Nuts and seeds are excellent sources of plant-based protein, healthy fats, and other nutrients. They’re a superfood that should be part of a healthy diet. But are they also good for cats? Can cats eat nuts and seeds?
Felines are carnivorous beings, so they get most of their nutritional needs from meat and don’t need to rely on plant-based foods. Moreover, nuts and seeds are dense in fat which is bad for cats. Not only that but some nuts and seeds can also be toxic to felines.
Let’s dig deeper and tell you everything you need to know about feeding your cat Nut Fruits and dry seeds.
Can Cats Eat Nuts?
Nuts contain protein, fiber, and healthy fats. They help provide the human body with good fats such as Omega 3. The human body does not fully absorb the fats in nuts, so they don’t usually result in weight gain.
However, the amount of fats in nuts is too high for felines as they are much smaller than humans. So, feeding nuts to cats can cause weight gain and a high risk of diabetes. Nuts can also be a choking hazard for cats, making them dangerous for kitties. As per ASPCA, avoid feeding nuts to cats because it can cause digestive issues. Therefore, nuts are not recommended for cats, and they should not eat them.
Is It Safe for Cats to Eat Nuts?
The safety of nuts for cats depends on what kind of nuts they are given. Some nuts come with coatings causing gastric irritation and may also damage the gastrointestinal lining of cats. Although this does not happen with all nuts, it is still a risk.
Some nuts lead to toxicosis, causing severe cat reactions like irregular breathing, diarrhea, vomiting, and liver dysfunction. Nuts poisoning in cats can also cause digestive upset and pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is a condition where the pancreas of the affected cat becomes inflamed.
Even nuts that are safe for cats should not be a regular treat. Moderation is key. Be careful about the amount and type of nuts given to the cats. If given in the right amount, nuts are a great source of protein and fiber for cats. So, make sure you do not overfeed your cat nuts.
Important to Know! What Benefits Nuts have for Cats?
While cats should not generally eat nuts, some are safe for them and can be beneficial. Let’s discuss how nuts like pecans and cashews benefit your kitty’s health.
Here are some advantages of feeding nuts to your feline friend:
- Protein: The ideal cat diet contains around 40-50% protein. Cats have a higher protein digestibility which makes protein even more suitable for cats. So, foods rich in protein are good for cats. Since most nuts and seeds are rich in plant-based proteins, they are a good source of protein for cats.
- Fiber: Nuts are a good source of fiber. Feeding a few nuts can be a good source of fiber for cats. This aids in digestion and improves bowel movement.
- Vitamins and Antioxidants: Nuts are also loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help boost immunity, counter fatigue, stimulate appetite and improve overall health.
- Healthy Fats: Fats are not good for cats, but that does not mean they don’t need fats. Cats need around 20% fats in their diet to maintain a healthy body. However, you need to make sure that they are getting healthy fats. Nuts contain good fats that reduce inflammation, improve heart health, reduce bad cholesterol, increase bone density, etc.
What Kind of Nuts Can Cats Eat?
Giving nuts to cats can be tricky as extreme measures must be taken before adding them to your cat’s diet. For example, monitor your cat if it chokes on a nut or has an allergy attack causing pancreatitis.
But first of all, you need to know which nuts a cat can eat. Here is a list of the nuts that are safe for cats to eat occasionally:
Almonds are a great source of healthy fats, protein, and fiber which is good for a cat’s health. So, are almonds safe for cats? Yes, they are. Almonds are not toxic for cats; according to ASPCA, they are 100% safe.
However, since they are not a typical part of a cat’s diet, expect almonds to be of little nutritional value for your cat. They can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and possibly pancreatitis if consumed in large amounts. With this in mind, giving an almond or two to your cat is harmless.
Alright, can cats eat pistachios? The simple answer is yes. Pistachios are high in fat but not very dangerous for cats as fat (45g) is not as high as other nuts. However, pistachios come with awfully high amounts of salt and artificial flavors, making them unsafe for cats. These are unacceptable for cats to digest in heavy amounts. It is recommended to give pistachios to cats without shells and skin to avoid choking and gastrointestinal blockage.
Walnuts and Black Walnuts
Walnuts and black walnuts do not contain any toxins. So, for those wondering if walnuts are safe cats, they are. You can give your cat a walnut or two as an occasional snack. However, walnuts contain polyunsaturated fats, which are healthy for humans but not cats, as they can lead to weight gain. The excessive amounts of protein in black walnuts can damage the cat’s kidney and liver if eaten as an everyday snack. The quantity of fat in walnuts is 65g which is quite high. Although, eating a single walnut once in a while will not harm the cat.
Can cats eat pecan nuts? Pecan nuts are not toxic for cats, so yes. Pecans are proven to be safe for cats but again, only if eaten occasionally. Like other nuts, pecans also contain high levels of fats which is why most people discard them from their cat’s menu. Digestive issues like vomiting and diarrhea can occur if cats develop the habit of eating pecans. Pet parents should know if their cat takes one or a few pecans, they shouldn’t be so worried.
