Cashews make for the perfect little snacks; they’re small and delicious. We humans love to munch on them at any given time. And our kitties seem to enjoy them too. So, the question arises, ‘can cats eat cashews?’
If you find your furry cat pal wolfing down a nut or two, there’s not much to worry about since it will not pose a threat on a once off basis. And If you plan on giving your kitties some cashew treats, then this should be done in moderation.
Raising a happy, healthy kitty starts with nutrition. It’s good to know which human food is okay to give your feline. It’s pretty standard for pet owners to share their food with their furry pals. The common idea is: ‘if it’s good for me, then it’s good for them.’ However, that’s not always the case.
Let’s take a look into answering some burning questions relating to whether or not our cats can eat cashews. And how cashews may have a negative effect on your feline’s health.
Can Cats Eat Cashews – 5 Things to Consider
1. Cashews are High in Fat
While cashews aren’t toxic for your kitty, they’re not healthy to feed them regularly. According to research, these nuts contain around 4% fat, 30% carbohydrates, and 18% protein and are considered unhealthy for felines.
Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they need a good protein diet to stay healthy. A feline’s primary diet consists of lean meats in the wild, and they don’t often consume fats – and certainly not the high amounts you’d find in these nuts.
In fact, cats aren’t even meant to eat plants; they only rarely do this to help aid with digestive issues. Other than that, their diet is almost completely meat-based.
So, our kitties digestive systems aren’t good at processing plant-based foods – such as nuts – either. It could lead to an upset stomach or vomiting.
Since their bodies aren’t necessarily efficient in digesting high amounts of fats, they’ll store more of it, leading to a rather round, overweight kitty over time. And, just like us, obesity is a severe problem many of our pets face.
To help fight against it, we should ensure our pets stick to a lean diet.
2. Cashews Can Cause Pancreatitis
If you feed your cat cashew nuts on a regular basis, it can lead to long-term adverse effects on the pancreas. Pancreatitis in cats is caused by enlarging your kit2. ty’s pancreas, which will require advanced medical treatment.
The most common symptoms of pancreatitis include:
- Abdominal pain
- Appetite loss
3. Cashews are High in Sodium
Cats naturally eat very little sodium-based products. And for this reason, their small bodies aren’t great at processing high quantities. Nuts, even without added salt, are high in sodium.
When your kitty eats a food, high in sodium concentration – like seasoned cashew nuts – it can cause them to become dehydrated. Even if you treat your cat with a nut or two, you’ll need to ensure that there is enough water close by to prevent your kitty from becoming dehydrated.
In the worst-case scenario, an excessive build-up of too much sodium or salt can result in bone issues and heart failure in your cat’s body.
4. Cashews Can Cause Allergic Response
Although fairly rare, cashew nuts can provoke an allergic response if our kitties ingest too much of it regularly. Seasoning tends to trigger allergies and can cause stomach upset in felines.
An allergic reaction to cashews can also include difficulty breathing, a rash, swelling, or appetite loss.
5. Cashews Can be a Choking Hazard
It might sound dramatic, but it’s one of the most potentially life-threatening risks that these nuts pose for your darling cat. While cashews might be easy for us to chew, we need to keep in mind our felines have very different teeth.
In the wild, cats don’t eat grains, starches, nuts, etc. Instead, they feed on meat sources from other animals. This means their teeth are built to rip, tear and eat meats, not nuts.
Though cashews appear to be very small to us, they aren’t so small to our kitties. A cashew can easily get lodged into your cat’s airway, and they can choke on it. Worst case scenario, it could be fatal if you don’t take immediate action.
Note: If you are going to feed your cat cashews regardless, make sure you break the nut into smaller pieces.
Where do Cashews Come From?
The cashew tree is native to Brazil and it is believed that the Portuguese began exporting cashews from Brazil in the 16th century. Today most cashews are grown in Nigeria, Vietnam, India and the Ivory Coast. It takes more labour to produce a cashew than other types of nuts and this results in a higher price.
About 2/3 of the cashews produced are consumed in their natural form. The balance are turned into products like butter, chocolate, cakes etc.
Can Cats Drink Cashew Milk?
Soy, almond, rice, and cashew milk are popular milk alternatives for many health reasons. These alternatives are good choices for those who are lactose intolerant and unable to drink cow’s milk.
These alternative products are typically made by soaking them in water and then grinding it down into a paste. Thereafter, combining it with water again before straining it into its liquid form.
The ingredients in cashew milk are what makes them unsuitable for our felines. Too much fat may trigger obesity and heart problems.
It’s sweet to think of your cute kitty lapping up a tasty bowl of our ever-so-popular nut milk, but any variety of milk is simply not needed for your cat’s health.
Like nuts, cashew milk may provoke an allergic response, and high amounts of it can be too much for your kitty’s digestive system. So, if you’re going to give your cat cashew milk, it should be given gradually and in small quantities.
Remember, our felines have sensitive stomachs when it comes to breaking down proteins and foods.
Are Cashews Toxic to Cats?
Cashew nuts and milk do not contain any ingredients that are poisonous to cats. So, you won’t have to worry about your sweet kitty trying out some tasty nuts on the dining table.
However, cashews are often seasoned, and too much salt in your cat’s diet is not good when it comes to bone development and heart function. So, ensure they aren’t going wild on the nuts when given the opportunity.
What About Kittens?
Cats and kittens aren’t the same. Unlike grown cats, kittens don’t have any developed teeth so they can’t chew cashews. Also, their digestive systems aren’t developed enough to be able to process a solid food item like a cashew. And the small size of their throats makes choking even more of a hazard. Even cashew milk can be bad for kittens due to the high level of fat. So it is best to completely avoid any food or drink items related to cashews when it comes to kittens.
A Footnote: Can Cats Eat Cashew Nuts?
Cashew nuts are rather delicious and healthy snacks for human beings but are not ideal for felines. They contain too much fat content, making them unhealthy for our kitties.
In a nutshell, cats should stick to their roots and eat a protein-rich, animal-based diet. While a casual nut or two will likely leave your kitty perfectly happy, it’s best to rather not get into the habit of treating them with human snacks.