Cats should not eat pistachios. Although they aren’t considered toxic to cats, they can pose a risk.
If they eat many pistachios, at the minimum it may cause them some temporary indigestion.
Worst case scenario, it could cause sodium poisoning if the pistachios are salted, or an intestinal blockage if they eat a pistachio shell, both of which can be deadly.
ARE PISTACHIOS TOXIC TO MY CAT?
Pistachios are not considered toxic or poisonous to cats. However, salt can be toxic to cats, so if your cat eats a large number of salted pistachios, it can be toxic to them.
ARE PISTACHIOS HARMFUL TO CATS?
Pistachios can be harmful if many are ingested, for the following reasons:
1) PISTACHIOS ARE HIGH IN FAT
Pistachios are high in fat, which make them harder for your cat to digest, and may cause gas and bloating. If your cat eats pistachios frequently, the high levels of fat can lead to obesity, or worse yet, pancreatitis, which can be a fatal disease and will require a vet visit to diagnose and treat.
2) PISTACHIOS ARE HIGH IN FIBER
Although your cat needs fiber in their diet, pistachios offer too much fiber for their small digestive system. Too much fiber can give your cat diarrhea and also decrease their ability to digest other nutrients.
3) PISTACHIOS MAY BE SALTED AND/OR FLAVOURED
The pistachios may also be salted. Although some sodium is an essential mineral in a cat’s diet, too much salt can be especially harmful to cats with kidney, liver, or heart disease. It can also cause sodium poisoning in healthy cats, which can lead to vomiting, seizures, or death.
Some pistachios are also be seasoned with garlic and/or onion powder. Garlic and onions are Alliums, which can be toxic to cats.
4) PISTACHIO SHELLS CAN CAUSE BLOCKAGES
Pistachio shells cannot be easily digested by a cat’s stomach, so if they eat those, they may throw them up, which could damage their esophagus due to the hard and potentially sharp shells.
Best case scenario, your cat will poop out the pistachio shell. Worst case, if your cat doesn’t throw them up, the shells may cause a blockage in their intestinal tract, which will require surgery.
5) PISTACHIOS MAY HAVE MOLD
Pistachios can contain aflatoxins, a toxin produced by mold. Aflatoxins at higher levels can cause illness, liver damage, and death in cats (source).
CAN CATS EAT PISTACHIO PUDDING?
A cat should not eat pistachio pudding. Although pistachio pudding doesn’t have hard shells and may even use artificial pistachio flavouring, it will likely be too high in fat and sodium for a cat, and has several other ingredients that aren’t suitable for your cat to ingest.
Pistachio pudding can be made using a variety of ingredients, and typically includes heavy cream and sugar, ingredients your cat shouldn’t eat. Adult cats are lactose intolerant. Some cats can tolerate milk in small doses, but most won’t be able to digest it, which can lead to an upset stomach, diarrhea, or vomiting.
Cats actually can’t taste sugar, so they don’t crave it like humans do, but it should not be in their diet. Your cat should especially not be given anything with sugar as an ingredient if they’re diabetic, which many cats these days are, likely due to the high-carbohydrate cat foods that are mass produced.
Jell-o instant pistachio pudding is made by combining the mixture with milk (as mentioned, is not easy for your cat to digest). It’s also full of artificial flavors and colors that humans shouldn’t even be ingesting, let alone a cat.
CAN CATS EAT PISTACHIO ICE CREAM?
A cat should not eat pistachio ice cream. Even if it’s not made with real pistachios, ice cream contains cream and a lot of sugar.
Even if the ice cream is made from coconut milk/cream, it will be hard for your cat to digest. Cats are carnivores, so their digestive systems have a hard time digesting plant proteins.
CAN KITTENS EAT PISTACHIOS?
Kittens should absolutely not eat pistachios. For all the reasons an adult cat should not eat pistachios, plus, a kitten’s digestive system is not fully developed. Kittens also don’t have teeth, or fully developed teeth, so there’s even a greater risk of a pistachio being a choking hazard, even with the shell off.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR CAT EATS A PISTACHIO
If your cat ate a small number of pistachios (as in, one or two fell on the floor and you saw them eat the nuts) without the shells on, they should be fine. Keep an eye on your cat to ensure they don’t show any changes in appetite or behavior, and that they’re still using the litter box as normal.
If you’ve left a bag of pistachios out and you’re not sure how many your cat has eaten, keep a very close eye on them. Immediately call your veterinarian if you see any change in behavior, change in appetite, vomiting, blood in their stool, or change in their litter box behavior.
It will be important to get an x-ray taken if your cat has eaten any pistachio shells to be sure there isn’t a blockage. An intestinal blockage is a serious and urgent matter, it can lead to death if not treated right away, and will likely require surgery to resolve.
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