Can Cats Eat Walnuts? (Risks & Vet Suggestions)
No, cats should not be fed walnuts. Walnuts contain high levels of fat and protein, both of which can cause gastrointestinal upset and even lead to pancreatitis in cats if consumed in large amounts.
In addition, the hard shells can be a choking hazard or obstructive if swallowed by cats. Walnuts are also known to have compounds such as thujone and anethole, which can cause vomiting, nausea, or seizures in cats. Therefore, it is best to avoid feeding walnuts to cats.
So here in this blog post, I’ll discuss in detail why cats should not consume walnuts and how you can keep them safe from potential hazards. I’ll also be discussing signs to look out for if your cat has accidentally eaten some walnuts, which can help you take quick action.
What Do Different Studies Say about Walnuts and Cats?
Studies have shown that cats should not eat walnuts as they can be potentially toxic to them. Many pet owners might not realize that walnuts contain a compound called juglone, which is toxic for cats and can lead to an array of health issues, such as vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy, and seizures.
A study by the University of California in Davis found that walnuts contain high levels of juglone, especially in their hulls. They also found that if consumed in large enough quantities, juglone can be very harmful and even fatal to cats.
Juglone prevents cells from getting rid of waste products and results in organ failure if it has been ingested in large amounts. It can also cause liver dysfunction and damage other organs if ingested in smaller amounts over time. Additionally, the authors noted that some breeds of cats may be more sensitive to the effects of juglone than others.
Another study conducted by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison showed similar findings regarding juglone’s toxicity towards cats.
The authors noted that while there have been anecdotal reports describing the adverse effects associated with the consumption of walnuts by pets such as cats, there had yet to be any scientific evidence or studies showing this correlation until now.
The study went on to strongly recommend that pet owners avoid feeding their animals any kind of nuts due to the potential toxicity related to juglone poisoning.
You may also find interesting to read: Can Cats Eat Almonds?
Why Your Cats Shouldn’t Eat Walnuts? (Explained)
As previously mentioned, walnuts contain juglone, which can be toxic to cats. Additionally, the hard shells of walnuts can also be a choking hazard or obstructive if swallowed by cats.
Here I’ll try to explain more why cats should not eat walnuts.
1. Walnuts Contain High Levels of Fat and Protein
Walnuts contain high levels of fat and protein, both of which can cause gastrointestinal upset and even lead to pancreatitis in cats if consumed in large amounts. A study by the University of California in Davis found that walnuts contain high levels of fat and protein, which can be harmful to cats if ingested.
2. Walnuts Contain Compounds Such as Thujone and Anethole
Walnuts also contain compounds such as thujone and anethole, which can cause vomiting, nausea, or seizures in cats. The University of Wisconsin-Madison study confirmed this finding, noting that these compounds are toxic to cats when ingested in large amounts.
3. Walnuts Can Be a Choking Hazard
Finally, the tough outer shells of walnuts are impenetrable, much like the solid husks of pistachios can also be a choking hazard or obstructive if swallowed by cats. This means that even if your cat only consumes small amounts of walnuts, it can still be at risk of choking or having an obstruction in its intestines.
You may also find interesting to read: Can Cats Eat Peanuts?
Different Types of Walnuts and Your Cat’s Safety
Now that you know the dangers of feeding cats walnuts, it is important to be aware that not all types of walnuts are created equal.
The University of California Davis study found that black walnuts and English/Persian walnuts tend to contain higher levels of juglone than other types such as white or butternut walnuts.
This means that it is still possible for cats to consume small amounts of white or butternut walnuts without experiencing any adverse effects, although it is still not recommended.
Overall, it is best to avoid feeding cats any type of walnuts due to the potential for toxicity or choking hazards.
You can also read about our guide on: Can Cats Eat Hazelnuts?
Signs To Lookout If Your Cat Has Eaten Walnuts
I know how hard it is to resist those cute eyes and even harder when they’re looking right at the snacks in your hand. However, if you suspect that your cat may have ingested walnuts or any other type of nut, it is important to monitor them closely for any signs of toxicity.
Some of the most common signs of juglone toxicity in cats include:
If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to take your cat to the vet as soon as possible. The vet can then assess the situation and provide treatment if necessary.
My Cat Ate Walnuts – Will He Be Okay?
