Cat Cats Eat?

Can Cats Eat Dog Food? Is The Nutritional Value the Same?

A black and white cat and a small, off-white/light tan dog are eating food out of the same red bowl on the floor.

With many similarities, many pet owners often wonder if it’s okay for cats to eat dog food. After all, many of the ingredients are the same. 

The short answer is yes, it’s okay for your cat to have the occasional bite of dog food. It won’t cause any toxicities. However, cats can not eat dog food for the long term. Here’s why:

The Differences Between Cat and Dog Food

The labels and ingredients may be very similar, but some significant differences between cat and dog food make dog food a bad choice to feed cats.

  • Protein Content: This is the big one. Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they get the bulk of their nutrition from meat. Cats require lots of protein to build and maintain muscle and for energy. They require very few carbohydrates and can have a difficult time digesting plant matter. High-quality cat foods typically range from 30 to even 50% protein, while dog food is more around 20-25% or 30% for active diets. If a cat were to eat dog food long-term, protein deficiency could result.
  • Taurine: Taurine is an amino acid most mammals make in their bodies. It is essential for heart function, vision, and nerve growth. Cats, as well as humans, need to get taurine from their diet. They can’t make it on their own. Taurine is commonly added to commercial cat foods to prevent taurine deficiency that leads to heart issues, among other things, but is rarely added to dog foods.
  • Arachidonic Acid and Vitamin A: Like taurine, arachidonic acid and vitamin A are two components that cats can’t produce themselves. They need to be added to their food to maintain healthy skin, liver, muscles, and haircoats. Dogs are capable of making arachidonic acid, so it is rarely added to commercial dog food. Vitamin A is a common supplement in dog food but generally not in levels high enough for a cat’s needs.
  • Taste: Cats have a relatively weak sense of taste, especially compared to dogs. First off, they aren’t capable of tasting sweet. They also have about ¼-1/3 as many tastebuds as dogs. This means cat food needs to be extra tasty to get a cat interested. Dog food doesn’t have the flavor that they’re looking for.

What Happens if a Cat Eats Dog Food?

A black and white cat and a small, off-white/light tan dog are eating food out of the same red bowl on the floor.

Don’t expect to see anything happen if your cat gobbles the occasional bite of dog food. Even a small sample every day shouldn’t make much of a difference. It will become a problem if your cat is fed dog food over a long period. There simply isn’t the proper nutrition in dog food to sustain a healthy cat.

Your cat may start relying on dog food as their sole food source, or they might eat enough dog food to replace a high percentage of their regular diet. They may start to lose weight and have a dry, dull hair coat. Some cats may show early stages of blindness, such as bumping into things or having trouble seeing in the dark. You may also notice a reluctance to exercise, difficulty breathing, or vomiting.

If your cat happens to grab a bite or get into and devour a large part of your dog’s food, they’ll more than likely be okay. They may have an upset stomach from eating too much, but as long as they don’t make eating dog food a habit, any adverse effects should be minimal. 

How to Keep Your Cat From Eating Dog Food

Fortunately, most cats aren’t going to like the taste of dog food, so after a quick sample, they will probably leave the rest of it alone. However, if your cat develops a taste for it, make sure to provide them with high-quality cat food that supplies around 30% protein, has a flavor that they like, and that meets AAFCO standards for your cat’s life stage. You may have to experiment with different flavors and textures if you have a picky eater to give them something that they love.

Keep dog food out of reach. Feed your pup behind a closed door so that your kitty can’t join in. If you free-choice feed your dog, you may have to switch to meal feeding to keep your cat from snacking on the dog food left in the food bowl. Store dog food in an air-tight container to help maintain freshness as well as keep your cat out.

If your cat continues to beg for dog food, see your veterinarian to rule out any medical reasons or nutritional deficiencies that may have your cat acting this way.

Final Thoughts

You may love all of your pets the same, but that doesn’t mean you should feed them the same. While dog food isn’t toxic to your cat, it’s not meant for long-term feeding. Cats that eat dog food consistently can develop nutritional deficiencies that can become very serious and even fatal if left untreated.

