I love the smell and taste of freshly roasted sesame seeds on my morning bagel. It gives my bagel a nice toasty feel and the seeds have a nice crunch to it.
Sesame seeds also work well in many baked goods and dishes for their taste and health and dietary benefits.
It ain’t a hamburger bun until it has sesame seeds on it.
Given how domesticated cats are these days, many cat owners have a tendency to feed their cats human food as well. The lines have blurred between the cat being a cat first and being ‘humanized’ as part of the family.
I know of some cat parents that feed their cats sesame seeds as a dietary fiber and health supplement.
But can cats eat sesame seeds?
Are sesame seeds safe for cats to consume on a regular basis?
Read on before feeding your cat this seed.
Can Cats Eat Sesame Seeds?
Yes, cats can eat sesame seeds. There are no known reports of sesame seeds being toxic to cats. There are also some health benefits from eating raw sesame seeds. But some precautions need to be taken before feeding your cat sesame seeds.
Let us try to understand a little more about sesame seeds.
What Are Sesame Seeds?
Sesame seeds have been used in dishes for more than 5000 years and are used in many cuisines. The sesame seed comes from the sesame plant that is found mostly in tropical countries. The seeds grow in pods that burst open when the seeds mature.
Sesame seeds have a nutty flavor that borders on being sweet. The flavor can be further intensified by slightly roasting the seeds.
Different Sesame Products
Although many are familiar with sesame seeds as a condiment, there are other products that are from the seeds.
Sesame Seed Oil
Sesame oil is a popular ingredient that is used in Asian cooking. It has a very unique and fragrant taste that brings out the flavor of food. Sesame seed oil made for cooking is made from pressing raw sesame seeds to extract the oil in them.
Sesame seed oil that is made from roasted sesame seeds is a whole different oil altogether. It is not used as a cooking oil but more as a marinade or ingredient as the flavor profile is more intense.
Sesame paste is made from roasted black sesame seeds that produce a rich and creamy paste. The color of the paste might not be appetizing to some but it is popular as a dessert and sesame peanut butter.
Sesame Seed Benefits For Cats
Not only do sesame seeds taste great but they have a wide number of health benefits that might work for your cat.
A Good Source Of Fiber
Sesame seeds are a good source of fiber. 30 grams of the seeds will give you about 3.5g of fiber which is a decent amount.
Cats are obligate carnivores that thrive on a high protein diet from a meat source. They don’t require plant matter in their diet to survive. However, cats are known to chew on certain plants and grass for fiber and nutrients.
There are certain times when your cat might need more fiber in its diet.
Prone To Constipation Or Diarrhea
If your cat is always having issues with its bowel movements, please take it to the vet to make sure it is nothing serious. Like humans, some cats have a sensitive stomach that can lead to chronic constipation or diarrhea.
More fiber in your cat’s diet can help push the food through your cat’s digestive system to relieve constipation. Or fiber can also help to firm up your cat’s poo.
Weight Loss In Cats
A common weight loss tip is to eat more fiber and fruits. This is because they contain a higher amount of fiber which expands in your tummy and helps to keep you full for longer periods.
The same thing applies to cats who are overweight. Besides cutting down on their daily caloric intake, more fiber in your cat’s stomach will keep it satiated for longer periods.
Sesame seeds can be used to reduce inflammation. Chronic inflammation can lead to cancer, kidney diseases and heart ailments.
Sesamin which is a compound founding sesame seeds is said to be responsible for helping to reduce inflammation.
Support Healthy Bones
Sesame seeds are rich in calcium and mother minerals like zinc and magnesium. These minerals help to support and maintain healthy bones.
This can be good for older cats who have degenerative issues in their bones and in the cat’s joints.
Good Source Of Vitamin B
Sesame seeds are rich in vitamins B1, B3 and B6 which are essential nutrients for cats. This is good for cats as they are not able to produce vitamin B naturally.
Although we advocate a raw meat diet for cats, please do not feed your cat raw squid as it contains an enzyme that prevents the absorption of vitamin B in cats. This can have a negative effect on your cat’s health.
Support Red Blood Cell Formation
Sesame seeds contain zinc, copper and vitamin B6 that help with the formation of red blood cells.
This can be beneficial for cats that are anemic or have blood disorders to provide healthy blood circulation.
A Stronger Immune System
Eating sesame seeds can help give cats a stronger immune system. This is due to the rich content of essential minerals and nutrients in the seeds.
This is good for cats with autoimmune diseases like FELV and FIV where it is very important to boost their immune systems to keep them healthy.
How Much Sesame Seeds To Give My Cat?
There are no stipulated guidelines when it comes to the correct amount of sesame seeds to give your cat. But like with all new additions to my cat’s diet, I will start off with a very small quantity to see how my cat likes it and to monitor for any adverse reactions.
How To Prepare Sesame Seeds For My Cat?
If possible, try to get organic sesame seeds to feed your cat as it is from a better source. If the seeds are not pre-soaked when you buy them, make sure to soak them in water overnight before feeding your cat.
This is to remove the oxalic acid found in sesame seeds that can prevent the absorption of the nutrients.
I would suggest that you pound or grind up the seeds before feeding your cat. The seeds are rather small and can get stuck in your cat’s teeth or mouth. By grinding up the seeds, you can just sprinkle them over your cat’s food.
Can Cats Eat Sesame Oil?
Given that sesame oil is produced from sesame seeds, it is considered safe for feline consumption. The thing is that a cat’s digestive system doesn’t handle oil too well. This is why feeding your cat too much butter isn’t a good thing.
Too much fat and oil in your cat’s diet can cause vomiting, diarrhea and digestive issues. If you wish to feed your cat sesame seeds, it’s best to feed the seed itself.
Can Cats Eat Sunflower Seeds?
Yes, cats can eat sunflower seeds as the sunflower plant is classified as being non-toxic to cats by the ASPCA. Make sure to remove the shell and just feed your cat the kernel. Avoid any type of marinated sunflower seeds and stick to their original form.
Can Cats Eat Poppy Seeds?
Cats should not be eating poppy seeds as they can be toxic to cats. Although it has been rumored to have health and medicinal benefits, it is still considered toxic food for cats. Your cat can experience mild euphoric symptoms as poppy seeds contain opium alkaloids.
Symptoms include dizziness, drooling, vomiting and in some serious cases, death.
What Other Seeds Can Cats Eat?
Besides sesame and sunflower seeds, there are a couple of other seeds that are considered non-toxic for cats.
- Chia seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
These seeds are rich in nutrients, fatty acids and minerals which are beneficial to your cat’s health.
What Seeds Are Toxic To Cats?
Besides poppy seeds which can be fatal for cats, here are some other seeds that you should never ever feed your cat.
- Seeds from citrus fruits (lemon, oranges, grapefruit)
- Seeds from grapes
- Coffee beans
- Cocao seeds
These food types are extremely toxic to cats and can cause a number of life-threatening side effects in your cat. If your cat has eaten any of the above, bring it to the vet immediately for treatment.
Even though there are seeds like cumin seeds that might not be toxic to cats, they might not necessarily serve any health benefits to cats.
There is no denying that sesame seeds are very rich in nutrients and minerals which have many health benefits for humans. These health benefits may help your cat as well. Do note that a cat’s biology system is very different from a human hence they might process sesame seeds differently.
In general, sesame seeds seem to be safe for cats. The best option if you do plan to feed your cat as a dietary supplement is to have a chat with your vet before doing so.