Can Cats Eat Sunflower Seeds? 7 Things To Know

Millions of people all over the world enjoy munching on tasty sunflower seeds. Some of us find it enjoyable and even relaxing to crack the shells to get to the seed inside. While they’re a healthy snack for us, can cats enjoy these seeds as well?

Sunflower seeds are safe for cats to eat, but only in small amounts. But there are some things you need to know before you tear open a bag and dump the contents into your cat’s food bowl.

Let’s take the time to learn about cats and sunflower seeds so you can give your cat the gift of this beautiful plant without worrying about its health.

Are Sunflower Seeds Safe for Cats?

The American SPCA reports that cats can safely eat both sunflowers and their seeds. If your cat somehow managed to sneak some of your food, you can rest assured that it won’t get sick from eating them.

You shouldn’t give your cat a whole sunflower seed because of this. Cats can’t get to the sunflower seed’s kernel like us humans, birds, and even some rodents can.

  Can Cats Eat Potatoes? 2 Facts About It

The sharpness of these shells makes them difficult to digest and may even cause gastrointestinal distress.

You should only give your cat the kernel of a sunflower if you intend to feed it to it.

Keep in mind that commercially available sunflower kernels may be harmful to your cat.

Sunflower seeds and kernels are commonly available in seasoned varieties. Your cat’s stomach might not appreciate those spices.

You should only give your cat natural, unseasoned kernels if you decide to buy some for experimentation purposes.

sunflower seeds

Nutritional Content of Sunflower Seeds

There’s a good reason why people adore seeds. They are an excellent source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and contain heart-healthy omega fatty acids as a bonus. What we want to know is what kind of nourishment they provide for our cats.


While the majority of a cat’s protein intake should come from meat, they can also get some of the protein they need from plants. Some cats seem particularly fond of sunflower seeds due to the high protein content they provide.


It is common knowledge that eating foods high in fiber helps keep the digestive tract of all animals, including cats, moving smoothly. Sunflower seeds are beneficial because they contain a prebiotic fiber that feeds good bacteria in the digestive tract and helps maintain regular, solid bowel movements.

Some pet owners overdo it with the fiber in their cat’s diet in the mistaken belief that this will solve the feline’s digestive problems. However, too much fiber can actually cause problems with the feline’s gut and cause excess gas, which is yet another reason to give your cat only a small amount of sunflower seeds.

Sunflower Seeds

Vitamin E

Vitamin E, found in abundance in sunflower seeds, has many positive effects on health. Your cat’s skin and coat will remain healthy and shiny thanks to the vitamin E you give her, making her look as good as she feels on the inside.

Vitamin E promotes a healthy oxidative state in the body and has been linked to a reduced risk of developing certain cancers.

Vitamin B1

Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of thiamine, also known as vitamin B1, which is vital for cats. Sunflower seeds, in moderation, will increase her thiamine levels, which is often deficient in cats.


Sunflower seeds’ high selenium content complements the vitamin E that helps to prevent cancer by neutralizing free radicals and removing harmful cells from the body.

Cute cat beside a sunflower

Feeding Your Cat Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are a healthy treat for cats, and you may want to give them to your pet on a regular basis so that she can reap all the benefits.

  Can Cats Eat Sweet Potatoes? 15 Useful Things To Know

Cats have relatively small stomachs, so it’s important to limit their food intake accordingly.

Remove the shell and start with just a couple of kernels when giving your cat sunflower seeds for the first time.

If there are no signs of gastrointestinal distress after 48 hours, you can gradually introduce sunflower kernels as a treat once or twice a week. Don’t give them too many at once, and always open the shells first.

When Not to Feed Your Cat Sunflower Seeds

Since sunflower seeds are high in healthy fats (but still fats), you should limit the amount you feed your cat (if you feed her at all) until she reaches a healthy weight.

If you buy your sunflower seeds from a store, check the label to see what they contain. Because of the potential dangers they pose to felines, they must be all-natural and contain no artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, oils, or salts.

What About Overweight Cats?

Including sunflower seeds in your overweight cat’s diet won’t help it shed extra pounds. Fats can be found in sunflower seeds.

  Can Cats Eat Eggplant? 14 Useful Things For You

Even though they are healthy, these fats will make you gain weight. Make sure the sunflower seeds you give an overweight cat are all-natural and contain no preservatives.

Give them only the kernels, and give them very little. If your cat is overweight, you should wait until their weight is under control before giving them this treat.

a tabby cat eating from a bowl

Wild Sunflower Seeds

Your cat may occasionally snack on sunflower seeds from your or a neighbor’s garden.

Cats tend to try anything new they come across, and this includes eating. Complete and balanced cat food should be fed to cats to satisfy all of their nutritional requirements.

If you’re concerned that the cat food you’re feeding your pet isn’t giving them everything they need, it’s time to shop around. If your cat eats wild sunflower seeds, you may want to check its mouth for any signs of illness.

They could get a painful mouth injury or have to go to the vet if you’re not there to crack the shells for them.

Why is Your Cat Eating Sunflower Seeds From Your Garden?

You should investigate why your cat is eating the seeds from the sunflowers in your garden if you find her doing so.

You may need to switch to a more nutritious food, or one with a higher fiber content, to satisfy her needs, as some cats eat grass and seeds because they aren’t getting the nutrients they need from their daily food.

The shells can cause cuts, so examine her mouth carefully; if you think she may have been internally injured, don’t delay in taking her to the vet. You should consult your veterinarian if she keeps on eating them, as there may be a medical reason for it.


Sunflower seeds are beneficial for both humans and felines, as you can see.

Sunflower seeds are an interesting new option for healthy and tasty treats for your cat. Ensure that they have been properly shelled and are unadulterated.

After you’ve determined their safety, your cat can experiment with them on occasion. They should enjoy this healthy snack as much as their owner does, right?

Leave a Comment