Can Cats Eat Bread? will it hurt them?

An orange-ish, white cat licking its mouth. It is standing on a wooden table, with a half-full glass of milk and a loaf of bread in front of it. Some of the bread is sliced, with some butter on top of one slice.

There’s nothing quite as tasty as a slice of fresh, warm bread or a sandwich served on thick-cut bread. Your cat won’t disagree. But should your kitty partake in this carbohydrate feast? Is bread safe for cats? 

In short, plain bread isn’t toxic to cats, but that doesn’t mean that it should be part of a regular diet for your feline friend.

Can Cats Eat Bread? Does it Have Any Health Benefits?

There’s nothing harmful in a bite of plain bread. So, it’s okay for your cat to have the occasion bread treat. However, they don’t really get any nutrition from it, so it shouldn’t be part of their regular diet. Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning their digestive system is set up to digest meat, and lots of it. It’s not really made to break down carbohydrates. 

If you give your cat more than the occasional bite of bread, it can start to take the place of their regular, balanced diet and starve them of some of the nutrients that they do need. It can also be an additional source of calories that can quickly lead to obesity and all of the complications that go along with it.

Is Bread Dangerous to Cats?

For most healthy cats, eating a bite or two of bread a few times a week isn’t going to cause any problems. However, if your cat is overweight, diabetic, or has any other health condition, eating bread can be detrimental. Again, bread doesn’t provide any real nutrition for your cat; it’s just empty calories. If bread is given in addition to their regular cat food, they can quickly start to gain weight, a dangerous process for any cat but especially for those already tipping the scales. 

For diabetic cats, carbohydrates are a no-no. That’s because carbs are quickly broken down into sugars that elevate blood glucose levels. If these levels stay high, which is a common problem in cats with diabetes, organ damage and even failure can start to occur.

Feeding large amounts of bread at one time can also cause digestive issues like vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. A cat’s digestive system isn’t accustomed to digesting lots of carbohydrates, and eating lots of bread can overload it and even throw off the balance of the microbiome

Types of Bread to Avoid

A loaf of raisin bread, some of which has been sliced. Next to it is a glass jar with some cinnamon sticks in it.

There are many varieties and flavors of bread; that’s part of the reason we humans love it so much. However, some of those additional ingredients can be toxic to your furry companion. Some spices, specifically onion and garlic, can destroy your cat’s red blood cells. 

Raisins can lead to kidney failure, and high amounts of sugar can cause digestive upset. Xylitol is another “absolutely not” ingredient. Even though xylitol is more commonly considered a canine toxin, it can still be trouble for your kitties. You can never be too careful, so avoid giving it to your cat as well. 

Is Raw Bread Dough Safe for Cats?

Raw, uncooked bread dough is definitely off the table for feeding your cat. Bread dough containing yeast is dangerous in several ways. First off, yeast expands as it ferments; that’s what makes bread dough rise. It continues to expand in your cat’s tummy, potentially leading to bloat or a dilated stomach. 

Also, during the fermentation process, yeast produces ethanol. This alcohol travels to the bloodstream and can make a cat intoxicated or even give them alcohol poisoning

If your cat eats raw bread dough, contact your veterinarian immediately. Depending on when and how much dough your cat ate, they may have you induce vomiting or bring them in right away to empty their stomach and treat any symptoms.

How to Safely Feed Bread to Your Cat

Even though bread doesn’t provide your cat any nutritional benefits, it can help in one area: giving them pills. Some cats can be fooled into taking their medications by hiding the pills in small pieces of bread. 

Before giving your cat any bread, first, speak to your veterinarian to ensure that your cat is healthy enough to eat bread. Then keep the serving size small, just a bite or two once or twice a week. Any more than that, and you risk bread taking the place of other more valuable nutrients in their diet, or you may be putting your cat on the fast track to obesity. 

Technically, cats can eat up to 10% of their daily caloric intake in treats like bread, but that doesn’t mean they should. Just keep portions small and infrequent for the best results.

Feed them only plain white or wheat bread. No additional seasonings or toppings (your cat doesn’t need butter or jelly), and definitely no raisins. Monitor your cat for any digestive issues after feeding bread and discontinue if they have any problems.

