Can Cats Eat Cashews? Are They A Safe Snack For Your Kitty?

Supriya Jain
Sep 04, 2023 By Supriya Jain
Originally Published on Nov 08, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Vikhaash Sundararaj
A gray furry cat sitting.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.7 Min

Cats are and always have been obligate carnivores, their diet is entirely based on animal-based or meat-based food.

Cats hardly ever eat anything plant-based for survival, except sometimes when they eat grass if they have digestive problems. Otherwise, a cat’s digestive system and stomach are not made in order to digest food that is plant-based, like fruits or nuts like cashews.

Cats are innately curious animals and always sniff around things in order to assess them for danger. Many times, if you are eating something, your cat sneaks up to you to sniff the food in your hands and if the cat likes it, it's theirs.

Sometimes, cats can try to steal some cashews out of your hands, but are cashews safe for cats? Should cats be eating cashews, are cashews toxic for cats? Read further to learn more.

After you have understood if you should feed foods that contain cashews to your cats, you must also read that can cats eat carrots and can cats eat basil?

Do cashews hurt cats?

Can cats eat cashews? The digestive system of cats is made to digest and generate energy from animal-based food like meat and fish. Their bodies are not able to handle any plant-based food in a healthy way, and many times, this can cause stomach problems like diarrhea and gastrointestinal diseases. Cashew is no exception to that rule.

Cats need a very protein-rich diet, with fewer fats and carbohydrates and a number of amino acids which they usually get from cat food specially made for cats, or by eating meat in the wild.

Humans can get protein from cashews, but the same rule does not apply to your feline pet.

The high-fat content in cashews negates any source of protein or carbohydrates and only the fats are absorbed and stored in your pet cat’s body.

Very little cashew, like just a chunk or so, may not harm your cat, but feeding your cat more than one or two whole cashews at once can most probably affect your cat, and possibly give an allergic reaction as well.

If cashews are fed on a regular basis to cats, the fat content can increase in your pet cat’s body and cause problems like pancreatitis and obesity, which can lead to further health problems like diabetes and arthritis.

Hence, even though cashews may have proteins it is advisable to not make a habit of feeding your cat any cashews at all, as it has more negative effects on your pet’s body than being healthy.

Can cats eat raw cashews?

Yes, of course, cats can eat cashews as well as raw cashews, but that definitely does not mean that they should eat nuts. Many vets suggest against feeding cats anything outside their cat food and meat, and especially against feeding cats any kind of nuts.

While cashew nuts cannot be categorized as being toxic for cats, they are not healthy or useful in any way at all.

Cashews and most nuts like groundnuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, almonds, are very high in fat content which is an extremely unhealthy nutrient for your cat if eaten in excess amounts. Also, cashew nuts can cause severe gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea and vomiting.

Just like humans are allergic to particular nuts, this phenomenon can be found in cats as well.

If a cat forms an allergic reaction after eating cashews, the symptoms include rashes, coughing, choking, or uneasiness in breathing.

Likewise, as cashew nuts are hard to chew, given that the cats do not have teeth that are designed to chew hard foods like cashews, these nuts can get lodged in your pet cat’s throat and become a choking hazard.

Although this risk of choking hazard is not particularly restricted to cashew nuts, it can happen from any food or substance which is too hard to chew or swallow.

Also, as feeding cashews is totally unnecessary to cats, feeding cashew milk as well does not benefit the health of your pet feline.

Most cats become lactose intolerant after they have passed the feeding stage where they depend on their mother’s milk for survival and nutrition. Hence, most cats do not need any milk, at all after they have passed the feeding stage, and cashew milk is no exception to that rule.

Similar to feeding on cashew nuts, drinking cashew milk can also cause similar symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting due to the inability to digest such a type of food.

The chances of forming an allergic reaction to cashew milk also cannot be ruled out from the list. Whatever nutritional value cashews or cashew milk contains, it still does not affect and benefit cats the way it does in humans.

Hence, avoid feeding your cats cashews or cashew milk unless it is very rare and once in a while, only as a treat which should include two or fewer cashews.

A mix of different nuts in a burlap.

What happens if a cat eats a nut?

