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Can Cats Eat Almonds? Are You NUTS to Feed Your Cat Nuts?

Posted in: Cat Health - Last Updated: April 4, 2022 - Author: Rebekah Carter
Posted in Cat Health 
Last Updated: March 24, 2022  
Author:  Rebekah Carter
tabby cat sitting next to a bowl of almonds

Can cats eat almonds? It’s a fair question to ask. 

For human beings, almonds are a delicious and nutritional treat, packed full of great ingredients like vitamin E, magnesium, protein, and fiber. If you’re snacking on some almonds and your curious kitty wanders over for a taste, you might decide you want to share. 

Of course, not all foods suitable for the human digestive system will also be ideal for your feline friend. As much as you like to spoil your furry pal, it’s important to ensure you’re not feeding them anything which might cause health issues or harm.

Sweet almonds aren’t necessarily toxic to cats, but this doesn’t mean they’re a good everyday snack either. Here’s everything you need to know about feeding your cats almonds.

Can Cats Eat Almonds? The Science

Just because nutty foods are delightful and healthy for us, doesn’t mean your cat should eat it. Many of the vitamins, minerals, and other crucial substances in almonds that make them so great for us just aren’t useful for cats. Cats are known as obligate carnivores, which means they generally don’t need nuts and vegetables in their day-to-day diet. 

Almonds also contain cyanogenic glycosides which are actually natural toxins. This natural toxin is also present in apple seeds, peach pits, and cherries. 

The only food your cat really needs in its diet is meat – packed full of protein and essential substances like taurine. Cats won’t benefit from things like vitamin A in almonds, because they don’t have the internal tools required to create this substance through beta carotene. 

In simple terms, feeding your cats almonds won’t give them any specific benefits. However, your feline friends shouldn’t be in too much danger if they accidentally ingest almonds. A little almond here and there shouldn’t be too dangerous, but almonds aren’t a suitable snack for your cat on a regular basis. The more you feed your furry friend almonds, the more threats you expose them to.

ginger cat eating from silver bowl

Potential Dangers of Almonds for Cats

A simple answer to the question “can cats eat almonds?” is yes – in very small doses. However, there’s really no need to feed your kitty nut products, such as pecans, walnuts, macadamia nuts, almond butter, if you can avoid it. Though most of the time, there won’t be any dangers to your pets, there are potential risks associated with almonds which you would be better off avoiding completely. 

For instance, some of the possible risks include:

  • Cyanide poisoning: This is extremely unlikely unless your cat eats a huge amount of almonds, but it’s still a risk worth being aware of. Bitter almonds are more worrisome than sweet almonds, when consumed this breaks down into both contain small traces of cyanide compounds, which can add up over time. An ingredient this dangerous in your almonds makes it clear why you should probably avoid giving these nuts to your furry friends.
  • Choking Hazard: Your cats are made to process meat, not nuts and vegetables. Their teeth weren’t really meant to crush nuts. This could mean your kitty attempts to swallow any almonds you give them whole. If the nut is large enough, this could lead to an obstruction in your cats’ airway, causing them to choke.
  • Obstructions: Though your cat may be able to swallow an almond successfully, there’s always a risk there could be an obstruction elsewhere in their digestive system. A nut causing an obstruction inside your kitty could be seriously problematic for your cat. Not only would this be extremely uncomfortable, but it could be potentially life-threatening too.
  • Stomach upsets: Anything new in your cat’s diet can cause problems with their stomach and digestion. You’ve probably noticed this if you’ve ever tried switching your cat onto a new source of food. An upset stomach may result in diarrhea, vomiting, and a generally unhappy experience for your cat.
  • Obesity: Again, this is unlikely if your cat isn’t eating huge amounts of almonds, however, it is a risk worth being aware of. Almonds are calorie-dense and have a high-fat content. Your cat could struggle with digesting this high-fat food content and weight gain if they’re exposed to large quantities. A build-up of fat can also lead to problems like pancreatitis.
  • Dangerous toppings: Almonds don’t always come plain and simple, with absolutely no toppings. There is a multitude of different options out there with different seasonings and coatings to make them more enjoyable. Chocolate-coated almonds are a serious problem for cats, as chocolate is highly toxic to cats and all your pets. Salt is also a problematic seasoning, as it places your cat at risk of developing sodium ion toxicosis.
tabby eating from human hand

What About Almond Milk?

If you’re concerned about almonds in general, giving your cat a tiny amount of almond milk might be a better alternative. Almond milk isn’t a dairy product, so it’s somewhat less problematic to cats than regular milk, as cats are lactose intolerant

In most cases, almond milk also won’t include any ingredients deemed toxic to cats. However, it’s always worth reading the ingredients list and doing your research, just in case. Almond milk, like any treat for your cat, needs to be served in moderation to ensure you don’t have to deal with issues like obesity. 

Almond milk could be an ideal alternative to almonds for some cats, but it won’t necessarily be suitable for every feline. It’s best to watch your cats’ response to almond milk carefully, to ensure there aren’t any issues.

Should Cats Eat Almonds?

The answer to “can cats eat almonds” maybe “yes”, but this doesn’t mean they should be eating almonds. When you consider the number of potential health risks associated with eating almonds, compared with the nonexistent health benefits for your cat, it’s best to simply avoid almonds entirely. Your cat isn’t going to be missing out on anything if you don’t share your almonds with her, no matter how unhappy she might look when you keep the bag away. 

Whenever it comes to looking after our furry family members, it generally makes more sense to be safe than sorry. Avoid giving your kitty any almonds where possible, but don’t worry too much if they happen to accidentally get their paws on some of these nuts. A small amount of almonds shouldn’t be too problematic, but you can always contact your vet if you’re concerned.

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About the author

Rebekah Carter is a dedicated animal lover. Her Savannah cat, Roscoe, has a lot of attitude, while her Maine Coon, Dukino, is full of love. When not writing, she’s looking after her cats and researching ways to help them live their best possible life. Her passion for animals and natural skill for writing led her to pursue pet blogging.