Final Thoughts

Bread is a great treat and staple in most human diets. However, it doesn’t hold any real place in your cat’s food bowl. Instead, if you choose to feed your cat bread or need a little to give them a pill, keep the amounts small and only feed bread to your cat every couple of days (at most). Be sure to avoid ingredients like garlic, onion, raisins, and high amounts of sugar to be extra safe. If your cat has issues eating bread, be sure to contact your veterinarian.

Can Cats Eat Cucumbers? Do They Even Like It?

A white cat with patches of gray and black stripes lying on its back in someone’s lap. The cat is holding and biting at a green cucumber.

What is it about cats and cucumbers? This pairing was made famous by numerous YouTube videos where owners repeatedly surprise their feline friends with this green fruit (trust me, it is, just like a tomato is a fruit). While hilarious, it may have some of you wondering if cats can eat cucumbers, or are they just a stage prop for your cat’s next home movie? 

The quick answer is yes, cats can eat cucumbers in small quantities. However, there are things that you need to take into consideration. 

Can Cucumbers Be Harmful to Cats?

Cats are carnivores; they crave and need lots of protein. Their bodies are designed to get the majority of their nutrition from meat. Vegetables, fruits, and grains don’t play a major role in their diet as their bodies are not set up to digest them as efficiently. Giving your cat a lot of fruits and vegetables can actually starve them of some nutrients. If cucumbers or other fruits and vegetables make up a high percentage of your cat’s diet, they may be missing out on some of their essential nutrition.

Lots of fiber and water can also cause some digestive upset for kitties, mainly in the form of diarrhea.  

Do Cucumbers Have any Healthy Benefits to Cats?

Though your cat is more than likely only after cucumbers for their pleasing crunch, you’ll be happy to know that they provide them with more than that. At the top of the benefits list is water. 

Cucumbers contain over 90% water, something most cats can’t get enough of. Besides helping to keep a cat hydrated, a couple bites of cucumber will also provide them with fiber to regulate their digestion and a variety of vitamins and minerals, including:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Manganese

Cucumbers are also a source of antioxidants, which may help treat and prevent chronic illnesses such as cancer, heart, or kidney disease. This fruit is low in calories as well. With few calories and moderate amounts of fiber, cucumbers can make an excellent treat for kitties on a weight-loss plan.

How to Feed Cucumber to Your Cat

A white cat with patches of gray and black stripes is lying on a white carpet staring at a green cucumber in front of it.

While cucumbers are considered a safe food for your cat, there are some guidelines that you should follow when feeding them. First of all, moderation is key. And by moderation, a slice or two a week is plenty. You don’t want to give much more than that, or they will get full from cucumber instead of their complete and balanced cat food.

You should also consider peeling the cucumber first. The skin is where most of the fiber is found. Even though some fiber is beneficial, too much may be hard for them to digest. Also, be sure to wash the cucumber thoroughly before peeling and slicing.

Serve it plain, without any seasonings or dips. Not only are these extras just additional calories, but some seasonings can be harmful to your cats.

You can feed cucumber as an in-between meals snack or as a topper to their cat food. Just be sure to keep the amounts small and the feedings infrequent.

Can Cats Have Pickles?

Fresh, peeled cucumber is the only recommended way to share this fruit with your cat. Even though pickles make a great partner for tuna fish, a cat favorite, they don’t have a place in your cat’s diet. That is because pickles are packed with salt and other seasonings that can be potentially dangerous for your kitty. While some kitties may crave pickles, high amounts of salt can lead to salt toxicity, a possibly serious situation.

If eaten consistently, other seasonings, mainly garlic, and onion, can lead to red blood cell issues. Even though your cat would have to eat quite a few pickles to have any real problems, it can happen, and that’s a chance most of us are unwilling to take.

Final Thoughts

There’s no doubt about it; cats and cucumbers have an interesting and often amusing relationship. That relationship only goes as far as a little scare for most cats when they see this greet fruit. For others, cucumbers may be a regular part of their snacking routine. If your cat is curious about eating cucumbers, remember only to feed them a slice or two a week and don’t make it part of their regular meals. Keep pickles out of their diet altogether. 

