Almonds were domesticated thousands and thousands of years ago in the Middle East. This was possible because a mutation in wild almonds brought about what would become the split between bitter almonds and sweet almonds. For those who are unfamiliar, wild almonds contain large quantities of amygdalin, which is responsible for both the bitterness and the toxicity that protect them from their would-be eaters. The mutation inhibited the production of said substance, thus bringing about the ancestors of sweet almonds. Both bitter almonds and sweet almonds exist in modern times. However, the overwhelming majority of the almonds that we consume are sweet almonds, which makes sense because their bitter counterparts are extremely poisonous when unprocessed. Sweet almonds still contain amygdalin but in such small quantities that this shouldn’t be an issue under normal circumstances.
Can Cats Eat Almonds?
Some cat owners might be wondering whether cats can eat almonds or not. If so, they should know that almonds aren’t considered to be toxic for cats. However, there are a number of reasons why cat owners shouldn’t feed almonds to their cats anyway. First, the almonds that we eat still contain a small amount of amgydalin. As a result, it is possible for them to suffer cyanide poisoning by eating too many. The potential consequences of cyanide poisoning include hyperventilation, dilated pupils, gastrointestinal distress, shock, and even death, meaning that it is better to be safe than to be sorry. This is particularly true because cats are so much smaller than humans, meaning that what would be a non-issue for us might not be a non-issue for them. Second, almonds contain a lot of fat. This is something that can cause gastrointestinal distress for cats as well. In the long run, eating too much fat can cause even worse problems for cats. To name an example, there is pancreatitis, which is when the pancreas becomes inflamed. Even milder cases can be quite unpleasant. Meanwhile, serious cases can be life-threatening. Third, almonds are often served with things that can be very bad for cats. For instance, salted almonds are a serious issue because it is very easy for cats to eat too much salt, thus leading to salt poisoning. However, salt isn’t the worst potential addition. After all, chocolate almonds are very popular as well, which is bad because chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine. Suffice to say that both of these substances can be poisonous for our feline companions.
Fourth, almonds are a potential choking hazard. Cats don’t chew their food. Instead, they are supposed to tear off small pieces of meat before swallowing them whole. As such, they aren’t very good at breaking almonds down into more manageable pieces on their own. Certainly, cat owners can break the almonds down into more manageable pieces for their cats. However, that raises the question of why they would do so when almonds aren’t very beneficial for cats. If anything, they are the opposite. As always, if cat owners are curious whether their cat can eat something or not, they should contact their veterinarian for an expert’s opinion on the matter. It isn’t very difficult for them to look up whether most cats can eat something or not. The issue is that a particular cat isn’t guaranteed to match most cats when it comes to what they can and can’t do. As such, it is a good idea for cat owners to get a go-ahead from their veterinarian before proceeding further. For that matter, veterinarians are also a useful source of information on the best way to feed something to a cat, which can be at least as useful as whether it can be eaten by a cat or not. Veterinarians are here to help, so make sure to use them.
Can Cats Eat Other Nuts and Seeds?
Cat owners might be curious whether cats can eat other nuts and seeds. There isn’t a simple and straightforward answer for this. However, it is a good question to ask because we eat so many nuts and seeds, meaning that it is very common for our cats to come into contact with them as well. Generally speaking, feeding nuts to a cat isn’t a very good idea. A lot of the problems with almonds are applicable to other nuts as well, though strictly speaking, almonds aren’t nuts but rather drupes. Being high in fat, fiber, and calories means that eating too many of them is a recipe for gastrointestinal distress or worse. On top of that, there are some nuts that are more concerning than others. For example, raw cashews have apparently been known to be problematic for cats. Similarly, pistachios are apparently a choking hazard, which is on top of how they are often topped with things that cats shouldn’t eat. Interested individuals should also keep a watchful eye out for anything that has grown mold because chances are very good that will cause problems for cats as well. Even when cat owners choose to feed supposedly safe nuts to their cats, they should do so in moderation while supervising the entire process from start to finish.
As for seeds, they are also high in fat and calories. Thanks to that, interested individuals should also feed seeds to their cats in moderation so that they can minimize the chances of something problematic coming up. Furthermore, supervision is good because that will enable them to intervene sooner if something problematic comes up. Besides these, there are some commonsensical rules that should be applied as well. First, don’t give the seeds with their shells because those can be choking hazards as well as potential obstructions in the digestive system. Second, don’t give the seeds with any toppings because a lot of the most common toppings can be very bad for cats. Third, seeds are more than capable of being choking hazards on their own, which is why supervision is so important. Besides these, interested individuals should be very careful about fruit seeds. Enough of them are either toxic or otherwise problematic that they should just avoid fruit seeds altogether in order to stay safe.