Brazil nuts have a buttery and nutty flavor. If your cat has developed a liking for these nuts, don’t worry. Brazil nuts are nontoxic to cats. So, can cats eat Brazil nuts? Yes, but only in moderation. Brazil nuts contain many nutrients like Vitamins, magnesium, and monounsaturated fats, which are as beneficial for cats as they are for humans. However, just like other nuts, moderation is important. Giving high amounts of these nuts to your kitties is unsafe. Feeding too much Brazil nuts to kitties will lead to stomach issues.
We have good news for pet owners wondering, can cats eat cashew nuts? Cashew nuts are safe for cats only if given in small quantities. Like all other nuts, cashew nuts are high in fat as well, allowing them to cause vomiting and diarrhea in cats. Although, that’s only possible if they take cashew nuts in large amounts.
Roasted cashew nuts are also very high in sodium, which is unsuitable for cats. Remember that a single cashew nut will not harm your cat, so make sure it is not more than a snack. The best way to feed cashews to your cat is to top their food with crushed cashews.
Can cats eat pine nuts? Is this a valid concern for cat owners because not all nuts are safe for felines? But fortunately, pine nuts are not only safe for cats, but they can also be quite beneficial for their health. Pine nuts boost energy levels and provide cats with magnesium, iron, and protein. Note that cats can only eat pine nuts in small amounts. Try to meet only some of your cat’s nutritional requirements from pine nuts. The fat in these nuts is 68g, so they are moderately fatty. So, watch how much you feed these nuts to cats, as it may cause weight gain.
Overall, pine nuts are not bad for cats. Even if a cat overeats pine nuts, it will cause slight digestive issues at worst. These nuts might be a reason for a choking hazard due to their shape so remember to break them into small pieces before feeding the cat.
Do cats love chestnuts as much as we do? Can cats eat chestnuts? Yes. American chestnuts are completely safe for cats to consume. They contain vitamins, minerals, and high levels of fiber. Chestnuts are loaded with antioxidants that are very helpful in protecting your cat’s cells from free radical damage. Moreover, chestnuts are not as fatty as other nuts, making them a better snack for cats. Nevertheless, to treat your kitty with chestnuts, remember to cut them into small pieces and remove the husks and shells.
Can cats eat hazelnuts? Yes, they can. Hazelnuts are non-toxic and safe for cats. However, there are better food for felines. Hazelnuts are considered unhealthy for felines due to their high levels of fats, causing serious digestive problems. Hazelnuts are also high in carbs, so the calories in hazelnuts can add up quickly, leading to weight gain. Now, a single hazelnut will only do a little, but there’s no need to take the risk as these nuts already don’t do much to add any nutritional value to a cat’s diet.
There is nothing toxic in peanuts for felines. Cats can safely eat peanuts in small quantities every once in a while. Even dry-roasted peanuts are safe for cats. Ensure you don’t feed salted peanuts to cats, as too much sodium is unsafe. So, salted peanuts can cause dehydration and digestive upset in cats. Also, remove the shell and only feed the nut to your cat.
Nuts Allergy to Cats
Are cats allergic to nuts? Although nuts are mostly nontoxic, like humans, nut allergies are also quite common in cats. For example, most cats are allergic to macadamia nuts. Cats with sensitive stomachs may also exhibit signs of an allergic reaction to other fruit nuts. Severe allergy to other types of nuts can cause pancreatitis, which is a severe condition for cats.
There is no specific cause of nut allergies in cats, as anything can be a trigger, causing a reaction to the eyes, skin, and digestive system. The respiratory system can also be affected.
Common symptoms of Nut allergy in cats include:
- Excessive salivation and drooling
- Chewing paws and tail
- Constant scratching
- Watery and itchy eyes
- Sneezing and coughing
If you notice these signs and symptoms of nut allergy in your cat, contact a vet as soon as possible. Do not self-medicate or wait for the symptoms to get better on their own.
Avoid: Which Nuts Are Toxic for Cats to Eat?
So far, we have discussed the nuts cats can safely eat in moderation and under monitoring. But there are some nuts that your cat should never eat. Eating these nuts can wreak havoc on your cat’s health. This is because they are toxic to cats.
Here is the most toxic fruit nut for cats:
Macadamia nuts are super healthy for humans. Eating a handful of these nuts daily improves heart and gut health and prevents diseases such as diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Unfortunately, the same is not true for cats eating macadamia nuts. Macadamia nuts are highly toxic to cats.
The best you can do is keep macadamia nuts away from your kitties. These nuts are famous for their ability to cause problems like vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and tremors in cats. Unlike other nuts, cats cannot bear these nuts, even in small amounts. Felines also find these nuts hard to digest due to their high fat concentration.
So, never feed macadamia nuts to your feline friends. Most cats are also allergic to these nuts, so it’s better not to risk it. Call your vet or take your cat to the nearest emergency clinic as soon as possible if your cat ever eats even the smallest amount of macadamia nuts.
Keep Nutshells Away from Cats! Why?
Nutshells might provide fiber, but it is not okay to consume them as they are very hard to digest. They can interfere with normal digestive function and accumulate in the gastrointestinal tract causing stomach distress. It’s better to remove nutshells before feeding nuts to cats. They are also a choking hazard and may harm your cat’s teeth.
