Pistachios are a snack enjoyed by many people, especially while watching TV. These nuts are also very rich in a range of nutrients, such as iron, magnesium, calcium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6.
But can cats eat pistachios? Are they safe for our feline friends or should you make sure that your pet doesn’t accidentally eat a few? We’re answering these questions and more in today’s article.
Are Pistachios Safe for Cats?
It depends on what types of pistachios a cat manages to ingest. If they are unsalted or unflavored, they might not pose any threat to the cat’s health besides perhaps choking. However, if they are flavored with salt or any other spice mixes, they can seriously affect a cat’s body.
Some of the risks you are exposing your cat to if you allow them to eat pistachios are foreign body obstruction, digestive distress, and pancreatitis.
Foreign body obstruction can happen particularly in kittens since their intestines aren’t large enough to handle the dimensions that a pistachio nut (and its shell) can have. Pistachios can get lodged in a cat’s throat or esophagus or lead to a serious case of constipation.
The amount of fat in pistachios doesn’t make them appropriate for cats, either. Most healthy adults can experience diarrhea or vomiting as a result of ingesting one or several pistachio nuts.
However, seniors or cats that have chronic diseases can have much more severe complications, and that’s where pancreatitis comes in. This is a disease that’s extremely dangerous, and that can affect cats that are already fed high-fat diets. Eating fat foods is very risky for cats so this is one of the main reasons you should avoid giving them nuts and seeds.
Pistachios and Aflatoxin Poisoning
Aflatoxicosis is a disease that can affect animals and humans alike. It is caused by a fungus, Aspergillus flavus, which grows on nuts and seeds and releases a toxin called aflatoxin.
The reason people rarely end up suffering from severe forms of this condition is that they are much larger compared to pets, so they have vaster liver tissues that can somewhat handle the abuse of low amounts of this toxin.
But if a cat ingests a high amount of aflatoxin from a batch of pistachios, they might end up developing liver damage (and even liver failure) in a matter of 24 to 48 hours.
Not just pistachios can carry this toxin or the fungus itself on their surface. Peanuts are another potential culprit of aflatoxicosis in animals. It seems like a rather good reason to steer clear of pistachios altogether when it comes to your cat’s diet, right?
These days, salted pistachios aren’t the only kind that you can purchase. Some can contain garlic or onion powder (both of which are toxic for both dogs and cats).
Others might even be sweetened, and while sugar isn’t good for cats, xylitol and other artificial sweeteners might actually be dangerous. It is true that the effect of these substances on cats’ health is not as severe as it is on dogs’ health, but they can still experience some unpleasant symptoms.
Can Cats Eat Pistachio Pudding?
No. Pistachio pudding is not only rich in the fat itself coming from the nuts, but it’s also rich in a wide range of other ingredients, none of which are cat-appropriate. For example, pudding might contain thickeners and binders, many of which can have carcinogenic effects.
On top of that, pudding can also contain added sugar or artificial sweeteners, and we have already noted that these are unsafe for this species. The high amount of sugar in pudding can cause a spike in a pet’s blood sugar, something that can be particularly risky for senior cats.
Can Cats Eat Pistachio Ice Cream?
The answer to this question is also no.
Ice cream contains dairy and many cats are lactose-intolerant, with the exception of kittens. By the time they reach adulthood, they will have lost their ability to digest other types of milk besides the one made specifically for their species.
Like pudding, ice cream can contain additives, flavors, binders, artificial colors, and a variety of such substances that can harm a cat’s health.
Can Cats Eat Unsalted Pistachios?
The fact that they are not salted doesn’t necessarily make them safe, and the reason for this is that they still remain high in fat. Unsalted nuts are safer than their salted or flavored counterparts, but they’re still not the best thing you should give your cat.
Cats are obligate carnivores, which means that even if you were to try to give your feline friend nuts only so you can increase their fiber intake, a food type like canned pumpkin would be better (and also harmless).
For any other dilemmas that you might have regarding what a cat’s diet should be composed of, ask your veterinarian.
These days, homemade recipes might be safer than commercial diets, but if you do decide to prepare your cat’s food at home, make sure you consult a vet nutritionist or your vet beforehand – as you have to add specific amounts of taurine and other ingredients to the mixture.