Can Cats Eat Almonds or Are They Poison?

Can cats eat almonds

An almond, while not quite a superfood, is one of the healthiest foods we can eat. Naturally, many of the healthy foods we enjoy we want to share with our pets.

However, we look at cats, and their differences from us seem to indicate insurmountable differences when it comes to feeding them what we eat. So, can cats eat almonds? If so, are there certain forms that are safer for the feline system than others?

Can Cats Eat Almonds?

According to the ASPCA, sweets almonds are not toxic to pets! On the other hand, bitter almonds contain a cyanide compound and it’s considered toxic. But most of the time, the bitter almonds are not sold in the United States.

Generally, you should avoid giving your cat almonds. Even in small amounts, they may be toxic to cats. Poisonous or not, almonds prove problematic in most scenarios that involve feeding them to our feline friends.

Almonds contain a toxic substance.

Almonds contain a small amount of a chemical class, cyanogenic glycosides. These natural substances are also present in peach and plum pits.

As the name implies, cyanogenic glycosides cause the formation or genesis of cyanide in the body. Cyanide poisoning causes an impaired ability of the red blood cells to carry oxygen {1}. You may notice dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, and bright red gums.

Checking mucous membranes for dogs and cats is basically the same.

Commercial sweet almonds have about 25.2 milligrams of cyanide per kilogram or 2.2 pounds {2}. For humans, about 1.5 milligrams of ingested cyanide per kilogram of body weight is a potentially lethal dose.

Cats seem to be able to tolerate higher concentrations of cyanide but for a much lower time frame. Do not forget how small they are compared to humans. Extrapolating direct figures to a cat who may weigh 10 pounds, under 7mg of cyanide could be fatal.

The chances your cat will ingest enough almonds to be lethal is very slim. However, if you give your furry friend a small number of almonds, you are still poisoning her a little. And what if you give her a bit every day? Hollywood has this one correct – cyanide toxicity is cumulative.

Salted nuts are detrimental to the health of pets.

Many times almonds come as salted snacks. Your cat may not crunch down on a bunch of these morsels. He may very well lick the salt off though.

Cats are more sensitive to sodium imbalances than we are. This is partly because of their small sizes but also due to their lower total salt requirements. The average cat needs about 0.8 grams of sodium per kilogram of body weight.

Revisiting our 10-pound cat, she needs 3,600 milligrams of sodium per day. We, humans, need 4,000 to 7,000 milligrams of sodium per day {4}. As you can see, your cat actually requires more salt than you according to body weight. Nevertheless, she will have more adverse reactions to exceeding her RDA.

Less than a handful of salted almonds can have as much as 660mg of sodium. This would be over 15% of an average cat’s daily allowance of salt.

While you may worry about higher blood pressure from excess dietary sodium, your cat can suffer from salt toxicity. Signs may include a few or all of the following:

  • Vomiting and anorexia
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargic
  • Neurologic – incoordination, tremors, seizures, or coma
  • Excessive thirst and urination

Almonds are commonly coated with other flavors that may be toxic to cats such as chocolate.

Almonds wreak digestive havoc on cats.

We all know cats do not chew their food very well. Moreover, we do not give them beads or marbles because we know they could choke on them.

Almond has a hard and dry surface and is difficult for a carnivore to maneuver within its mouth. A cat has shearing teeth with minimal crushing activity. Add to this the cat’s relative largemouth size in relation to its throat, and almond could cause catastrophic airway or esophageal obstruction.

Cats are not only unequipped to chew almonds, their digestive systems do not break them down well. However, this phenomenon limits the amount of cyanide that the almonds can release. Cats can still suffer from a sensitive stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Finally, if a cat somehow eats an almond whole, it could enter the small intestine intact and cause an obstruction.

Is Almond Milk Bad for Cats?

So you think you found a loophole for both dairy-based milk and almonds? Can cats drink almond milk? What about kittens? They drink milk, right? Can kittens drink almond milk instead of cow’s milk?

Typically almond milk does not contain many almonds. By the time all is said and done, an ounce of almond milk contains an estimated 0.25 milligrams of cyanide per ounce if the manufacturer used bitter almonds. It will have much less than that with the almost universal sweet almonds.

almond milk

Can cats eat almond milk? Once in a blue moon, almond milk may be okay for your cat to drink in minute quantities. I personally would not allow my cat to drink anything with potential toxicity.

We are especially concerned because cyanide toxicity can build in the system with persistent exposure.

Even assuming a small amount of almond milk is safe, cyanogenic glycosides are not the only ingredients you must worry about. Almond milk is made from plant proteins that your cat cannot utilize.

No matter how easy almond milk may be for you to digest, it can cause digestive upset in your carnivorous friend. He may be lactose-intolerant, but almond milk may not do him any favors either.

Why take a chance on causing the development of hypersensitivity over a food type that is of no nutritional value?

Food with low palatability does not sell well. Manufacturers of almond milk usually add a significant amount of sugar to get rid of its bitterness. This could be bad for cats, as they appear to suffer from insulin resistance much like you and me.


Any chance that your cat would ingest sufficient almonds in either raw form or processed milk to poison itself is remote. However, like most human foods, we do not recommend feeding almonds to cats.

Although almonds are not poisonous to cats but it’s not something that can benefits the cat if you includes it in your cat diet. So, here are my suggestions:

  • Keep almonds away from your cat as they contain small amounts of cyanide-producing substances.
  • Avoid whole almonds and large pieces because they are hard to chew.
  • Do not feed your cat plant proteins.
  • There are few almonds in the milk, but your cat may be able to consume more in this form than by eating them.
  • Do not feed almonds because of harmful additives like salt, sugar, or chocolate.

Please comment if you have any questions or experiences with cats consuming almonds.