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Can cats eat nuts?

Cat sniffing nuts

Most nuts aren't toxic for cats but aren't beneficial for your cat's health.

© Shutterstock

Nuts are a fantastic source of fats and protein for humans, and come in many different varieties. But can cats eat nuts?

By Dr Holly Graham BVMedSci BVMBVS MRCVS

Updated on the 17/02/2021, 13:57

Nuts make great snacks for humans, whether in desserts or alone, but aren’t safe to add to your cat’s diet. As a cat owner, it is very important to make sure the food you wish to give to your cat is safe and healthy. If you have any doubt concerning human foods to give to your cat, make sure to talk to your veterinarian first.

Let’s find out which variety of nut is safe to give to your cat.

Can I give nuts to my cat?

Nuts shouldn’t be included in your cat’s diet. Cats are carnivores, and should be fed a good quality cat food. Nuts are high in fats, and are often roasted in salts or other spices. These salts and spices may cause gastrointestinal upsets. A single stolen nut isn’t likely to cause too many problems, but may cause vomiting or diarrhoea. Ingestion of large amounts of fat, like the fats present in nuts, can lead to pancreatitis - which can be a very serious illness.

Any nuts covered in chocolate should be avoided completely as this is toxic.

Nuts swallowed whole (particularly if larger forms of nuts) may cause an obstruction in the oesophagus, stomach or intestines. These foreign bodies get stuck in the GI tract and can cause serious illness if left untreated. Unfortunately most cases require surgical removal of the object. Nuts are best left for people!

Can cats eat peanuts?

It’s impossible to stop your cat from hunting out food dropped on the floor all the time, and if one or two peanuts are hoovered up by your greedy cat it probably won’t cause lasting damage. But peanuts shouldn’t be included in your cat’s diet.

Whilst peanuts are a great source of protein for humans, it’s much better for your cat to get their protein from meat. Meat contains taurine, which is vital for the normal function of your cat’s organs. Other nutrients like vitamin E and biotin are present in peanuts, but there are better sources of these available - in your cat’s regular cat food!

Can cats eat cashew nuts?

Cashew nuts aren’t toxic for cats, but they aren’t necessary to add in your cat’s diet. They won’t benefit your cat, and your cat should be fed an appropriate cat food for their age. Cat foods are formulated to contain the right levels of protein, fat and carbohydrate. As with peanuts, cashews contain high levels of fat which could affect the GI tract.

Allergies to nuts are possible in cats, but food sensitivities are more likely to cause dermal irritation or gastrointestinal signs. If signs of anaphylaxis occur following ingestion then it’s important to contact your vet immediately.

Is your cat suffering from diarrhoea and you are wondering what food to give him? Find out more here

Can cats eat macadamia nuts?

Macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs, and can make them very sick. It’s unknown if macadamia nuts have the same effects on cats but they shouldn’t be fed to our feline friends in case of the risk of severe illness.

Can cats eat pistachio nuts?

Pistachio nuts aren’t toxic for cats but just like cashew nuts, peanuts or nuts in general it’s best not to feed these to your cat. A stolen pistachio is unlikely to make your pet very sick, but they shouldn’t make up part of your cat’s normal diet.

Are almonds toxic to cats?

A very small amount of almonds won’t be toxic to your cat, but too many could make them sick. Almonds are packed with minerals and vitamins which are healthy for humans but are not beneficial for cats.

Almonds contain cyanogenic glycosides which if consumed in high amounts, can cause cyanide poisoning and severe illness. This is rare, but symptoms include vomiting and diarrhoea, dilated pupils and fast breathing.

Can cats eat peanut butter?

Peanut butter is a tasty treat, but is high in fats, salts, carbohydrates and often sugar. It might taste great but it isn’t good for cats. Many peanut butters contain xylitol, a sugar substitute that is highly toxic to animals. This addition causes damage to the liver, hypoglycaemia and if ingested can be fatal. If your cat has a taste for peanut butter ensure you feed a pet safe version, available at lots of pet stores.

Find out how to find an emergency veterinarian

What nuts can cats eat?

Nuts in general don’t offer any benefits to your cat, and shouldn’t be offered as a treat. Accidental ingestion is unlikely to cause long term damage, but regular feeding or eating lots in one go may make your pet sick. Nuts shouldn’t be included in your cat’s diet.

Major changes in your pet’s diet should be checked with your vet.

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