Of all the human foods my cats love, pretzels are right up there. I usually have some around as I enjoy pretzels, but can cats eat pretzels? Are they safe for kitties?
If your cat enjoys a pretzel, or if you’re thinking about sharing – here’s everything you need to know:
What’s in Pretzels – How Are They Made?
Have you ever taken the time to look at what and how pretzels are made? I know I didn’t before researching this article.
Pretzels are actually glazed and salted crackers. Not quite the crispy bread as I assumed they were.
Originating in Germany and thought to be one of, if not the oldest snack foods. They are made from dough, and it’s the process of treating them with a sodium hydroxide solution that gives pretzels their unique look and taste.
They are also coated with syrup, sugar, salt, and various other flavorings to give them different tastes.
Oh, and if you’re wondering why they are formed in that distinctive shape that looks like a knot;
According to wonderopolis.org, legend has it that pretzels were invented by monks all the way back in 610 A.D.
The monks folded the dough to resemble crossed arms of praying children and would give them to kids as a reward for learning their prayers.
Interesting, right! Now you have some new trivia to impress your friends with.
Related – Can cats eat goldfish crackers?
Are Pretzels Bad for Cats and Kittens?
First of all, the number one food we should all avoid giving to our cats is salt or sodium.
The good news is that pretzels typically contain fewer calories and less salt than most fried snacks. Especially if they are unsalted, of course.
While pretzels do not contain a good balance of nutrition like cat food, or even cat treats do, they’re not the worst snack food to let your kitty have a nibble on.
In small amounts – and as long as they’re unsalted – pretzels are fine. They’re not toxic, and will not do your kitty any harm.
Not only is this true from a scientific and nutritional standpoint, but I can tell you anecdotally from owning a cat that’s partial to a nibble on occasion that it’s fine.
My advice – just pick up a box of cat treats and keep those in the cupboard.
These, like the box of Temptations below available on Amazon are designed to curb your cat’s munchies and are much better for them.
A much better solution all around. You get to keep all your pretzels to yourself, and your cat gets to snack with you.
Why Is Salt So Bad for Cats?
As I mentioned above, the main concern when giving cats treat foods is always salt.
I’ve read numerous studies into the topic, and there is strong evidence that even a small amount of salt can cause hypertension in cats (and dogs).
It also causes them to drink more, urinate more, and there is a known risk of forming calcium oxalate uroliths crystals or stones.
Plenty of reasons to make sure you’re not adding salt to your cats diet in any way, shape or form!
They do require some sodium in their diet, of course. But this will be met at the appropriate level from their commercial cat food.
What Foods Are Dangerous for Cats?
While we’re on the topic of sharing foods and snacks with cats, I thought I’d run some of the worst past you.
According to PetMD, some of the most dangerous foods to give cats are:
Chocolate – Chocolate contains a compound that is particularly dangerous to cats. It can cause heart arrhythmias, seizures, and tremors.
Caffeine – No morning brews for your kitty. Caffeine can cause heart palpitations, tremors, rapid breathing, and some other issues.
Alcohol – Even small amounts of alcohol can be fatal to cats, so never leave out a glass you’ve been drinking from unattended.
Garlic and Onions – Members of the onion family contain compounds that affect the red blood cells in cats and can cause anemia.
Dairy products – Despite cats always being portrayed as enjoying a bowl of milk – which they do enjoy – dairy products are actually bad for cats. Cats become lactose intolerant as they age, so dairy products can cause stomach issues.
This isn’t a complete list, so it’s always a good idea to check before giving your cat a treat that hasn’t been specially formulated for them.
Trust me, I know how hard it is to resist those big begging eyes. I have two food monsters that literally pester me for a nibble of whatever I’m eating.
It’s always best to err on the side of caution though. Cats have complex dietary requirements and are prone to gastro issues or an upset stomach from so many of the foods we eat.
Related – Read more about foods that are safe (or not) on the blog here.
In Summary – Can Cats Eat Pretzels?
Cats can eat pretzels, yes. Also, they will happily eat or nibble on them if they get their paws on some. At least, I’ve never met a cat that was able to turn away a pretzel.
In small amounts, there aren’t any real issues. The problem mainly lies in the seasoning or flavoring on them.
If they are salted, seasoned, or loaded with syrup and other flavors – you know, the ones that are the tastiest to us – then you’re just better off keeping them to yourself.
There are plenty of kitty treats on the market that has been specifically designed to
How Pretzels are Made – MadeHow.com
Pet Food Safety – ncbi.gov
Image credits – Header photo by Mike Lorusso, pretzel photo by Daniel Schludi, and cat licking photo by dorina boegre on Unsplash