Pet parents all over the world are always looking for the best foods to supplement their cats’ diets with.
Indeed, such initiatives should be encouraged as they ensure that our feline friends live longer and healthier. Even we humans often experiment with exotic diets once in a while, don’t we?
However, in our quests to supplement our cats’ regular diets with unfamiliar foods, we usually end up introducing certain foods that experts generally discourage for cats.
As you may already know, cats should not eat plant-based foods like corn, wheat, or too many fruits and veggies. That’s because the digestive system of these animals is almost exclusively designed to process their staple diet, which consists of animal protein.
Also, vets discourage us from feeding our kittos most human foods. That’s particularly because most people foods are prepared in a manner that makes them a bit less beneficial to cats. However, not all plant-based or human foods are considered toxic to cats.
Take a case of pretzels, and you could be wondering, can cats eat pretzels?
The simple answer is yes, cats can eat pretzels. Pretzels are baked bread products, which means that they contain wheat and dough, neither of which is recommended for cats. However, these ingredients are unlikely to be a problem once the bread is baked.
Also, pretzels are often low on calories and salts, which makes them a better treat for cats compared to most baked goods.
Are Pretzels Okay For Cats?
As we’ve just highlighted, pretzels are not immediately harmful to cats. The flour and dough, which are some of the biggest concerns with baked foods for cats, happen to be less dangerous after pretzels have been baked.
However, it’s important to highlight that all factors considered, pretzels still do not contain many nutrients that your cat can benefit from.
That’s for the simple reason that cats are obligate carnivores. So, even if a plant-based food doesn’t cause them immediate harm, their bodies may not be so efficient at extracting nutrients from the food.
More About Pretzels
As a loving and responsible cat owner, you may be itching to introduce your cat to pretzels but are wondering, can my cat eat pretzels?
Though we’ve already mentioned it, it’s worth repeating that pretzels are not immediately harmful to cats. However, you shouldn’t feed these baked bread to your kitto on a regular basis, considering that cats should mostly eat animal protein.
Now, you may be reading this post but are not already acquainted with pretzels. Essentially, pretzels are a type of pastry that are baked from dough and then shaped into a knot.
The traditional pretzel should be symmetrical in shape, with the ends featuring a long strip of dough that’s twisted back into the bread so that it forms a loop. But as you may expect, the modern pretzels can assume any shape and form, depending on how they’re prepared.
While flour and dough are the basic ingredients used to prepare pretzels, these pastries usually also contain salt as a seasoning.
Washing soda (sodium hydroxide solution) is another common ingredient used in pretzels, which is mostly added to give the crackers their traditional skin as well as enhance their flavors.
Other popular ingredients in modern pretzels include sugar, chocolate, cheese, cinnamon, seeds, and nuts.
In terms of their history, pretzels are believed to have originated in Europe, particularly Germany, in 610 AD.
According to legends, these pastries were invented by desperate bakers who were held hostage by their local dignitaries. There are also legends suggesting that Pretzels were invented by ancient Christian monks to symbolize arms crossed in prayer.
Well, your cat is likely interested in the safety of the ingredients used in pretzels as opposed to the history of the pastry. So, the question remains, are pretzels safe for cats? The following section shall explore further on that.
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Things to Remember Before Feeding Pretzels to Your Cat
1. Most cats love pretzels
It turns out that your feline friend will love pretzels, which makes introducing the food to the cat a hassle-free experience. But why do cats like pretzels?
Pretzels are aesthetically appealing, come with an inviting aroma (depending on the ingredients used), and easily melt in a cat’s mouth. That combination is what draws cats to pretzels.
However, you should watch out that your cat’s love affair for pretzels doesn’t degenerate into addiction and uncontrolled cravings.
Regardless of how receptive your cat is to pretzels, you should offer the food to your kitto only as an occasional treat. Pretzels should not substitute your cat’s regular diet.
2. Check the ingredients list
Your cat may be blown away by pretzels but if you feed the food to your feline friend with careless abandon, then you can expect some serious side effects.
In addition to offering pretzels to cats in moderation, you should also examine the ingredients list and ensure that all the ingredients used are considered safe for cats.
As we already indicated, modern pretzels can feature a wide range of ingredients. And if the pretzel is commercially-prepared, you should read the ingredients list carefully before buying the product.
The following are some of the common pretzel ingredients that might be toxic to your cat;
Salt causes dehydration, which mostly manifests in frequent thirst sensation and frequent urination.
Excess amounts of salt can lead to a condition known as sodium ion poisoning, which is symptomized by gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea and neurological symptoms like seizures and tremors.
If untreated, the cat could die from sodium ion poisoning. So, can cats eat salted pretzels? The answer is a resounding no.
Garlic and onions are the most popular spices used in different cuisines around the world. Though they add a finger-licking taste and aroma to pretzels, just a tiny amount of either spice is highly toxic to cats.
The spices lead to garlic poisoning or onion poisoning, which are fatal medical conditions that are usually marked by gastrointestinal distress and anemia-like symptoms.
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Sugar and chocolate are the two common sweeteners used in pretzels, but neither is safe for cats.
Both sugar and chocolate come with risks of obesity and weight gain, diabetes, cardiovascular problems, and oral diseases.
Some pretzels are marketed as unsweetened. However, don’t be swayed by the marketing hype, as unsweetened foods usually contain Xylitol, a chemical that is still considered toxic to cats.
Though not as common as the other pretzel ingredients, cheese is just as harmful to cats as salt, spices, and sweeteners are.
Weight gain is the immediate health concern to be worried about. Besides, cheese might also lead to feline gastrointestinal distress, especially since it contains lactose and most adult cats happen to be lactose intolerant.
3. Look out for choking hazards
Even if all the ingredients used in preparing a pretzel are harmless to your cat, beware of choking hazards.
Pretzels are generally categorized as either soft or hard, depending on how soon they should be eaten after preparation.
Can cats eat hard pretzels? As you may expect, hard pretzels will most likely lead to choking. What of soft pretzels, can cats eat soft pretzels?
Soft pretzels are the preferable choice for cats as they have a low choking risk. However, remember that hard or soft, pretzels also tend to contain seeds and nuts, which may still present choking hazards for your furry friend.
4. Not all cats can eat pretzels
Cats with sensitive stomachs and those with suppressed immune systems should not eat pretzels. That includes kittens, elderly cats, pregnant and nursing cats, as well as sickly cats.
So, can kittens eat pretzels? By virtue of their sensitive stomachs, kittens should not eat pretzels.
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5. Always opt for healthy alternatives
If you’re adamant about feeding pretzels to your cat, insist on healthier alternatives. For instance, you can consider these Sheba Cat Sticks, which are formulated with no artificial colors, flavors, corn, wheat, or soy.
Or, you might check out these TEMPTATIONS Crunchy and Soft Cat Treats which are low in calories, ensuring your feline friend doesn’t pack up any extra pounds.
And if you’re looking for healthy pretzel alternatives that are formulated with probiotics, you won’t go wrong with Blue Buffalo Wilderness. Probiotics nourish your cat’s gut-friendly bacteria, which is crucial in improving the animal’s digestion.
So, are pretzels bad for cats?
Pretzels are not harmful to cats, provided that you feed them to your cat plain (without salt, spices, or flavor enhancers) and in moderation.
The good news is that the pet food market teems with healthy and nutritious pretzel alternatives that you can buy for your feline friend.