Ask a Vet: What Can Cats Drink (Besides Water)?

A tan-brownish cat with some off white patches is lying down with a straw in its mouth. The straw is sticking out of a halved coconut, which also has a drink umbrella in it

All mammals need water, including your cat, but you may find yourself wondering if there are other liquids out there that your cat can drink as well. While water is an essential nutrient and the best way to hydrate your cat, let’s look at other things that are okay for your cat to drink.

What Can Cats Drink Besides Water?

Some products are safe and effective if you’re looking for other ways besides water to keep your cat hydrated.

  • Milk: We’re talking about cat’s milk, and this goes for kittens only. Kittens feed almost entirely on their mother’s milk or a milk replacer for the first month of life. It provides all of the necessary nutrition for them to grow and thrive. After the first month, most kittens can start to transition to solid food. As kittens get older and weaned from their mother, most of them become lactose intolerant, so giving them milk can lead to vomiting and diarrhea. If you want to give your adult cat milk, stick with plant-based milk but only in small amounts.
  • Bone Broth: People drink bone broth for several reasons. First of all, it is made from bone and connective tissues, so it helps improve digestion and joint health, removes toxins from the liver, and makes for a healthier haircoat and skin. Plus, cats love the taste. After all, cats are carnivores and love animal-based proteins. This makes bone broth a great choice to liven up any cat’s meal or entice them to eat or drink if they’re feeling picky.
  • Pedialyte: Electrolytes are essential to maintain fluid balance, aid in muscle contraction and nerve conduction, and maintain pH levels. Electrolytes play an important part in hydration. If your kitty isn’t feeling well or isn’t drinking enough water, electrolyte solutions, like Pedialyte, can help. Pedialyte is preferred over other electrolyte solutions because it is lower in sugar, which your cat doesn’t need.
  • Tuna Juice: If your kitty needs a little pick-me-up or just an added incentive to eat or drink, tuna juice may do the trick. Besides having a taste that cats go crazy for, tuna juice can also provide them with omega fatty acids to improve their skin and haircoat and help battle inflammation. Just make sure to only use tuna in water instead of tuna in oil, since oil is high in fat and can cause digestive upset and even pancreatitis in high amounts. Drizzle tuna juice over their food or mix it in with their water.
  • Canned Food Slurry: If your kitty is having trouble getting their daily fluids or doesn’t want to eat, a canned food slurry might be what they’re looking for. Mix canned food with water until it reaches a tomato soup consistency (or thicker or thinner depending on your needs), and let your cat lap it up.

What Should Cats NOT Drink?

Close-up of a gray, tan cat with black patches and stripes drinking milk from a white plate on the ground.

Your cat can enjoy a few other beverages besides water, but that doesn’t mean that all liquids are fair game. Your feline friend should avoid the following:

  • Cows Milk: Here’s where that lactose intolerance comes in. Drinking too much cow’s milk can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
  • Alcohol: Beer and wine have the same effects on cats as humans, times 10. Consuming alcohol can lead to alcohol poisoning before you know it.
  • Caffeine: A cat’s body is more sensitive to caffeine than humans, making heart and blood pressure issues a big problem.
  • Sugary Drinks: Soda and juices aren’t for cats either. They add calories that can make them gain weight and lead to diabetes. Also, cats can’t taste sweet, so what’s the point?

The Importance of Water for Cats

Before we get into other liquids that are safe for cats to drink, let’s focus on why and how a cat should stay hydrated. In the wild, cats don’t drink a lot of water. Instead, they get their fluid requirements mainly from the prey that they eat. This can add up to quite a bit considering most prey animals are 60-70% water. However, our domestic cats don’t have that opportunity, so their water needs are met by drinking water.

A cat’s body needs water for nearly every function. It is required to help digest foods, transport nutrients, and remove wastes. Water also helps regulate body temperature, cushion the brain and spinal cord, and lubricate joints. If cats don’t drink enough water, they get dehydrated, leading to organ and muscle dysfunction and damage, and electrolyte imbalances.

