Nuts and Seeds for Cats: Benefits, Risks, and Considerations

Nuts contain fat, protein, fiber, and other nutrients making them superb for a human diet. But is it so for cats? Felines are natural carnivores that rely on lean meat, meaning they are unlikely to get enough nutrition by eating high-fat food, such as nuts and seeds. However, is it okay for cats to have nuts as an occasional snack?

Can cats eat nuts? | Almonds | Brazil nuts | Cashews | Chestnuts | Hazelnuts | Macadamia nuts | Pecans | Pine nuts | Pistachios | Walnuts | Peanuts | Coconut | Can cats eat seeds? | Chia seeds | Pumpkin seeds | Quinoa | Flaxseed | Sunflower seeds | Poppy seeds | Sesame seeds

Stop Googling – Ask a Real Vet

Can cats eat nuts?

The main problem with nuts is that they are high in fat. Too much fat in the feline diet can cause weight gain and increase the risk of diabetes and pancreatitis. Even though most nuts are non-toxic for cats, you should still need to know which types may be harmful and in what amounts.


Almonds contain healthy monounsaturated fats, protein, magnesium, and vitamin E. But can cats eat almonds safely? According to ASPCA, almonds are entirely safe, contrary to dozens of myths surrounding these nuts.

As cats rely on low-fat meals, too many almonds might cause digestive issues, like stomach upset or vomiting. What’s the takeaway? Giving an almond or two is harmless, but don’t expect these nuts to be of great nutritional value for your cat.

Brazil nuts

Brazil nuts contain monounsaturated fat, vitamins C, E, B6, and A, as well as calcium, copper, zinc, magnesium, and manganese. For cats, eating an occasional Brazil nut won’t cause any significant problems, but in big amounts, they might upset your kitty’s stomach due to their high fat content.


Can cats eat cashews? Overall, cashews are safe for cats to eat, but it is best to offer them in tiny amounts as they are high in fat and can upset your cat’s stomach and cause diarrhea.

Don’t forget that overeating nuts, including cashews, can cause pancreatitis in cats. It inevitably requires medical treatment, so the best way to avoid such side effects is to offer cashews only as a rare treat.

Cats and cashews are also not the best friends because these nuts are high in sodium, and your kitty doesn’t need much sodium in their diet.


Chestnuts are known to be safe for cats, but they offer little nutritional value for felines while being too high in carbs (around 25 g per 100 g). Unlike other nuts and seeds, they are relatively low in fat and calories and thus make a better snack than cashews or walnuts.

Chestnuts contain magnesium and potassium, which may be beneficial for cats with cardiovascular issues. However, pet parents should still remember that nuts are good for cats only when offered in moderation.


This nut is considered safe for felines but it fails to meet your cat’s nutritional needs. You can share a few hazelnuts with your kitty, but not as a substitution for a regular meal.

Remember that hazelnuts are high in fat, which can upset your cat’s stomach if they eat too many. Also, they can become a choking hazard, so don’t let your cat eat hazelnuts unsupervised.

Macadamia nuts

Dogs are known to have severe issues after eating macadamia nuts, often requiring pet owners to induce vomiting and immediately call a vet. Even though no empirical studies have proved the toxicity of macadamia nuts to cats, it’s better to hide them as of now.

It’s safe to assume that some cats incidentally had eaten macadamia nuts without any consequences. But you shouldn’t experiment since the risk is too high, while the nutritional value isn’t worth it. Macadamia nuts are too high in fat (75 g per 100 g!), so overeating them can result in pancreatitis and significant weight gain.


Pecans are proven to be safe for cats, but once again, only if eaten moderately. Because of their high fat content, pecans are not welcome on your cat’s menu.

If your kitty ingested a few pecans, you shouldn’t worry too much. Make sure it doesn’t become a habit to minimize the risk of your cat developing pancreatitis or some unpleasant digestive issues, like vomiting or diarrhea.

Pine nuts

Although there is no study suggesting that pine nuts are toxic to felines, your cat may have trouble digesting them as they’re quite high in fat (68 g per 100 g).

After having too many pine nuts, your cat can experience vomiting, diarrhea, and other symptoms of an upset stomach. When eaten often and in large amounts, they may even cause pancreatitis and obesity.


Like all nuts, pistachios are high in fat, which is harmful to your companion’s diet. Pistachios are usually packaged with salt or artificial flavors. These are big no-nos for your cat.

Even if you are still willing to share pistachio with your cat, make sure it comes without a shell, as it can pose even more danger than the nut itself. The shells, if eaten, can cause an intestinal blockage, a condition requiring immediate veterinary intervention.


Walnuts are also of questionable nutritional value for cats. But are walnuts toxic to cats? Well, not really. Eating a single walnut won’t cause too much harm to your cat, but make sure it doesn’t become an everyday snack.

Because of their high fat content, having more than one nut may cause vomiting and diarrhea. What’s more, moldy walnuts can surely be dangerous to cats because of fungi producing tremorgenic mycotoxins. These toxins are poisonous to cats, so be sure to throw away any moldy walnuts you have.