If your cat has eaten walnuts, it is important to monitor them closely for any signs of toxicity. Since different types of walnuts contain varying levels of juglone, it can be difficult to predict how your cat may react.
But I can assure you that if your cat just eat one or two walnuts and didn’t have trouble digesting them, there is a good chance that it will be fine and nothing to worry about.
However, it is still important to keep an eye out for any signs of toxicity or distress as described above. If you notice anything off with your cat, take him to the veterinarian right away.
A Vet’s Suggestions about Walnuts and Cats
Dr. Jeff Seay a veterinarian at the Well Pets Veterinary Clinic, recently published an article on the potential dangers of walnuts to cats. According to Dr. Jeff Seay, walnuts are not only toxic to cats but they can also cause serious medical complications including an upset stomach, inflammation of the pancreas and liver damage.
Dr. Jeff Seay suggests that pet owners should avoid giving their cats any type of nuts in general as many varieties of nuts can be toxic to felines such as pecans and walnuts which are especially dangerous for cats.
While some nuts may contain beneficial vitamins and minerals for humans, this is not true for cats who do not have the same digestive system as we do. Furthermore, most commercial cat foods already contain sufficient amounts of these vitamins and minerals so adding additional sources is unnecessary and potentially even detrimental to your cat’s health.
In addition to being potentially deadly for our feline friends, walnuts can also cause other medical issues in cats such as vomiting and diarrhea due to the high-fat content of the nut itself. The fatty acids found in walnuts can cause an imbalance in the natural enzymes found in a cat’s body leading to painful digestive problems if ingested over time.
Additionally, if a cat begins eating more walnuts than it should it could lead to obesity due to its high-calorie content which would put additional strain on their already fragile bodies resulting in other associated health risks such as diabetes or joint pain from being overweight.
For these reasons, Dr. Jeff Seay recommends that pet owners take extra precautions when feeding their furry family members treats or snacks containing nuts or seeds such as walnuts.
He suggests always consulting with your vet prior to introducing any new food into your pet’s diet so you can make an informed decision on what is best for them based on any existing medical conditions or allergies they may have along with considering any dietary restrictions recommended by your vet in order keep your feline friend safe and healthy!
Treatments for Juglone Poisoning in Cats
If your cat has ingested walnuts and shows any of the signs of poisoning listed above, it is important to take them to the vet as soon as possible. The vet can then assess the situation and provide treatment if necessary.
Treatment for juglone poisoning in cats may involve administering activated charcoal to absorb the toxins, administering intravenous fluids to flush out the toxins from their system, and providing supportive care such as medications for pain and vomiting if necessary.
If left untreated, juglone toxicity can lead to severe health complications or even death so it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible if you suspect your cat has ingested walnuts or any other type of nut.
How to Prevent Your Cat from Eating Walnuts?
Here I’ll outline some steps you can take to help ensure your cat is safe from the health risks posed by walnuts and other toxic nuts.
1. Keep Walnuts Out of Reach
Keep all walnuts, and any other type of nut, out of reach from your cats. Store them in a place where your feline friend can’t access them such as in an upper cupboard or pantry. You may also want to consider storing them in a container with an airtight lid just to be extra safe.
2. Monitor Treats and Snacks
Be sure to keep an eye on any treats or snacks you give your cat, making sure there are no nuts present in them. If you’re unsure about the ingredients of a particular product do some research beforehand so you can make an informed decision prior to giving it to your pet.
3. Educate Yourself and Your Family
Educate yourself and your family members on the dangers of nuts to cats so everyone is aware of the potential risks. It’s also a good idea to go over this information with anyone else who may come in contact with your cats such as friends or relatives to make sure they know the risks as well.
By taking these precautions you can help ensure your feline friend stays safe and healthy while also avoiding any potential health risks associated with ingesting walnuts or other toxic nuts.
My Final Thoughts
Walnuts, or any other type of nut, can be extremely dangerous for cats if ingested in large amounts.
Be sure to take the necessary steps outlined above to help reduce the risk of your cat being poisoned by walnuts and make sure you consult with your vet prior to giving them any new treats or snacks.
With these precautions in place, you can help ensure your cat is safe and healthy while still being able to enjoy the occasional treat or snack.
Thanks for reading! I hope this article has helped you better understand the risks of walnuts to cats as well as the steps you can take to keep your furry family member safe. Happy pet parenting!