How much water do cats need per day? That will depend on the size of your kitty and the type of food they eat: the more dry kibble they eat, the more water they need. Also, the bigger your cat, the more water they will need.

Generally speaking, a 10-pound cat eating dry kibble should drink about one cup of water per day.

You can encourage your cat to drink more water by ensuring their water source is always fresh and clean. Use multiple water bowls in different locations so your kitty doesn’t have to go looking for it. Some cats prefer running water from a fountain or a dripping faucet. If your kitty still needs a little encouragement, feed them some canned food since it has a higher moisture content.

Final Thoughts

All kitties need water; normal bodily functions depend on it. However, getting your cat to drink the required amount can sometimes be tricky. Even though water is always best, this list of other safe beverages can help your cat get their fluids to prevent dehydration.

Can Cats Eat Baby Food? Is It Really Safe?

Three glass bottles of baby food on a white cloth, which is on top of a blue surface. Two wooden spoons can be seen in the background. The bottle on the left has orange baby food in it, the middle jar has greenish-brownish food, while the bottle on the right has red baby food in it.

You’ve probably referred to your cat, more than once, as your baby. So, why not feed them baby food? The truth is cats can eat baby food depending on the ingredients and, of course, in moderation. Baby food can be very nutritious and offer an appealing taste and texture for those picky eaters or kitties recovering from an illness.

Possible Problems Associated with Feeding Your Cat Baby Food

Before you switch your cat over to an all-baby food diet, it’s important to remember that not all baby food is meant for your kitty. It also shouldn’t be a significant part of your cat’s regular meals. 

Most cats are going to go wild for the meat blends of baby food, naturally. However, it’s these products that can contain harmful seasonings like garlic, onion, and salt. While these pair nicely with roast beef or chicken, they are toxic to cats. 

You’ll also want to avoid baby foods that contain raisins, grapes, and chocolate.

Another possible issue with feeding cats baby food is if you decide to make it their complete diet. Cats require the amino acid taurine. Most other mammals can make taurine on their own, but not cats. 

Cats require taurine in their diet. It is essential for heart health, vision, digestion, and immune function. Taurine is only found in animal-based proteins-meat. Meat-based baby foods will contain taurine, but if you choose to go the meatless route, your kitty may be in trouble.

Also, baby food is still meant for humans, which means it can be relatively high in calories. If you’re feeding a kitten or active adult, this may not be a big deal. However, if you’re feeding a cat that’s like most housecats, they don’t need the calories. That’s why baby food is best left as a treat or for feeding in the short term only.

How to Feed Your Cat Baby Food

If you’re looking to liven up your cat’s kibble or provide a quick treat, baby food is an excellent choice for your cat. It’s also suitable for short-term feedings, such as following surgery, an illness or injury, or dental issues.

It can also work to hide medication if your kitty is on any prescriptions.

Keeping a few jars of meat-flavored baby food on your shelf may come in handy from time to time for your feline friends. Just be sure that it doesn’t become their long-term diet and that you’re giving it to them in small amounts.

Again, always check the ingredients label to ensure that the baby food you choose is free of onion, garlic, grapes, raisins, and chocolate.

The Benefits of Baby Food for Cats

If you’ve ever thought about feeding your cat baby food, you’re not alone. It can actually be a very convenient and wholesome source of nutrition. Other benefits include:

