Can Cats Eat Almonds?
After vegetable and fruits, nuts are the second, or rather, third best king of micronutrients. Yes, these nuts are some of the healthiest foods one can incorporate into their diet. Of all nuts, the most popular is almonds. They are nutritious and delicious. Humans love to eat almonds, salted, roasted or mixed with raisins and chocolate. They can also be added to smoothies and salads. In the recent past, almond flour, almond butter and almond milk have also increased in popularity. Simply put, almonds are delicious and we love eating them since we know they are great for our bodies and possibly even souls (if you are a believer).
So there is no doubt that almonds are great for humans. But that is not the reason you are reading this. You are here because you want to know, can cats eat almonds. What benefits, if any, do almonds have for your cat? Are almonds safe or poisonous to your cat? recently, your cat expressed interest, in some almonds you were eating and before you give in to the temptation of feeding it to your cat, you need to be sure it will not land your cat in your vet’s emergency room.
There are too many horror stories you have heard of people who have learned the hard way that foods great and nutritious for humans are not obviously great for felines. You have grown cautious, which is a great thing.
Now, without beating around the bush, let’s get into it. Can cats eat almonds?
Almond Health Benefits
As a treat, do almonds feature some health benefits? After all, isn’t it a super food?
Full of Vitamins
While adding some almonds to your diet may work wonders with regards to improving your health, the same cannot be said about cats. Unfortunately, most of the minerals and vitamins contained in almonds go to waste in cats. Cats are obligate carnivores just like tigers, leopards, bobcats and lions are. As such, the only food they truly benefit from is meat.
If you think your bacon and ham loving uncle is a ‘hardcore carnivore’, you should know that he has got nothing on your cat. Being a carnivorous animal is much more than just having a sweet tooth for flesh – it is biological. Cats are designed to survive on nutrition that is extracted from muscle, body organs and blood of their prey. After a couple million years of feeding on meat, felines have lost the ability to extract nutrition from plant foods. Cats cannot synthesize most of the amino acids that the human digestive system can. In addition to this, in order to benefit from vitamin A, they need to acquire it in its preformed state as they do not have the necessary ‘tools’ to create it from beta-carotene.
Good for Digestive System
The type of food your cat prefers is reflected in the digestive system as well. The system is short which means that there is no time for the body to process the complex nutrient forms in almonds. Since cats are not equipped to extract nutrition from almonds, your cat gains very little by feeding on them.
On the flip side, note that there are several downsides to feeding almonds to your cat on a regular basis. At the very top of the things you should be worried about is cyanide poisoning. From the few or many spy movies you have watched, you are aware of how fast acting and efficient cyanide is as a killing agent. A few minutes after it is ingested the victim is dead. There is very little time for first aid. Do you want this to be the situation with your cat? Of course not!
Almonds contain cyanogenic glycosides which is a natural toxin. This toxin is also present in apple seeds, peach pits and cherries. In low levels, the toxin is practically harmless. But when consumed in high amounts, your cat can suffer from cyanide poisoning. This can happen if you can eat too many almonds. Signs of cyanide poisoning include stomach upsets, dilated pupils and breathing fast. In some serious cases, you cat may even go into shock and die.
Other possible problems of cats consuming almonds include;
As I explain this, I need you to understand that not all cats experience this. Nonetheless, you should keep a watchful eye over your cat when you give it some almonds.
Aside from the stomach upset caused by a form of cyanide poisoning, it may also be as a result of fats present in almonds. Yes, plant fat has a different composition from animal fat and your cat may have a hard time digesting it.
The body’s natural response to such health situations includes vomiting and diarrhea. This works to expel the substance from your cat’s body. If that does not work and the fats accumulate in the body, your cat may develop pancreatitis.
Almond Toppings and Salt
Almonds prepared to entice humans are covered in all kinds of toppings and salt. One of the toppings includes chocolate. The consumption of such excess salt can cause your cat to develop sodium ion toxicosis. This condition generally develops when your cat eats a lot of salt without taking water. In some cases, this condition may lead to death.
Point to note: chocolate is toxic for your cat. If the almonds have chocolate toppings, do not dare feed them to your cat – the situation will not end well.
What about Almond Milk?
Generally, your cat can have almond milk. This should however be served in moderation. Now you probably are wondering how in the world almond milk gets the green light and almonds nuts are in the gray area.
Well, for starters, this type of milk does not feature dairy products. This is to mean that there is no lactose which most cats seem allergic to. In addition, almond milk does not contain any ingredient that is labeled as toxic to cats. And last but not least, cats love its taste. This is definitely a treat your cat is bound to enjoy.
Remember, almond milk, should be served in moderation. If you are introducing your cat to it, be sure to monitor its reaction.
Can cats eat almonds? The simple answer is yes, but in moderation owing to the health risks involved.
That said, my personal best policy is abstinence. Things can quickly get out of hand especially when you cat falls in love with the nuts. And the fact that almonds have some form of cyanide does not ring well with me. It does not matter if it is just a small amount. My advice, keep almonds away from your cat.