Can Cats Eat Pistachios? Are Pistachios Safe for Cats?

Pistachios are a popular type of nut that is enjoyed by many people. But can cats eat pistachios? Are pistachios safe for cats? In this article we'll look at the nutritional value of pistachios and explore whether they are safe for cats to eat. Keep reading to learn more!
Can Cats Eat Pistachios? Are Pistachios Safe for Cats?

If you’re like me, you probably love snacking on pistachios. And why not? They are packed with fiber, healthy fats, protein, vitamin, and other nutrients that are healthy for us. But what about our feline companions? Can cats eat pistachios and get the same health benefits?

Pistachios are not poisonous for cats, but they aren’t safe to eat either. The high fat and fiber content in pistachios can cause digestive issues for cats. In addition, pistachios are often seasoned with salt, garlic, and onion which are not healthy for cats. Additionally, pistachio shells can be choking hazard for cats and cause blockage of their intestinal tract.

Most cat owners naturally give human food to their feline friends. Don’t even try to deny it, you’re guilty as charged! In the rest of the article, you will find more information about risks of feeding your cat pistachios.

Are Pistachios Safe for Cats?

Pistachios are not safe for cats to eat. But if your cat nibbles one or two pistachios (without shells), there is nothing to worry about. So can cats eat pistachios occasionally? Yes.

In excess, they could cause diarrhea and stomach disturbance in cats. It’s best to only give them as a treat or snack, and not make them a part of their regular diet.

In case your cat does eat a bunch of pistachios when you are not around, be sure to monitor them closely and contact your veterinarian if they experience any adverse effects. 

Risks of Adding Pistachios to a Cats Diet

Like any other “human food”, pistachios also have consumption risks in cats. We have listed some possible risks that will question you the next time you try to give your kitten friend pistachios. 

Salted Pistachios Can Cause Sodium Poisoning

Most of the pistachios from markets come with many spices and additives that might be fatal or hazardous for felines. Let’s get this clear, excess sodium intake is not healthy for both humans and cats.

Related article: Can Cats Eat Salt?

Since cats weigh 10 to 15 times less than humans, salty foods may cause sodium poisoning followed by diarrhea, hypernatremia, vomiting, polydipsia (increased water consumption), and even coma.

Pistachio Pudding with Pistachio Topping
Pistachio Pudding with Pistachio Topping

Cats May Choke on Them

Since cats are classified as carnivores, their teeth are anatomically made for ripping meat. Therefore, they are less efficient at swallowing nuts.

While most pistachios will digest, there is a risk of choking with larger pieces that might obstruct the airways and cause additional problems with breathing since pistachios are not part of their regular diet. 

Shells Can Cause Foreign Body Obstruction

If your “kitchen helper” found a pistachio on the floor and accidentally swallowed it, the pistachio shell may cause blockage in the intestinal tract. This can be a life-threatening condition, and the only solution is a pricey surgical procedure due to foreign body obstruction.

Gastrointestinal Discomfort

Pistachios contain a high amount of dietary fiber that causes smooth defecation in humans and cats. However, if your cat consumes too many pistachios, it may cause gastrointestinal distress and may manifest diarrhea, loose stool, and dehydration due to high fiber content.

The same occurs for other nuts like pecans and macadamia nuts since the cat’s body is designed to digest animal protein.

Fats in Pistachios May Result in Pancreatitis

Besides dietary fibers, pistachios contain high levels of fat that may increase the chances of obesity and weight-related issues. One of the leading health problems that excessive fats in pistachios cause is pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) combined with liver damage and intestine inflammation.

Artificial Flavorings and Preservatives Can be Harmful

Nowadays, it’s challenging to find food without artificial flavorings and preservatives, and let’s face it, they do more harm than good. They are often used to extend the shelf’s life but bear in mind that cats are extremely vulnerable to any type of flavoring and can even be toxic. 

Improperly Stored Pistachios Can Cause Aflatoxin Toxicity

Who knows where the nuts were stored before we bought them? Very often, sanitary protocols are not followed in many companies. The nuts may become contaminated by mold and cause aflatoxin poisoning due to Aspergillus Fungus in humans and cats.

Signs of aflatoxin poisoning include symptoms like loss of appetite, diarrhea, sluggishness, and vomiting.

Now that we have listed all of the possible risks related to pistachios for cats, it’s only on you to stay a responsible pet parent.

Pistachio Ice Cream with Pistachio Topping
Pistachio Ice Cream with Pistachio Topping

Do Pistachios Offer Any Health Benefits to Cats?

It’s very rare, but cats can benefit from eating pistachios due to dietary fiber. So can cats eat pistachios everyday?

No. Because if your cat eats too much, it can develop digestive tract health issues. Even if your cat’s diet requires more dietary fiber, your vet will suggest special commercial food, not pistachios. 

How Many Pistachios Can a Cat Have in a Day?

You certainly shouldn’t include pistachios in your cat’s daily diet. However, if your cat craves, an ounce (1 oz=28.34 gm.) is more than enough. 

Can Cats Eat Pistachios Found in Other Foods?

If not directly, can cats eat pistachios mixed with other foods? No, cats should avoid consuming pistachios altogether. However, pistachios are a common ingredient in many type of food and cats adore them. 

This is a list of typical food containing pistachios:

  • Ice cream
  • Cake
  • Pudding 
  • Confectionery etc.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s discuss some other questions related to feeding pistachios to cats that cat owners ask about.

What Should I Do If My Cat Ate a Pistachio? Can Kittens Eat Pistachios?

Eating one probably won’t cause any harm. Still, observe for any side effects, and call your vet immediately if you notice any adverse symptoms or changed behavior. 

Also, just like your adult cat, pistachio nuts are not recommended nor for kittens.

Can Cats Eat Pistachio Shells and Raw Pistachios?

Cats should not eat pistachio shells. Also, large quantities of raw pistachios may harm your cat due to the high content of fiber, so cats shouldn’t eat pistachios. Even plain pistachios are not recommended for cats.

Can Cats Eat Pistachio Pudding?

Feeding your cat pistachio pudding is not recommended since it contains milk. It might seem weird, but cats become lactose intolerant to dairy products as they grow up. So milk and dairy foods may cause upset stomach.

Can Cats Eat Pistachio Ice Cream?

No, cats cannot eat pistachio ice cream (or any other ice cream for that matter). Since ice cream contains high levels of sugar and fat content, combined with fats from pistachios, may result in excessive diarrhea and loose stool.

Even though ice cream does not contain real pistachios, it’s not recommended for cats.

Can Cats Eat Pistachio Fudge?

Number one rule for any cat owner: do not feed them chocolate. Fudge is made with chocolate. Therefore, you should prevent your cat from eating pistachio fudge.

Can Pistachios Kill Cats?

Although pistachios are not inherently toxic to cats, eating pistachios can lead to a serious life-threatening condition. For example, swallowing a pistachio shell can cause foreign body obstruction, and if not properly treated, it can lead to death.

Can Cats Eat Unsalted Pistachios?

Cats can eat unsalted pistachios. However, it’s still not recommended to feed your cat pistachios due to the high fat and fiber content. Too much fat can cause pancreatitis in cats, while too much fiber can lead to digestive issues.

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