Can Cats Eat Walnuts? What You Need to Know!

Last Updated on: October 7, 2020

As a pet owner, you may already know that nuts are the arch-enemy of dogs. Cats aren’t the biggest fans of them either. However, felines, unlike dogs, don’t need to be rushed to your local emergency vet practice if they have ingested walnuts. Even so, walnuts can cause discomfort and some unwanted side effects.

So, can cats eat walnuts? Let’s explore this topic further to find out.cat face divider 2

No, Cats Can’t Eat Walnuts!

There are numerous benefits of humans eating these nuts. Eating walnuts has been proven to boost your gut health, aid in weight control, and decrease inflammation. Also, they help to manage diabetes and lower blood pressure. But are these health perks applicable to your feline friend?

The short answer is no. When felines eat walnuts, their digestive tract may start to hurt. While cats won’t die after eating walnuts, they will be in a lot of discomfort. This is because walnuts are packed with fat – and not the kind that cats like.

Can Cats Eat Walnuts
Photo credit: 1643606, Pixabay

Humans have much larger stomachs than our four-legged companions. This is why walnuts don’t have such a huge impact on our tummies. However, your fluffy friend’s digestive tract is super small compared to yours. This means that their already sensitive stomach is not going to take that nut well.

If your cat does eat a walnut, they can experience vomiting, diarrhea, and kidney failure.

So never, ever feed your cat a walnut.

Salt and Cats

Salted walnuts are even more dangerous to cats. This is because salt is toxic to cats. In fact, the use of this ingredient to induce vomiting is no longer recommended. Symptoms of salt poisoning in your cat can include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Excessive urinating and/or thirst
  • Kidney damage
  • Coma

Treatment for salt poisoning in cats will vary and can include IV fluids, dehydration treatment, electrolyte monitoring, supportive care, and treatment for brain swelling. Besides walnuts, other sources of salt inside of your home can include salt lamps, seawater, table salt, rock salt, paintballs, and homemade play dough.

If you think your pet has ingested salt, you should call your vet right away.

Can Cats Eat Walnuts
Photo credit: FelixMittermeier, Pixabay

Chocolate and Cats

While chocolate-covered walnuts can be a decadent treat for humans, you should never feed them to animals. Even though they’re a lot less likely to steal a chocolate treat than Fido, chocolate is still very bad for cats. And while a chocolate bar may not appeal to them, milk-based chocolate drinks can certainly be risky around cats.

Chocolate contains an ingredient known as theobromine. While humans can metabolize this naturally, cats cannot. This can result in a toxic build-up of the substance within their bodies and can lead to dire health consequences, such as liver failure.

Your cat may experience the following symptoms if they got into your chocolate, including

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Rapid breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Seizures
  • Muscle rigidity
  • Fever

If you notice any of these signs, you must contact your vet as soon as possible.

What to Do If Your Cat Eats Chocolate

If your fuzzy friend got into some chocolate, and you catch them in the act, get them to the vet right away. If caught early enough, a veterinarian can induce vomiting to rid your pet’s system of the toxic food. Your cat could vomit naturally after consuming chocolate, but never try to induce vomiting by yourself.

At the vet, they may perform some tests, such as a full physical exam and taking a urine sample. They may also give your cat an ECG (heart test) to ensure their heart rate is normal. Once the symptoms are showing, there isn’t a cure other than treating them.cat + line divider

The Bottom Line on Walnuts and Cats

You should never feed your cat walnuts, especially if they are covered in salt or chocolate. If your cat does eat plain walnuts, it is not an emergency. But do contact your vet if your pet starts showing signs of distress.


Featured image credit: Pixabay, Aline de Nadai from Unsplash