You’re spreading almond butter on your toast for breakfast and you sense it…your kitty is giving you “the eye.” The “I want that” vibes are coming your way. But, as a responsible pet owner, you want to be sure that almond butter is safe for your cat to eat before feeding some to him. The good news is that almond butter is fine for your cat to eat. However, just like with other “human” food, it shouldn’t replace your cat’s diet entirely.
Here’s everything you need to know about cats and almond butter.
Are Almonds Toxic for Cats?
First, let’s take a look at almonds. Almonds are not toxic for cats. Cats can eat all almond products, including almond butter and almond milk. To say that all cats will do well with almonds is not true, though. Some cats with sensitive stomachs will experience stomach upset like diarrhea if they eat almonds, because their bodies are not used to them.
Also, you should make sure your cat can properly chew and swallow the almond nuts before you give them frequently as a snack. This is because the hard nut can pose a choking hazard for your cat. Additionally, if swallowed whole, the nut could cause an obstruction in your cat’s gut, which would require surgery.
Other than these cautions, cats that are healthy should be able to consume almonds without incident.
What Nuts are Poisonous to Cats?
There are no known nuts that are poisonous to cats, however, you should take care to make sure your cat doesn’t eat a lot of nuts at one time. Because of the high levels of fat in the nuts, they could upset the digestive system and even cause pancreatitis in rare cases, according to the ASPCA.
Macadamia nuts especially should be avoided. These nuts are a known toxin for dogs. Although it’s unsure whether cats should eat them or not, it’s probably better to be safe than sorry.
What About Almond Milk?
Strangely enough, many cats love the taste of almond milk. As a type of milk with no lactose, it’s a perfect drink for a thirsty cat. Do make sure your cat has no allergic reaction to almonds before giving her lots of almond milk, though. As a test, give her a couple teaspoons at a time. This will be enough (but not too much) to tell if she has an adverse reaction to the milk. You should also get the green light from your vet before trying to give her a lot of almond milk, too.
What About Almond Butter and Other Nut Butters?
Now that we know that almonds are generally okay for cats to eat, what about almond butter and other nut butters?
Since almond butter is essentially concentrated almonds, it’s best to only serve a little bit at a time to your kitty. Too much could cause stomach upset. Do also make sure that your almond butter (or any nut butter) is not packed with added sugar. In general, cats should not eat excessive sugar, as it contributes to problems like obesity and diabetes in cats.
With nut butter spreads, just the consistency could be problematic for some cats. Due to it’s tacky nature, it could be difficult for some cats to get down their esophagus. Make sure to watch your cat while giving them the nut butter, and offer plenty of water.
Human Food Cats Shouldn’t Eat
Now we know almonds and almond butters are, in most cases, okay for cats to eat in small amounts. But what foods should we avoid giving our cats?
Onion or garlic
Most veggies are a-ok for your cat to consume, but not onions or garlic. This includes chives and leeks, too. Any vegetable in this family can damage a cat’s red blood cells, cause anemia, and/or disrupt your cat’s gut with symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
Theobromine, an ingredient found in all kinds of chocolate, can cause tremors, abnormal heart rhythm, seizures and even death in cats. Though they will not normally be drawn to it (cats can’t taste sweet things), you should definitely avoid giving a cat any kind of chocolate.
Grapes and raisins
Some cats will be unaffected by grapes or raisins, while other cats (inexplicably) develop kidney failure from eating either of these foods. Don’t take the risk; do not feed your cat grapes in any form.
Alcohol affects our brains and livers mildly, but for cats, these side-effects of alcohol consumption are dramatic. Only a small amount can cause a coma in a cat, or even death.
While it’s not a proven harmful ingredient for cats, xylitol can be seriously damaging for dogs. Like macadamia nuts, it’s safer to avoid giving this ingredient to your cat, even though the jury is out on its ultimate effect on cats.
Human Food Cats Can Eat
Not all foods are off-limits for your cat. For an occasional treat, your cat can enjoy the following foods:
Next time you see your cat eyeing that piece of almond butter toast, you can give him a little nibble to see if he likes it. For most cats, almond butter is completely fine to eat in small quantities. Just make sure your cat is getting all his other essential nutrition from a cat food brand that you and your veterinarian trust.
Featured Image Credit: Justyna-Pankowska, Shutterstock