  • Great Nutrition: Baby food is formulated for tiny humans, so it’s made out of, you guessed it, actual human foods. These foods are cooked and pureed to a texture that babies with few or no teeth can handle. Mixing and matching different baby foods are meant to provide a growing child with complete and balanced nutrition. Therefore, it should also be very nutritious and easy to digest for your kitty.
  • Enhanced Aroma and Texture: Some kitties prefer a smoother texture than regular cat food can provide. This makes baby food an excellent substitute for even pâté types of cat food. It also tends to be very aromatic to entice picky babies and cats alike to eat it. Baby food can be a good choice for senior cats that aren’t eating much or for cats coming off of an illness. The texture can be easily handled by cats with dental disease or cats with digestive issues that don’t trust their regular food.
  • Easily Digestible: A human baby’s digestive system is a work in progress. They aren’t ready to take on solid human food as adults do. Instead, they need gentle, easily digestible products. Baby food is made with this in mind. The same is true for some cats. Those with sensitive stomachs, seniors, or cats following an illness can benefit from the digestibility of baby food, so their digestive system doesn’t have to work too hard.
  • Convenient: Baby food comes in conveniently packaged, meal-sized portions. They’re great to take on the go or to store at home. They also come in a variety of flavors, making it easy to find something that any kitty, picky or not, can enjoy.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve ever wondered if baby food can be fed to cats, now you know that it is a safe alternative to regular cat food, depending on the flavor. Baby food can provide excellent nutrition to your cat in a tasty and easily consumable package. It makes a great food substitute for senior cats or those that need a little digestive support following an illness. Just make sure that baby food is given in moderation and free from toxic ingredients.

Can Cats Eat Spinach? What Will It do to them?

A wooden bowl full of spinach leaves that is on top of a wooden surface. There are also spinach leaves around the bowl on the table.

Spinach is a common food found on healthy eaters’ plates, but does it have a place in your cat’s food bowl? Spinach isn’t toxic to our feline friends and can provide many health benefits. However, spinach isn’t food meant for every cat and should be given with caution to cats with specific health concerns.

What are Possible Issues With Feeding Cats Spinach?

With all of the positive nutrition that spinach can provide to cats, it’s hard to think that there may be a downside. The truth is, spinach can be very detrimental to cats with urinary tract issues

The main problem with feeding spinach to cats with previous urinary tract complications is that spinach contains calcium oxalate, one of the main culprits behind certain types of urinary stones formed in the feline bladder. The treatment for these stones is almost always surgery. If left untreated, they can lead to chronic urinary irritation and frequent bladder infections.

Another issue with cats eating spinach is getting too much fiber. Fiber can effectively relieve and prevent constipation, but too much of it can lead to diarrhea and abdominal discomfort.

How to Feed Your Cat Spinach

Unless your cat has a history of urinary tract issues, the occasional spinach treat will be alright. Also, don’t worry if your cat raids your salad plate and grabs a few tasty leaves. Giving small amounts of spinach is okay for the short term.

What you don’t want to do is try to make spinach a large part of your cat’s regular diet. After all, a cat’s digestive tract is perfectly honed to digest a high protein, primarily meat diet. It’s simply not made to digest a lot of greenery. With this in mind, keep the spinach content to under 10% of their daily food or only give it as an every-once-in-awhile treat to tide them over until the next meal.

Feeding spinach in larger amounts for the long-term is where cats can run into issues. If your kitty has previously had kidney or urinary tract problems, it’s best to steer clear of spinach. Also, if your cat is enjoying their senior years, spinach might not be the best option. That being said, the amounts of spinach present in commercial cat foods differ, and your cat may or may not be able to handle it there. Ask your veterinarian if you are concerned about spinach in your cat food.

What Are the Benefits of Spinach for Cats?

Spinach is a nutrition-packed superfood for humans, and in cats, it’s no different. Many commercial cat foods use spinach to provide necessary nutrients to hungry kitties. Some of those nutrients include:

  • Vitamins and Minerals: Spinach is packed with vitamins A, E, C, and K, as well as many of the B vitamins. It also provides magnesium, calcium, and potassium, things your kitty uses every day.
  • Fiber: The fiber content in spinach can help keep your cat’s digestive system in check. Fiber is important in preventing constipation and helping your cat feel full in between meals. However, large quantities of spinach can turn your cat’s digestion the other way and cause diarrhea, but this usually only happens in amounts that your cat won’t willingly eat.
  • Low Calories: With high fiber and water content, spinach doesn’t have much room left for calories. This becomes especially important in the majority of our domestic cats. They don’t need additional calories making spinach an excellent food choice.
  • Omega Fatty Acids: While not in the amount you would get from fish oil or flaxseed, spinach has enough omega fatty acids to help reduce inflammation and help promote a healthy hair coat and skin.
  • Others: On top of all of the above, spinach also contains lutein and zeaxanthin for healthy vision and nitrates to promote blood flow. This goes a long way in preventing heart disease. It has some anti-cancer properties and antioxidants to help prevent and repair cellular damage.

