Are Almonds Poisonous to Cats?

by Jen Davis, Demand Media
    Cats are safest when they only eat foods intended for feline consumption.

    Cats are safest when they only eat foods intended for feline consumption.

    Almonds are a healthy and practical snack for humans, but these nuts are not a food to share with your feline companions. Your kitty may not get sick immediately from eating almonds, but they can still pose a significant risk to her health.

    Toxicity

    According to the ASPCA, almonds are not considered to be toxic to cats. This means that your cat will probably be OK if she happens to eat a small amount of almonds or a food that contains almond as one of the ingredients. However, the ASPCA cautions against allowing your cat, or any pet, to consume almonds because of an assortment of other potential problems they may cause your kitty.

    Cyanogenic Glycosides

    Cyanogenic glycosides are a completely natural toxin that is contained in almonds, as well as cherries, peach pits and apple seeds. Consuming high amounts of cyanogenic glycosides can cause your cat to suffer from a type of cyanide poisoning. If your kitty consumes too many almonds, she may develop symptoms of cyanide poisoning, including dilated pupils, an upset stomach or hyperventilating. In severe cases your kitty will go into shock and may die.

    Digestive Upset

    Almonds can seriously upset your cat's digestive system, even if she doesn't consume the nuts in quantities large enough to be dangerous. The ASPCA cautions that cats who consume almonds may have their digestive systems upset by the fats in the nuts. This can lead to vomiting or loose bowel movements. High levels of this type of fat consumption may lead to the development of pancreatitis as well.

    Salts and Other Toppings

    Almonds that are prepared to appeal to humans may be salted or covered in other toppings, such as chocolate. The consumption of excess salts can lead to the cat developing a condition called sodium ion toxicosis. This condition primarily occurs when a cat consumes too much salt without consuming enough water. In severe cases it may be fatal. Chocolate is considered toxic for cats.

    About the Author

    Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.

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