neurological symptoms such as seizures or tremors, or even coma
- Liver failure
Anyone who’s ever eaten peanuts before has come across a moldy one in their life. Therefore, peanuts can pose a real health threat to cats and should be avoided.