Final Thoughts

Spinach is known as a human superfood, and it can act that way for cats as well. Feeding your cat small amounts of spinach can provide a nutrient punch that will help combat many health issues. However, spinach should not be a regular food for cats with urinary tract issues or given in large enough amounts to cause digestive problems. Still in question as to whether or how much spinach your cat can have? Speak to your veterinarian.

Can Cats Eat Pistachios? Will it kill them?

A wooden bowl that is filled with shelled pistachios that is resting on a wooden serving tray. There is a wooden scoop in the bowl of pistachios and some loose pistachios scattered around the bowl and on the table.

As with most nuts, pistachios aren’t toxic to cats. But that doesn’t mean they should be a part of their regular diet. While they offer many health benefits to humans and are tasty to boot, they are NOT a great treat for your cat.

Why Your Cat Shouldn’t Have Pistachios

Pistachios shouldn’t be part of your cat’s regular diet. Too many pistachios can cause some real problems.

  • Digestive Upset: The high-fat content in pistachios, and other nuts, can send your cat’s digestive system for a loop. After eating pistachios, your cat may experience vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Most of the time, these signs will only last for a day or two and require a little nursing care to get them feeling better. However, see your veterinarian if their digestive issues last longer than a couple of days or are severe.
  • Obstructions: Pistachios are the perfect size where some cats will try to eat them whole without chewing. Eating too many whole pistachios (with or without the shell) can lead to obstructions in the stomach or intestine. Most of the time, these obstructions will need to be removed with surgery.
  • Flavorings: You can rarely find pistachios that haven’t been flavored. Most of the time, they’re coated in salt, garlic, onion, or other seasonings. While these additional flavorings make them finger-licking good, they can be toxic to cats. Garlic and onion top the list of no-no’s for cats, and too much salt can also lead to severe problems.

Can Cats Eat Pistachios Found in Other Foods?

Pistachios are often included in other desserts and salads to boost their protein and flavor. Since they’re found in smaller quantities in these recipes, many cat parents may assume they’re safe. However, the pistachios are often not the problem here; it’s all the other ingredients.

Some common examples:

  • Pistachio Pudding: A main component of pudding is milk, and even though a saucer of milk is the iconic food for cats, it’s not favorable. Most cats are lactose intolerant. Not only that, but pudding contains a lot of sugar that can have messy digestive consequences for your kitty.
  • Pistachio Ice Cream: Like pudding, the milk and sugar in ice cream aren’t good for your kitty, let alone the pistachios.
  • Snack Bars, Granola, and Other Products: Again, the other ingredients in these products are as or more problematic than pistachios. Products that are high in sugar or fats will not do your cat any favors.

What Should I Do If My Cat Eats a Pistachio?

If your cat happens to eat a shelled pistachio here and there, it’s usually no big deal. Just monitor them for a couple of days for vomiting and diarrhea. 

However, if your cat gets into your stash and consumes several pistachios in one sitting, a veterinary visit may be in order. Eating high amounts of fat can lead to a potentially serious condition called pancreatitis that requires veterinary care. Also, severe digestive upset can require veterinary care.

Health Benefits of Pistachios for Humans

Pistachios are packed with healthy unsaturated fats. These fats are important for reducing inflammation, improving heart health, and maintaining healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels. They also contain minerals, potassium, and are high in fiber. On top of that, pistachios are a source of antioxidants and protein. They make great human snacks because they provide all of these nutrients and help keep you feeling full longer, preventing you from overeating.

You’re probably thinking, why wouldn’t pistachios make a great treat for your cat with all these health benefits? 

A cat’s digestive system just isn’t designed to digest things like nuts, whole grains, etc. They are made to eat meat. So, even though pistachios are packed with healthy nutrition, a cat can’t reap the benefits as well as humans can. Feeding a cat nuts, such as pistachios, can actually cause digestive upset.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a healthy snack for your feline friend, take a pass on the pistachios. While the occasional pistachio treat usually won’t hurt them, this isn’t a food you’ll want to give them for the long run. Instead, look for one of the many other healthy snack options out there for your cat.

