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Can Cats Eat Nutella? Is It Healthy for Them?

The world loves Nutella, whether served on bread or eaten right out of the jar. It’s soft, creamy, tasty, and wonderfully portioned with 30% chocolate and 70% hazelnut. It’s so popular that there is even a world Nutella day—giving fans yet another reason to indulge in its goodness.

As with any adoring cat parent, we love to share the delights of this world with our fur babies, but it’s vital to first make sure that what we share is cat friendly. Unfortunately, Nutella is not safe for cats, and your kitty will have to miss out on this treat no matter how eager they may be to get a lick. Don’t worry; your cat won’t be losing out as they can’t taste nor appreciate sweet things anyway.

Keep reading to understand what makes Nutella so dangerous for cats, what to do if they get into a jar of some while you’re not looking, what alternatives you can use as treats instead, and what your cat’s diet should consist of.

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Why Isn’t Nutella Cat Friendly?

What makes Nutella dangerous to cats is the chocolate. Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, which give humans energy but are toxic to cats. The more cocoa in a product, the higher the amount of these substances.

Nutella also contains high levels of sugar, fat, whey, and milk powder. Although tasty, this spread doesn’t benefit your body much, and it certainly won’t benefit your cat, instead offering health issues, such as diabetes, insulin resistance, and unhealthy weight gain. The high levels of sugar in Nutella can also cause your cat’s teeth to rot, which will lead to dental problems.

Although not part of a cat’s natural diet, they can eat a few hazelnuts without it being harmful to them. However, they shouldn’t form part of their daily diet. Cats are obligate carnivores and require foods that contain meat. Sugars and other “human food” aren’t designed for cats, and their little bodies struggle to process them.

Nutella, as a whole, is not healthy for cats. The small amounts of protein, iron, and calcium do benefit your cat, but they should be absorbed through cat-friendly foods instead of Nutella, which could potentially kill them.

The ingredients in Nutella can have dire effects on your cat’s body by increasing their heart rate, decreasing their blood pressure, reducing their fluids, and stimulating their nervous system.

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What Do You Do If Your Cat Has Eaten Nutella?

a cat that feels sick and seems to vomit
Image Credit: chie hidaka, Shutterstock

If you’ve found Nutella all over your cat’s face or caught them in the act, the first thing to remember is to act calmly. If your cat has ingested Nutella, they’ll likely start showing symptoms within 6–12 hours.

Symptoms from a small amount of Nutella include:
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Lack of appetite
  • Excessive water drinking
  • Fatigue
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Fast, shallow breathing

If your cat munched down a large amount of Nutella, symptoms include:

  • Muscle tremors
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Unusual breathing
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

Regardless of how much Nutella your cat ingested, you need to contact your veterinarian and inform them of the situation. They know your cat and any health condition they may have, and they will know whether your cat is at a higher risk or not.

Your vet may ask you several questions to better assess the situation. They’ll ask you what time your cat ate the Nutella, how much they ingested, and what symptoms your cat is displaying. They’ll walk you through what you should do, or they’ll tell you to bring your cat in for closer observation and treatment.

Instead of waiting it out and hoping your cat will be okay, act quickly. This will save your cat a lot of unnecessary discomfort and your vet will be able to better help your cat right after they’ve ingested the Nutella than they would be many hours later once the toxins have been digested.

A cat’s body is a lot smaller than a human’s, and even “small” amounts can be too much for your cat. However, if you saw your cat take a lick of the Nutella and walk away, they’re most likely not going to suffer severely and may only experience a few mild symptoms.

Thankfully, cats are instinctual and aren’t typically drawn to foods that don’t contain the nutrients they need. Your cat is much more likely to steal chicken off your plate than eat their way through a jar of Nutella. Regardless, always keep the jar closed when you’re not using it and store it away safely out of reach from your cat.

If your cat looks like they’re interested in your creamy chocolate spread, resist the urge to give them a lick. Because your cat wouldn’t instinctively eat Nutella, they may be sniffing around you out of curiosity, because they like to eat, or because they’re mimicking you.

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Treat Alternatives to Nutella

cat eating boiled eggs
Image Credit: Anastasiya Tsiasemnikava, Shutterstock

There are no chocolatey treats that you can safely offer your cat, and thankfully, your cat probably wouldn’t want them. If you’re looking for a Nutella alternative or something to excite your kitty, giving them cat treats that are specifically designed for cats is a good place to start.

If you don’t have any cat treats around, there are a few ingredients around your house that’ll gain the same enthusiasm from your cat.

  • Cooked chicken – High in protein
  • Cooked salmon – Contains protein and omega-3
  • Cooked liver – High in iron and vitamin B and A
  • Cooked eggs – Contains protein and B vitamins
  • Cantaloupe – High in antioxidants and beta-carotene
  • Bananas – High in potassium
  • Oatmeal – Contains B vitamins
  • Pumpkin – High in fiber
  • Cheese – High in calcium and protein
  • Bread – Contains protein and fiber
  • Cottage cheese – Contains calcium
  • Low-fat yogurt – Increases probiotic levels

Just like with people, your cat shouldn’t snack all day long because, by the time their dinner is placed down for them to eat, they won’t have much of an appetite. Over-snacking can also lead to over-eating and unhealthy weight gain, which can lead to serious health issues.

Treats can be given to your cat to help with bonding and when they show positive behavior that you want to reward. As with everything, moderation is key, and their treats shouldn’t go over 10% of their daily calorie intake.

What Should a Cat’s Diet Consist of?

A cat’s diet definitely doesn’t consist of Nutella but rather of high levels of protein and fat.

You can find all the nutrients they need in the correct cat foods. There are various types of cat food, such as kibble, wet food, frozen raw cat food, freeze-dried raw cat food, and semi-moist cat food. If they contain protein from animal sources as their first ingredient, taurine, and healthy fats, they should be nutritious enough for your beloved cat.

Deciding on the right type of cat food for your fur baby depends on your schedule and their preference. You may go through a few different types before you discover what your cat really enjoys.

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Conclusion

Nutella is not healthy or safe for cats. The caffeine and theobromine that the chocolate contains are toxic to cats and can cause serious health problems. Thankfully, your cat should be okay if they licked a bit off the side of the Nutella jar, but if they’ve ingested large amounts, take them to your vet immediately.

Cats need protein and fats that are found in animal sources to stay healthy and active. Their little bodies were not designed to process “human food,” and you should only offer them cat-friendly treats.

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Featured Image Credit: BrunO, Pixabay

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