Can Cats Eat Almonds?

Last Updated on September 27, 2021 by Julia Wilson

Can cats eat almonds?

Yes, cats can eat sweet almonds, which are the most widely available type of almond. Almonds are rich in healthy fats, fibre, protein, vitamin E and magnesium. A cat on a complete and balanced diet will get all the nutrients he or she needs, so there is no nutritional need to feed almonds. But, if the cat likes them, one or two sweet almonds won’t hurt, unless medically contraindicated.

What about bitter almonds?

Bitter almond contains amygdalin, a naturally occurring cyanogenic glycoside that breaks down into glucuronic acid and mandelonitrile. Mandelonitrile is decomposed to yield benzaldehyde and hydrogen cyanide (HCN).  Cyanide prevents the cells of the body from using oxygen, which causes them to die.

Edible almonds are always the sweet almond variety. Bitter almonds – which are not commercially available in the United States – lose their toxic properties when cooked. They are typically used to produce marzipan in Europe, almond liqueurs and soumada, a sweet syrup that is popular in Greece.

Can all cats eat almonds?

Not all cats can eat almonds, including the following:

  • Cats on a food elimination trial
  • Cats on a hypoallergenic diet
  • Overweight cats
  • Young kittens
  • Cats who have a history of pancreatitis
  • Cats with underlying health conditions that are managed with prescription diets

Always check with your veterinarian before feeding any new types of food (especially non-meat products) to cats. Even if a food is listed as non-toxic, it may be contraindicated on medical grounds for some cats.

How to feed almonds to cats?

Most cats aren’t going to be interested in almonds, but if you do have a cat who likes them, go easy and only feed one or two as an occasional treat. Cut almonds into quarters to reduce the risk of choking.

Cats are obligate carnivores, and the majority of their diet should be meat. Almonds are not nutritionally balanced and add unnecessary calories to the diet.

Too many almonds can cause gastrointestinal upset (vomiting and diarrhea) and the high-fat content can lead to pancreatitis.

Avoid coated almonds, particularly salted and chocolate-coated nuts.

Frequently asked questions

What other nuts can cats eat?

Peanuts, walnuts, pecan nuts and pistachio nuts are all non-toxic to cats. Macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs, but there is no evidence they are toxic to cats. Still, it is better to err on the side of caution and avoid. Keep treats to a minimum, and always feed a complete and balanced species-appropriate diet.

Can cats eat peanut butter?

Cats can eat peanut butter as long as it is not the sugar-free variety that contains xylitol. Once again, dogs are at risk, but it’s better to avoid feeding sugar-free peanut butter to cats.

Can cats drink almond milk?

A small amount is safe for adult cats as an occasional treat, do not give to kittens as a milk replacement. Fresh water should always be available.