For ages, cats have always been carnivorous animals, unlike dogs who have become omnivores due to domestication.

Even today, the diet and nutritional needs of a domesticated cat are similar to its ancestors who lived thousands of years ago. To put it precisely, a cat’s body and digestive system are not wired to eat and digest anything which is plant-based food.

We tend to feed them rice or some other foods from time to time, but as you may not know, these foods can cause harm to your pet feline if this feeding continues over a long time.

Nuts, especially cashews, contain a large amount of fat, which if ingested by a human, does not affect us a lot. Rather, the fat content in nuts is considered good fat.

But that is not the case with cats. A cat needs a protein-rich diet full of various amino acids for keeping healthy, which are generally not found in plant-based foods.

Too many fats can make a cat obese and cause other related health issues.

But these issues are often faced only if the cashew feeding or fat intake is more regular and happening over a period of time. Hence, feeding cashews to your pet cat over a long period regularly can cause obesity and related health issues like arthritis and diabetes.

Further, eating cashews or any types of nuts more often than not can also cause pancreatitis, wherein the pancreas of the cat swells up and this ailment does not go away naturally and needs costly treatments and surgery if found. Symptoms of pancreatitis include vomiting, fever, and loss of appetite.

Further, if cats eat cashews once or twice in more than enough quantity, immediate symptoms include diarrhea and vomiting, and gastrointestinal problems. While cashews may not be poisonous for your cats, if they develop a very strong allergy that has failed to be looked after immediately, it can cause some grave damage to your cat’s health, even death.

Symptoms of allergic reaction in cats include rashes, uneasiness in breathing, and sometimes even fever.

Lastly, like many nuts or all hard-to-chew foods, cashew nuts pose a risk of a case of choking accidents in cats. An accident of choking can be very fast and stressful if the owner does not have any experience with such an emergency.

Excessive choking which is not treated in time can also lead to the untimely death of your pet cat. Hence, keep your pet cats away from unnecessary foods like nuts or cashews, which have more negative effects on their health than positive ones.

How many cashews can cats eat in a day?

Firstly, as explained several times above, one should completely avoid feeding their cats any type of nuts like almonds, pecan, walnuts, or cashew nuts. These nuts are high in fat content, which is very bad for your cat’s health and wellbeing, if not poisonous.

Even after all this, if somehow your cat asks for cashews again and again, which is very rare and unheard of, you can feed your cat cashews as a snack once in a while.

If your cat insists on feeding on cashews so much so that it finds the container of cashews or meows at you when you’re eating, you can give your cat a bite or two, which has been broken into small pieces.

See to it that you do not feed more than one or two cashews at a time. Keep these cashew feeding sessions only once a week, and try to break this habit of eating cashews by increasing the time span between two snack feeding sessions.

This way, if you are a little strict with your cat, chances are your little feline will soon forget about the unhealthy snack and stick to what is good for them.

One trick to prevent feeding your cat with unhealthy snacks is to keep their cat treats handy if your cat has a habit of wanting to share your food when you're snacking. This way, your cat will not feel left out and stay away from hazardous and unnecessary snacks and treats.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy!

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Written by Supriya Jain

Bachelor of Commerce, Master of Business Administration specializing in Marketing

Supriya Jain picture

Supriya JainBachelor of Commerce, Master of Business Administration specializing in Marketing

As a skilled member of the Kidadl team, Shruti brings extensive experience and expertise in professional content writing. With a Bachelor's degree in Commerce from Punjab University and an MBA in Business Administration from IMT Nagpur, Shruti has worked in diverse roles such as sales intern, content writer, executive trainee, and business development consultant. Her exceptional writing skills cover a wide range of areas, including SOP, SEO, B2B/B2C, and academic content.

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Fact-checked by Vikhaash Sundararaj

Bachelor of Fine Arts specializing in International Business

Vikhaash Sundararaj picture

Vikhaash SundararajBachelor of Fine Arts specializing in International Business

With a background in International Business Management, having completed his degree at the University of Hull. Vikhaash has volunteered with 'Teach For India' to help students create a monthly newsletter. In his free time, he enjoys sports and was the assistant captain of his school's hockey team. He has also gained marketing experience through an internship at Decathlon Sports India.

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