Humans and many other herbivores can benefit from eating sesame seeds. But they may not be the best snack option for felines. Although cats can eat sesame seeds without any ill effects, they do not digest them well.
While it’s not necessarily dangerous if your cat nibbles on a sesame seed hamburger bun when you’re not looking, you shouldn’t actively feed them to your cats either. Let’s investigate the causes of that.
Are Sesame Seeds Safe for Cats to Eat?
It’s important to remember that just because something is fine for us to eat doesn’t mean it’s fine for our feline friends to eat as well. Both toxic foods and foods that your cat simply can’t digest properly can make him sick.
The good news is that cats are not at risk from ingesting sesame seeds due to their lack of toxicity. Sesame seeds are harmless to your cat and may even aid in its digestion of other foods.
Your cat may benefit from eating sesame seeds, but that doesn’t mean they’re good for them nutritionally. Sesame seeds may be healthy for humans, but they lack essential nutrients that your cat requires.
What do we mean by that, though? By this, we mean that cats are strictly carnivorous. They can’t make it on a vegetarian or vegan diet. The explanation lies in the structure and function of a cat’s digestive system. They lack the digestive enzymes necessary to break down plant foods like sesame seeds, unlike humans and even dogs.
We’re assuming here that your cat has consumed a large quantity of sesame seeds at once, or that it has subsisted entirely on a diet of sesame seeds. If your cat eats just one or two sesame seeds from your bagel’s top, it probably won’t have any ill effects.
Are Sesame Seeds Healthy For Cats?
The nutrient density of sesame seeds may make it seem like a no-brainer to start feeding them to your cat. However, there is more to it than that.
Cats get the majority of their nutritional needs met by eating meat because they are obligate carnivores. Even though they try, obligate carnivores just can’t break down plant matter well enough to get all the nutrition they require.
As a result, cats aren’t as likely to benefit from eating sesame seeds as omnivores like humans and dogs.
Nutritional Benefits of Sesame Seeds
In general, the seeds of the sesame plant are healthy. They are rich in nutrients that are good for your immune system, including vitamins B6 and E, copper, iron, selenium, and zinc.
Sesame seeds’ nutrient profile also includes compounds that boost bone health and decrease inflammation. They have antioxidants that can aid in the body’s natural defenses against oxidative stress.
Similarly, a cat’s dietary requirements are very similar to the macronutrient composition of a sesame seed. Sesame seeds are rich in plant-based protein while also being low in carbohydrates and containing a good amount of heart-healthy fats.
Protein-rich, low-fat diets are ideal for cats, but diets with a moderate amount of fat are also effective. They don’t need a lot of carbohydrates in their diet because they can’t process them.
A Cat’s Basic Dietary Needs
Meat is an important part of a cat’s diet because it provides the protein they need. Cats need a moderate amount of fat, as well as certain vitamins and minerals, to maintain normal bodily function. What does this mean? I’ll explain.
Some amino acids are considered essential because cats cannot produce them on their own.
Amino acids already present in animal tissue must be obtained. Out of the 11 essential amino acids, cats are deficient in the production of two: taurine and arginine.
Throughout their lives, cats require a steady supply of taurine. Kittens need taurine for normal growth and development, as well as for maintaining good eye and heart health.
Feline central retinal degeneration (FCRD) and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) are two diseases that will develop in a taurine-deficient cat.
Supplemental taurine may be effective in reversing these conditions if used early on. However, these diseases’ later stages can cause irreversible harm, including blindness and heart failure.
A diet for a cat should include 20% to 24% fat, which should primarily come from healthy sources. Fat is metabolized for energy, and it also transports vitamins that are water-soluble.
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are two examples of essential fatty acids that should be included in your cat’s diet. Cats’ skin and coat, eyes, and mental health are all helped by these fatty acids.
Vitamins and Minerals
Essential vitamins and minerals for cats are outlined by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).
Vitamins that are essential for cats include:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
- Sodium pantothenate
- Vitamin B9
- B12 Vitamin
The following minerals are essential for cats as well:
You’d h a ve to eat a lot of them to get the full benefit. Your cat probably gets enough of the vitamins, minerals, and proteins it needs from its regular diet, so there’s no need to give it sesame seeds on purpose.
Are There Any Risks If Your Cat Eats Sesame Seeds?
There are very few risks associated with eating sesame seeds, other than the fact that they do not contain the exact nutritional components your cat needs.
Animals don’t digest plant-based proteins as well as they do meat-based proteins, so giving your cat too many can lead to gastrointestinal distress.
This means that your cat can probably eat one or two sesame seeds without any ill effects. If your cat does eat sesame seeds, there are a few things you should know.
The first thing to keep in mind is that your cat might get a seed stuck in its tooth. Sesame seeds are very small and could easily get stuck in between your cat’s teeth and gums. Your cat may experience discomfort if the seeds become lodged and aren’t removed.
A tooth or gum infection is another problem that could arise if a cat gets a sesame seed stuck in its teeth.
Bacterial infections caused by food that gets stuck in your cat’s teeth can be much more serious than the initial discomfort they cause.
Your cat probably won’t get sick from eating a sesame seed, but it’s best to be safe than sorry.
If your cat seems uncomfortable after eating sesame seeds, you should check its teeth and give it a good brushing to remove any stuck seeds.
While sesame seeds themselves pose no threat to feline health, they may be present in or on products that are.
Breads like bagels, buns, and toast are typically topped with sesame seeds. Bread is safe for your cats to eat, but like sesame seeds, too much of it can be bad for them.
Some condiments also feature sesame seeds. Even if your cat can tolerate sesame seeds, eating too much of the sauce could make him sick.
Again, all you have to do is keep a close eye on your cat after it has eaten something with sesame seeds in it. Your cat won’t be harmed by eating a few sesame seeds, but some foods do contain them.
Can Cats Drink Sesame Seed Oil?
One of the most common ways that sesame seeds are put to use is to produce oil. Again, your cat may be tempted to try some if he is curious about the substance because of its culinary significance. However, can cats safely consume sesame seed oil?
Sesame seed oil is harmless to cats, just like the seeds themselves. However, your cat won’t get much in the way of nutrients from sesame seed oil, so it’s not a good idea to give it to him on a regular basis.
How Should You Feed Sesame Seeds to Cats?
Your cat’s diet should never consist solely of sesame seeds. On the other hand, if your cat appears to enjoy sesame seeds, you can add them to his food occasionally as a treat.
Keep in mind that sesame seeds can be toxic to cats. While cats can digest raw sesame seeds, roasting them first is the best way to ensure their safety.
You can make the seeds more manageable for your cat by roasting them. Make sure to roast them without adding any other flavors, even salt.
Once you’ve roasted the seeds, you can simply sprinkle a few into your cat’s bowl. Add them to the food in the bowl to give your cat a new and exciting eating experience.
You shouldn’t do this every day, though. Your cat can safely be fed sesame seeds once every other week, or even once a month.
Final Thoughts on Sesame Seeds and Cats
Sesame seeds are not toxic to cats, so it’s not a huge deal if your cat accidentally eats some. You shouldn’t feed them to your cat because they aren’t the healthiest option.
A small amount of sesame seeds can be given to a cat if that is something it enjoys eating. Keep in mind that there may be more desirable choices, such as catnip or a treat made of meat.