Of the many questions asked about cats’ diets, one that keeps coming up is: Can cats eat almonds? There is significant confusion about this topic because the not-so-simple answer is: Yes and no.
So, to set the record straight, we’ve done the research, and in this article, we tell you everything that you could ever want to know on the topic.
It’s All About The Variety
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), much of the confusion about cats and almonds is because there are two different varieties of almonds: sweet almonds and bitter almonds. Many people aren’t aware of the difference between the two.
Sweet almonds are the types sold in shops for human consumption, and they are non-toxic to cats. Cats can eat sweet almonds.
However, just because they can eat them, that doesn’t mean they should. Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they have evolved over the centuries to require meat to survive. They don’t need plant-based food, and in fact, their digestive systems don’t cope well with it. Thus, while cats can eat sweet almonds, there is absolutely no reason to feed them to your cat.
Bitter almonds are entirely different varieties of almonds. They are not generally sold in the United States, although you may find them in specialty natural food stores. They should be clearly marked as being bitter because in their raw state, bitter almonds are highly toxic. Cats cannot eat bitter almonds.
Bitter almonds contain traces of hydrocyanic acid, a solution of hydrogen cyanide and water, the by-product of which is an organic form of the poison cyanide. As few as seven to 10 bitter almonds can kill a human child, and as few as a dozen can be enough to kill a healthy adult; there is no safe number of bitter almonds that a cat can eat.
If you suspect that your cat has consumed even the smallest amount of bitter almond, you should seek advice from a veterinarian or the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center.
What About Almond Milk?
Almond milk is produced from sweet almonds. As such, cats can drink almond milk.
While both adult cats and kittens can drink almond milk, and many lactose-intolerant kittens are fed almond milk as an alternative to cow’s milk, some cats have difficulty digesting it. If you have a lactose-intolerant kitten, you may be better off feeding your kitten a commercial cat milk formula.
Can My Cat Have Almond Butter?
Like almond milk, almond butter is produced from sweet almonds. Thus, cats can eat almond butter. However, much like sweet almonds themselves, almond butter has little nutritional value for a cat, and there is no real reason that you should want to feed it to your pet.
Featured Image: Steve Buissinne, Pixabay