The perfect little snack, cashews are both tasty and portable. People constantly graze on them because they’re so tasty. Cats also appear to be interested in them, so they must be a tasty treat. Is it okay to give your cat a cashew?
It’s not uncommon for people who have pets to want to feed them some of their food. If something works for me, then it must be fine for everyone else. However, this is not always the situation.
Fortunately, cashews don’t pose any significant health risks. In moderation, they are safe for your cat to eat, but that doesn’t mean you should. Feeding your cat cashews, a tasty human treat, is not recommended due to the potential health risks involved.
Are Cashews Safe For Cats?
Actually, no. First, cashews contain many nutrients that are harmful to cats but helpful to humans. Second, the high levels of fat in these nuts may cause a variety of negative health effects. There are also numerous allergens to avoid.
Are Cashews Good For Cats? Unpacking Cashews
Many pet owners struggle with this very question. Understanding what cashews are and aren’t can shed light on the issue.
Cashews are the nuts that grow on the cashew tree, which is a tropical tree with the same name.
The cashews tree not only yields cashew nuts, but also cashew apples. The fact that these apples are essentially useless outside of the plant’s natural habitat contributes to their relative obscurity.
Cashew nuts’ high proportion of beneficial fats is a major selling point. One ounce of raw cashews has about 12.4 grams of healthy fat.
However, cashews provide many other health benefits for the body besides just the healthy fat they contain. In fact, nuts are counted among “superfoods,” a category that includes a wide variety of nutritious foods such as berries, legumes, kales, and so on.
One ounce of raw cashews contains a significant amount of several minerals and vitamins, including those listed below.
- Energy – 157 kcal;
- 1 gram of fiber;
- 5.1 g of protein;
- 9.2 g of carbohydrates;
- 7 ug of folate;
- Magnesium: 83 milligrams;
- 3.4 mg of sodium;
- Potassium: 187 milligrams
- Calcium, 10.4 milligrams;
- Nutritional Value of Vitamin E: 0.3 mcg;
- 0.1 milligrams of vitamin B-6; and
- 9 500 mcg Vitamin K2
The body can reap the nutritional and health benefits of each mineral and vitamin in its own unique way.
Iron and copper, for instance, complement one another to promote healthy red blood cell development and function. Therefore, they boost immunity by strengthening the cardiovascular system, skeletal system, and nervous system.
Antioxidants like zeaxanthin and lutein can be found in abundance in cashew nuts. These antioxidants aid in warding off a variety of chronic illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and cancer.
Furthermore, studies have shown that the combination of lutein and zeaxanthin has a synergistic effect on visual acuity by lowering the risk of cataracts and other eye diseases.
And as we’ve already established, cashews are a good source of fat. That means there are no associated risks of gaining weight. However, it does the opposite by lowering the risk of cardiovascular problems like hypertension and stroke.
In spite of these advantages, however, concerned cat owners may still wonder whether or not cashews are toxic to their pets.
Despite their desirable nutritional profile, cashews are still generally discouraged for cats, and we’ll discuss some of the reasons why in the next section.
Are Cashews Bad For Cats?
Experts warn against giving cashews to cats, as we discussed earlier. What, though, could go wrong if your kitto secretly ate some cashews without your knowledge?
Some of the reasons why you shouldn’t give cashews to your cat are discussed below.
1. Cats are obligate carnivores
The fact that cats must eat meat exclusively is one reason why you won’t find cashews in a cat’s diet.
That means our feline friends can get by fine on a diet consisting entirely of animal protein. Cats don’t need the variety of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins that humans do in order to thrive.
Cats rarely eat more than a blade or two of grass, even when they go against their dietary adaptations. Neither wild nor domestic cats are particularly fond of nuts.
Keep in mind that a cat’s digestive system views cashews as “wild,” along with most other nuts, fruits, and vegetables. That’s why it could make you sick to your stomach and make your bowels move strangely if you eat it.
2. Possibly allergic reactions
In many parts of the world, people have severe reactions to nuts. The fact that your cat isn’t used to eating plant matter increases the risk that it will have an allergic reaction to the cashew nuts you feed it.
Allergy symptoms can vary widely, but they typically involve at least one of the following;
- Watery eyes and/or a runny nose;
- sensitive, itchy, and flaky skin;
- Itchy skin;
- breathing difficulties;
- Otitis externa;
- Hair thinning;
- Behaviors indicative of irritability, such as aggressive licking; and
- Issues arising in the digestive tract.
3. Issues with cashews’ nutritional profile
Although cashews contain a lot of healthy fats, these fats are only beneficial if they are ingested by humans. Cats present an entirely new set of challenges.
Analyzing the nutritional composition of cashews reveals that fat is the most abundant macronutrient in the nuts, followed by carbohydrates and proteins.
Perhaps humans can handle this. Cats, on the other hand, have a preference for food with a higher protein content, followed by fewer carbohydrates and less fat.
It’s also important to note that amino acid-rich proteins make up virtually all of a cat’s diet. Cashews, sadly, don’t have particularly high levels of amino acids in their proteins.
So, maybe cashews do have a good deal of protein in them. However, your kitto will not benefit in any way from these proteins because they are deficient in essential amino acids. Pancreatitis is another possible health risk associated with cashews’ high fat content.
When the pancreas becomes inflamed and enlarged, a condition known as pancreatitis occurs. The pancreas produces digestive enzymes and digestive acids, which it then releases into the digestive tract.
When the organ swells up, it stops producing its digestive juices. Instead, the organ is activated and its fatty content is digested, triggering inflammation. Pancreatitis manifests with fatigue, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.
4. Choking Hazard
This isn’t the first thing that comes to mind, but it’s a major danger that cashews present to your cats. While we can easily crack open a cashew, our feline friends don’t have the same set of teeth.
Vegetables, grains, starches, nuts, and anything else in the same food group are not something a wild cat would eat. They subsist solely on meat from wild animals. This means that their teeth are designed for killing and consuming meat, rather than nuts.
We consider cashews to be quite diminutive, but your cat is considerably smaller than you. A cashew may seem harmless to you, but to your cat it is the size of a marble, and a whole cashew has the potential to become lodged in its airway. In this unfortunate event, prompt action is required to prevent your cat from choking to death.
If you insist on giving your cat cashews, cut them in half or smaller to reduce the risk of suffocation.
The worst possible long-term effect of feeding your cat cashews on a regular basis is pancreatitis. Your cat’s pancreas has become enlarged, and she will need expensive and invasive medical care.
Fever, loss of appetite, and fatigue are some of the symptoms. It’s a major issue, and you need help fixing it.
Can I Give My Cat Cashew Milk?
You can safely feed your cat some cashew milk because cashews are not toxic to felines. You should still use this method with caution.
Unfortunately for your cat, cashew milk still contains a lot of fat. Since it isn’t a regular part of their diet, they have trouble processing it. Cats shouldn’t be regularly fed cashew milk unless their owners want them to become unhealthy and overweight.
However, unlike whole cashews, which can present a choking hazard if swallowed, this nut milk will be easier to swallow. If you want to give your cat a treat with a cashew flavor, cashew milk may be a better option than whole cashews.
Can cats eat raw cashews?
It is not suggested. Raw cashews have a high concentration of salts, sugars, and fat. If you insist on giving your cat cashew nuts, you should probably boil them first.
Can cats eat cashew butter?
The high fat content of cashew butter makes it inappropriate for cats.
Are Cashews OK for Kittens?
Is it safe to give a kitten a cashew as a treat if they are not toxic to cats and can be eaten in moderation?
Kittens are not small versions of adult cats. Although cats don’t typically use their teeth for anything besides meat, they still have teeth. In contrast, kittenslack the necessary adult teeth for chewing cashews.
Furthermore, kittens’ digestive systems aren’t mature enough to process solid food. And that’s presuming their stomachs are big enough to hold a cashew. Due to their small size, cashews pose a serious choking risk to kittens.
Kittens may also have an adverse reaction to cashew milk. Cashew milk is likely to cause them stomach distress due to the high fat content, but this is not fatal. However, you shouldn’t give your kitten anything made from cashews.
What are the risks of long-term feeding of cashews to cats?
Feeding your kitto cashews can have a number of unintended consequences. Poisoning from sodium ions comes first. We also face the possibility of developing cardiovascular disease, pancreatitis, and organ failure. In addition, there can be issues with your gut, such as persistent diarrhea.
Given the risks associated with cashews, it’s best to keep them out of your cat’s reach.
Cats, however, have an uncanny ability to steal our food while we sleep. Your first thought might be, “What do I do if my cat eats cashew nuts?”
Be aware of the many signs of gastrointestinal distress that we’ve listed. In addition, take the cat to the vet immediately if you think the amount of cashews it ate could be fatal.
Ultimately, cashews aren’t great for your cat, but eating a few won’t hurt it. However, if they are a staple in your cat’s diet, they can be harmful to their health.
Due to the lack of naturally occurring high-fat sources in a cat’s diet, cashews present a significant challenge for their digestion. Cashews have an exceptionally high sodium content, too. Again, cats have trouble processing this due to the lack of sodium in their natural diet.
Finally, whole cashews present a choking hazard to your cat. You should break up solid cashews into smaller pieces before feeding them. Cashew milk is a suitable substitute because it is lactose-free and does not pose a choking hazard.