Alright, but can cats eat peanuts? While peanuts aren’t toxic for felines, it doesn’t mean they’re any good. For one thing, peanuts are too high in fat, making it problematic for cats to digest them. Peanuts we buy often contain salt, sugar, artificial flavors, and taste enhancers, so always the ingredients before treating your cat.

Another issue with peanuts is that some cats can be allergic to them. Although allergy cases are not widespread, being careful with these nuts is a must. What’s more, getting rid of the shells is a must as they may cause choking or intestinal obstruction.


The most interesting thing about the coconut is actually a seed, fruit, and nut at the same time. In our case, we wonder if cats can eat it whole. What will happen? Experts believe that coconut is not harmful to cats. It is not poisonous or toxic to felines. So don’t get hysterical if your cat accidentally eats a piece of coconut.

What about coconut oil? Of course, coconut oil is not a staple food for cats, but you can use it as a healthy dietary supplement. Coconut oil in your cat’s diet can soften their fur and keep their skin healthy. You can therefore buy coconut oil and add it to wet food or feed in small amounts.

However, you need to know the measure everywhere. Coconut oil has positive effects on your cat, but it can also make him overweight or cause digestive problems. You need to be careful with this oil because its nutritional profile is far from ideal. Start introducing it into your cat’s diet step by step and add a little bit even when it comes to homemade treats for your cat.

Can cats eat seeds?

Seeds are full of vitamins, including vitamin B5, E, and B9, as well as minerals like calcium, iron, and magnesium. In addition, seeds contain fiber that may help your cat’s digestive system function properly and prevent constipation.

While the situation with nuts is trickier than you could imagine, seeds are generally more beneficial for your kittie’s health. However, there are still some restrictions you should consider.

Chia seeds

Chia seeds are high in amino acids, fiber, and carbs while having a low fat content. They are said to boost the immune system and may strengthen your cat’s bones and fur.

Although chia seeds are not toxic, they still should be shared in small amounts. A general rule of thumb is to give ¼ teaspoon for every 10 pounds of your cat’s weight. Blended chia seeds may be a better choice since they are easier for your cat to digest.

Pumpkin seeds

While some pet owners wonder if cats can eat pumpkin seeds at all, others eagerly share them with cats. And they are right, as these seeds can be quite good for your cat.

Pumpkin seeds are high in iron, calcium, zinc, and vitamin K and E. Thanks to rich fiber content, these seeds can aid your cat’s digestion if offered in moderation. Pumpkin seeds can also be used in treating intestinal worms, but be sure to grind them properly.


Quinoa is becoming increasingly popular across the United States and Europe. But have you ever thought that it’s actually a seed that cats can consume? Quinoa is rich in protein, fiber, magnesium, and copper, making it a great addition to meat or fish products.

As with other seeds, treat your cat quinoa in small amounts. Even though it doesn’t sound that appetizing to humans, offering it plain and boiled is the only option. Raw quinoa can irritate your cat’s intestinal tract, while the one cooked without any salt or spices makes an excellent meal for your cat.


Another emerging superfood is flaxseed, often referred to as linseed. You can add it to your cat’s bowl since flaxseed is entirely safe for cats. Its high Omega-3 content can improve the condition of your cat’s skin and fur, as well as aid in treating inflammatory conditions.

Even though linseed works well as a diet supplement, relying on it as a sole food source is unsafe. Mind the amounts you offer to your cat to make the most of this seed’s properties.

Sunflower seeds

Can cats eat sunflower seeds? As stated by ASPCA, sunflower is non-toxic for cats. Sunflower seeds are high in protein, vitamins E, B1, B5, manganese, copper, and healthy polyunsaturated fat. If given moderately, they can also positively impact digestive functions because of high fiber content.

Still, their fat content is too high for cats (51 g per 100 g), which can potentially upset your kitty’s stomach and cause vomiting and diarrhea. If you want to share a few sunflower seeds with your cat, make sure the shells are removed and the seeds don’t contain salt.

Poppy seeds

Letting your cat eat poppy seeds might be a huge mistake as they contain opium alkaloids dangerous for felines. While humans can metabolize them easily, the situation is very different with cats.

Some cats will only have dilated pupils, while others might experience dizziness and lethargy. You can contact a qualified veterinarian online using Vet Chat to clarify any emerging health issues. This service offers 24/7 help for all cat owners, including recommendations on nuts suitable for felines.

Sesame seeds

Like many other seeds, sesame is an excellent fiber source, making it a great digestive system stimulator. What’s more, sesame is full of minerals, such as zinc, calcium, and magnesium, which can strengthen your cat’s bones.

Even though sesame seeds can benefit your cat’s health, you should still offer them only as an occasional treat. Also, pay attention to your kitty’s teeth since sesame seeds can get stuck. If you gave your cat some sesame seeds, it’s time for teeth brushing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *