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Can cats eat nuts?

Cat sniffing nuts advice

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

© Shutterstock

We, humans love to eat nuts. They are extremely healthy for us, provide a great source of fats and come in different varieties: almond, peanuts, cashew nuts, macadamia nuts, pistachio nuts, etc. You might know that some of these nuts are toxic to dogs, but what about cats? Let’s find out.

By Emilie Heyl

Published on the 04/10/2020, 17:00

Nuts are a great source of protein, fiber and are high in fat (healthy fat). They make great snacks, biscuits or desserts for humans, but aren’t so safe to add to your cat’s diet. Indeed, nuts come in different varieties and some of these can be toxic to cats.

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?

We wouldn’t recommend giving nuts to your cat. Nuts aren’t toxic so if your cat has eaten one or two nuts it will be fine, but don’t add nuts into your cat’s diet. It is very important to keep in mind that cats are carnivores, it can be difficult for them to digest other sources of food other than meat.

For us humans, nuts are healthy but for your cat, nuts are too fat. The high fat excess found in nuts can lead to many health problems. Indeed, if your cat has eaten too many nuts, this can have a bad effect on your cat’s digestive system. This will cause vomiting and diarrhoea. Also, if your cat eats too much fat and salt, it will gain weight and eventually a pancreatitis will start to develop and lead to kidney failure.

You can buy some nuts covered in things like paprika, spices and chocolate. These are to avoid ABSOLUTELY! Chocolate is very dangerous for cats, it’s extremely toxic. If you wish to give a nut or two to your cat, it’s important you give unsalted and unflavoured nuts.

Giving a few nuts isn’t going to harm your cat, but it may be best to avoid giving your cat nuts.

Can cats eat peanuts?

It happens sometimes that you drop a peanut on the floor and by curiosity your cat goes to munch on it. Peanuts aren’t toxic for cats, so it’s ok if your furry friend has a peanut or two but don’t include these in your cat’s diet.

Peanuts are composed of a high proportion of proteins, vitamin E and biotin. They also have a few carbohydrates. However, even if your cat needs to eat a large amount of protein, peanuts are not suitable for its nutritional needs. Cats should get the source of protein they need from meat because it contains a different balance of amino acids and one of the most important one is called taurine. Vitamin E and biotin will benefit your cat’s connective tissue, fur and skin but there are better foods where you will be able to find these nutrients.

If you do wish to give peanuts to your cat, give it to them as a treat, occasionally and make sure they are raw. Some peanuts contain a lot of salt and other additives which will cause liver damage or obesity.

Can cats eat cashew nuts?

Cashew nuts aren’t toxic for cats, but they aren’t important to add in your cat’s diet. As a cat owner, it’s important to make sure your cat follows the right nutritional guidelines: a high amount of protein, a moderate amount of fat and a small amount of sugar.

The high fat substance found in cashew nuts can cause severe stomach problems for your cat. They may start vomiting, having diarrhoea and their pancreas might become irritated. Your cat might also suffer from cashew nut hypersensitivity. The symptoms are the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Trouble breathing
  • Swelling
  • Rashes

If your cat is showing any signs of the above, make sure you go visit your veterinarian. If these symptoms aren’t treated properly and quickly, this could lead to more severe health problems.

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

Cashew nuts aren’t toxic for cats, but they aren’t necessary in your cat’s nutritional needs. Because of the high amount of fat if you give too many cashew nuts, that won’t be good for your cat.

Can cats eat macadamia nuts?

No, cats can’t eat macadamia nuts! It has been proven that this variety of nut is toxic for dogs because it affects their nervous system. Although we don’t know if macadamia nuts have the same effect on cats, it’s best to avoid them anyway as they don’t bring any special nutritional benefits to your cat.

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 your cat with these. If your cat eats a few pistachio nuts, don’t panic your cat will be fine. Just make sure you don’t add pistachio nuts or any other nuts in your cat’s diet.

Pistachio nuts are healthy for us humans, but not for our furry friends. Nuts and pistachio nuts are difficult to digest for your cat, your cat might experience some level of gastrointestinal distress such as bloating or excessive gas.

Another risk when feeding pistachios or any other nuts to your cat is foreign body obstruction. In other words, it’s when something gets stuck in the intestinal tract causing pain and discomfort and sometimes can even be fatal. Most of the time, surgery will be needed to remove the foreign body.

Are almonds toxic to cats?

A very small amount of almonds won’t be toxic to your cat, but if you give them too many almonds, this could lead to severe health problems. Almonds are packed with minerals and vitamins which are healthy for humans but not beneficial for cats.

One of the main disadvantages of feeding almonds to your cat is cyanide poisoning. Indeed, almonds contain cyanogenic glycosides which is a natural toxin and when it is consumed in high amounts, it can be toxic. This natural toxin can also be found in apple seeds, peach pits and cherries. The symptoms to look out for if your cat suffers from cyanide poisoning are:

  • Upset stomach
  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased breathing

Can cats eat peanut butter?

Peanut butter isn’t toxic for cats but it doesn’t bring any nutritional value to your furry friend. Peanut butter is a combination of protein, fat, salt, carbohydrates and some peanut butter also have added sugar. The nutty flavour may interest your dog’s taste buds but not your cat’s.

However, if your cat does like the taste of peanut butter, it should be fine to give them a very small amount but shouldn’t be fed on a regular basis. Be extra vigilant with peanut butter, some may contain Xylitol and this sugar substitute is extremely toxic for cats and dogs. Make sure you check the ingredient list before giving peanut butter to your pet.

If your cat shows any unusual signs while eating peanut butter, go see your veterinarian immediately.

Find out how to find an emergency veterinarian

What nuts can cats eat?

Walnuts are the most dangerous nuts to give to your cat. Concerning the varieties of nuts which are safe to give your cat are hazelnuts, pine nuts, peanuts, cashew nuts, pistachio nuts and almonds.

Nuts in general don’t offer any benefits to your cat. If you can avoid giving them to your furry friend it is probably best to. However, if your cat eats one or two nuts it won’t harm him, but if your furry friend eats a high amount of nuts, this will have an impact on its health and digestive system.

Make sure you speak to your vet before introducing any human foods into your cat’s diet. Monitor your cat’s behaviour and if you realise any signs like vomiting, diarrhoea, difficulty breathing, swelling, or rashes appear on your cat’s skin, go immediately to your vet.

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