If cat owners were to be arraigned on charges of offering human foods to cats, most of us would be guilty as charged.
We naturally find ourselves giving our feline friends human foods, even when those very foods are considered potentially dangerous for cats.
Not necessarily because we want to harm our furry friends. It’s only that the urge to slide some human delicacies to their food bowls is usually too overwhelming to resist. Plus, cats can be quite pesky when meowing for human foods.
While not all human foods are considered toxic to cats, you must exercise due diligence before giving your feline friend anything that’s not animal protein. And that brings us to our question, can cats eat pistachios?
The short answer is no, cats cannot eat pistachios. Although pistachios come with a cocktail of health benefits for humans, these nuts can wreak havoc on your cat’s digestive system.
If you’ve always wondered, “are pistachios good for cats,” know right up that they aren’t and should be avoided at all costs.
Read on as we uncover everything there is to know about cats and pistachios.
What Should Cats Eat?
If you’re a pistachio-loving cat owner, it’s not unusual to find yourself wondering, are pistachios healthy for cats and if they are, is it ok for cats to eat pistachios then?
One of the best ways to answer that question is to investigate what foods cats should eat.
As you may already know, cats are obligate carnivores, which means that they can survive exclusively on a diet of animal protein. Essentially, cats thrive on a diet that’s rich in proteins, as well as a bit of fats and carbohydrates.
The bodies of cats are so designed that they can synthesize most of the nutrients that cats cannot obtain from their regular diet of meat.
On the same breath, their bodies are less efficient at deriving nutrients from foods that aren’t meat. Which implies that even if you offer your feline friend a protein-rich diet, it’s all useless if the protein is plant-based.
So, nutritionally-speaking, plant-based foods come with minimal benefits to cats. And when it comes to pistachios for cats, there are even graver risks to watch out for.
Are Pistachios Bad For Cats? A List of What Could Go Wrong
The following are some of the potential dangers of serving pistachios to your feline friend;
1. Risks of Gastrointestinal Distress
Pistachios are rich in dietary fiber, which should come as good news. However, foods that are exceedingly high in dietary fiber have a laxative effect on cats.
While a little bit of fiber can bulk your cat’s stool and help to encourage regular bowel movements, too much of it causes loose stools. Loose stools lead to diarrhea and dehydration.
Also, your cat’s digestive system might also not process pistachios as effectively as it processes animal protein. The overall effects are bloating and gassiness.
2. Risks of Pancreatitis
Pistachios are not only high in dietary fiber, the nuts also contain significant levels of fat.
While fats function as the primary energy substrate for cats, too much of it could lead to obesity and other weight-related complications.
Along with dietary fiber, excessive fat may also irritate your cat’s digestive system.
But the greatest danger of high-fat foods for cats is the risks of developing pancreatitis.
Pancreatitis refers to an inflammation of the pancreas. It occurs when the pancreas doesn’t release its digestive juices. Instead, the juices attack the organ and begin to digest its tissues, leading to inflammation.
Symptoms include excruciating abdominal pain, changes in stool, nausea, etc.
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3. Choking Hazards
Since the digestive system of cats considers plant-based matter as foreign substances, introducing pistachios into your cat’s diet might result in foreign body obstruction. This happens when the nuts get stuck in a cat’s intestinal tract.
Besides causing pain and discomfort, foreign body obstruction is fatal. Choking hazards are more common with pistachio shells. So, can cats eat pistachio shells? Absolutely not.
4. Harmful Additives
Most pistachios that we buy from the local grocery stores are usually laden with flavorings, sweeteners, and other ingredients considered toxic for cats. Examples include salt, garlic, and onion.
For instance, too much salt causes sodium ion poisoning in cats, a condition characterized by gastrointestinal issues, incoordination, and seizures.
Garlic and onion also carry significant toxicity for cats, including vomiting, diarrhea, and anemic conditions.
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5. Risks of Fungus
Pistachios often harbor the Aspergillus fungus, which is associated with liver failure, especially in dogs. The fungus is also known to produce toxins that might cause aflatoxin toxicosis in cats.
Symptoms of aflatoxin toxicosis include;
- Bloody diarrhea or black-tarry stool
- Loss of appetite
- Yellow mucous membranes
If not treated urgently, aflatoxin toxicosis can kill your cat.
Other Frequently-Asked Questions on Cats and Pistachios
Can cats eat pistachio ice cream?
No. Pistachio ice cream is usually laden with sugar and artificial sweeteners, neither of which is safe for cats to eat. Plus, the pistachio itself is discouraged for cats.
Can cats eat pistachio pudding?
Pistachio pudding contains high levels of fat and carbohydrates, which your cat may experience trouble digesting. So, avoid feeding pistachio pudding to your feline friend.
Can cats eat pistachio fudge?
Feeding pistachio fudge to a cat is not recommended either. Even if all the other ingredients in pistachio fudge were safe, the mere fact that it’s made of pistachio makes it a no-no for cats.
Can kittens eat pistachios?
It’s not unusual to find cat owners wondering to themselves, “my cat begs for (and eats) pistachios, and I’m worried.” But are pistachio nuts ok for cats?
Well, we’ve already highlighted throughout this post that cats should not eat pistachios, and much less if the cat has a suppressed immunity.
Kittens, as well as senior, pregnant, and sickly cats, shouldn’t have pistachios, for the simple reason that they have a weaker immunity. Therefore, they’re more likely to suffer the documented health risks of pistachios for cats. Plus, kittens have a smaller digestive tract, which increases the risks of foreign body obstruction.
So, is it safe for cats to eat pistachios and if it is, can my cat eat pistachios?
Though the verdict should be abundantly clear by now, it’s worth repeating that cats should not eat pistachios. Avoid serving pistachios to your cat in any form. And if pistachio nuts drive your feline friend crazy, here’s what you can do;
✔ Hide all pistachios in the refrigerator or on high shelves to prevent the cat from snacking on the nuts behind your back,
✔ Get your cat nut-shaped cat food, and
✔ Supplement the cat’s diet with healthy green pistachio alternatives, such as spinach.
And if you discover that the cat has eaten pistachios behind your back, watch out for any gastrointestinal issues and other symptoms of food poisoning. Depending on the amount of pistachios that the cat has eaten, you might consider scheduling a visit to the vet immediately.