Can Cats Eat Seeds?
Seeds are very healthy for the nutrition of cats as they contain vitamins like vitamins B and E. Seeds also have many other minerals like Calcium and iron. Most importantly, they are packaged with a high quantity of fiber which helps eliminate any digestive problems from the cat and prevent constipation.
Seeds are much better than nuts because they are much more beneficial and safer for cats than nuts. However, there are still some things to consider before feeding seeds to cats.
What Seeds Can Cats Eat?
Most seeds are safe for cats to eat. Here is a list of seeds you can add to your cat’s diet for an added boost of nutrition:
Sunflower seeds are high in protein, vitamins, and copper. They are really good for the digestive functions of cats due to their high fiber content, but only if given in the right amount. Too much intake of these seeds can lead to vomiting and diarrhea. If you still want to treat your kitty with sunflower seeds, ensure they don’t contain salts.
Many pet parents share pumpkin seeds with their cats without any trouble, which is great because they are extremely beneficial for cats. These seeds have very important nutrients like iron, zinc, and Calcium. Pumpkin seeds help cats digest food quicker, heal wounds and boost immunity. Other than these amazing benefits, pumpkin seeds also treat intestinal worms.
Chia seeds are tiny seeds containing fiber, carbs, and amino acids. These seeds have low-fat content and help boost the immune system. Although these seeds are not toxic or bad for cats, they should still be used in small amounts. If used in the right quantity, chia seeds strengthen the cat’s bones and fur. Make sure to blend the seeds before feeding them to your kitty for easier digestion.
These seeds are very healthy for cats, so keep giving these to your cat as a treat. Although, these treats should be given in moderation as a cat’s digestive system cannot function properly if the intake is too much. Sesame seeds are full of minerals like Calcium and magnesium, which help strengthen your kitty’s bones. Another thing to keep in mind while feeding is to check your cat’s teeth, as sesame seeds tend to get stuck to teeth very easily.
Can cats eat pomegranate seeds? Yes, but with some precautions. Pomegranate seeds are not entirely unsafe for cats, but kitties can choke on them, even if they are small in pieces. Seeds are not a natural part of a cat’s diet, so the digestive system can take time to get used to it. Check on your cat after feeding them pomegranate seeds like other seeds for an unexpected reaction.
Most pet parents generally are concerned about hemp seeds as there aren’t many studies on how hemp seeds affect cats. They also assume hemp-related substances are usually harmful, which is incorrect. Hemp seeds are not toxic for cats, but only if given in moderation. A heavy dose or regular use of these seeds might lead to troubling symptoms.
Cantaloupe seeds are a good source of Vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants. The high fiber content in cantaloupe seeds aids digestion and improves bowel movement. These seeds are good for cats but should not be used as a regular treat. Adding these seeds to your cat’s regular food now and then is more than enough. Make sure to grind the seeds before feeding.
Catnip seeds are the best seeds you can feed your kitty as they contain nepetalactone. These can increase the happy hormones of your cats and make them active, but this will only last for a few minutes. No need to add them regularly to meals, some seeds from time to time are enough.
Flax seeds are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. There are no reports of cats unexpectedly reacting to the feeding of even a large number of flaxseeds, making them completely safe for cats. To be sure, consult with your vet before giving them these seeds because it is still possible for cats to develop intestinal discomfort.
Cucumber seeds are not entirely harmful to kitties but should be fed in small quantities. Again, remember that cats are carnivores, and cucumbers are not a part of their natural diet, so it will not do much good to them. A few seeds from time to time can put your cat’s curiosity to rest. If you overdose these seeds, take your kitty to a vet immediately, as it can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
Which Seeds are Toxic for Cats?
While most seeds are safe for cats, a few can be highly toxic. Here are the seeds you should avoid feeding to your cats:
Not just poppy seeds but every part of the poppy flower is toxic to cats. Keep poppy seeds away from your cats as much as possible, as they contain opium alkaloids which are extremely dangerous for cats. These seeds work much better for humans and are not suitable for cats. After ingesting poppy seeds, most cats only express dilated pupils. However, some also suffer from nausea, vomiting, lethargy, and dizziness. Its nutritional value is far from ideal for your kitty.
Watermelon seeds contain cyanide, a strong and toxic substance that is harmful to cats. Unlike humans, cats have a sensitive digestive system that might not be enough to feed on even one or two seeds. If you still decide on feeding them to your kitty, keep a close eye on them, as these seeds can also be a choking hazard due to their shape and size.
Cats are curious creatures. They love tasting and trying human foods such as nuts and seeds. Some things to avoid in nuts for cats of all ages include:
While it’s safe for them to munch on a few occasions, it is not recommended to feed nuts and seeds regularly to your cat. This is because the high-fat content of nuts can cause weight gain and stomach upset.
Always remove the nut shells because they are hard and can cause damaged teeth, choking, and international obstruction.
Don’t feed salted or sugar-coated nuts to your cat. Such nuts are highly processed and contain many carbs and unhealthy fats.
Some nuts and seeds can also be highly toxic to cats, so don’t ever feed those to your kitty.