Can Cats Eat Olives? What Will happen if they do?

A wooden spoon resting on a wooden surface. There are green and black olives in the spoon, with other olives, peppercorns, and a sprig of rosemary around the spoon.

Besides being a tasty topping for pizza or a salad, olives by themselves make a great snack for us humans. But should your feline friend be privy to this black or green fruit? Olives are not considered toxic to cats, but they’re not considered an everyday treat either. Should olives become a part of your cat’s diet? Read on to find out.

Possible Issues With Feeding Cats Olives

Besides not providing your kitty any real nutrients, eating olives in large amounts may be dangerous. 

Immature olives are green and either ripen to black or stay green. Sometimes olives may be harvested green and cured in a salt brine to remove the bitter taste. This adds a lot of sodium, making them a risk for cats with heart or kidney disease. Eating too much sodium can also lead to sodium toxicity, which can be severe if left untreated.

Olives are also high in fat. In humans, that fat is used to produce the very healthy dietary staple of the Mediterranean diet, olive oil. Olive oil carries many benefits, such as decreased inflammation, heart health, and anti-cancer properties. However, in cats, too much fat or oil can lead to an upset stomach.

Cats fed high amounts of olives may experience diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps for a couple of days following consumption. If this is your cat’s first taste of olives, keep the amount small and monitor for these negative effects to help you decide if further olive snacking is in their future.

Along with those downsides to giving your cat olives, there is always the chance that they may choke. Olives happen to be the right size where a cat might consider eating them whole or with minimal chewing. And since they’re a fairly firm fruit, they may become lodged in the esophagus, creating discomfort and possibly even an emergency trip to the vet. Always supervise your kitty when eating olives and consider chopping them into more manageable pieces. 

How to Give Your Cat Olives

If you’ve decided to give olives to your cat, keep a few things in mind:

  1. First of all, always run it by your vet first. This will help ensure that your cat isn’t at risk for kidney or heart disease that might be further exacerbated by a high sodium snack like olives.
  2. Keep the portion size small. We’re talking less than one olive once or twice a week. This will not only reduce the amount of sodium that your kitty is eating, but it will also help ensure that they aren’t getting a fat overload that could send the digestive tract for a messy loop. On top of all that, giving less than one olive per treat session will cut the risk of choking down significantly since it will be a more bite-sized portion.
  3. Stick with plain olives. Even though the hole in olives left when removing the pit invites for stuffing with pepper, cream cheese, or hummus, it’s best to leave that out of your feline friend’s olive snacks. Seasonings like garlic and onion, found in some olive fillings are toxic to cats, and of course, they don’t need the extra fats and calories that these tasty additives contain.
  4. Always monitor your cat for adverse reactions after eating olives. This can be choking or digestive issues. If your kitty shows any problems after eating olives, it’s best to find a different treat the next time they come begging.

The Benefits of Olives for Cats

Olives are a stone fruit (fruits with a pit, or “stone” in the middle) like lychee, cherries, peaches, and mangos. All of these fruits are packed with health benefits for humans, including:

  • Antioxidants like vitamin E to boost the immune system and repair cellular damage
  • Iron, copper, and calcium
  • Oleic acid for anti-inflammatory effects, helps the heart, and may fight cancer and osteoporosis

However, cats don’t get many of these benefits from eating olives, other than a pleasing taste and even a little bit of a high. Olives, especially green ones, contain a similar compound to nepetalactone, the enticing oil found in catnip. This may make your kitty do their happy dance anytime you open a can of olives.

Final Thoughts

Whether due to the pleasing taste or the euphoric feeling, your cat may crave olives and beg for them anytime they’re available. However, olives shouldn’t be considered a main part of their diet and should only be given in minimal amounts infrequently. This is to prevent excessive sodium consumption, digestive upset, and even weight gain. Give your kitty olive treats only under supervision.