The cat licking pesto on bread

Can Cats Eat Pesto?

Pesto, that vibrant green sauce bursting with basil and Parmesan, is a human culinary delight.

But what about our furry companions? Can cats share in this deliciousness?

Quick Answer:

No, pesto is not safe for cats. While the occasional lick of pesto might not cause immediate harm, feeding it to your cat is not advisable.

Why Pesto is a No-Go for Felines:

While tempting, pesto is absolutely not safe for cats due to several key ingredients:

1. Garlic and Onion

These aromatic veggies, while harmless to humans, pack a punch for felines. Even small amounts can damage red blood cells, leading to anemia.

2. Pine Nuts

While not inherently toxic, pine nuts can cause digestive upset in some cats, resulting in vomiting and diarrhea.

3. Cheese

While many cats love a cheesy treat, the high lactose content in Parmesan can be difficult for their systems to digest, leading to stomach issues.

4. Salt and Spices

Commercial pestos often contain high levels of salt, exceeding what’s safe for feline kidneys. Additionally, some spices, like nutmeg and oregano, can be harmful in large quantities.

5. Hidden Hazards

Depending on the recipe, pesto may contain other less common ingredients like nuts (particularly macadamia nuts, which are toxic to cats) or preservatives, further adding to the potential risks.

Potential Health Hazards

While a tiny taste of pesto might not cause immediate harm, there are potential consequences:

Upset stomach

Gastrointestinal issues like vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain are common after ingesting ingredients like garlic, salt, or lactose.

Gastrointestinal distress

Pancreatitis, a serious inflammation of the pancreas, can be triggered by pine nuts.


Garlic poisoning can lead to red blood cell damage and anemia, causing weakness and fatigue.

Dehydration and electrolyte imbalance

Excessive salt intake can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, potentially requiring veterinary intervention.


While the aroma of pesto might beckon your furry friend, remember that its ingredients can be harmful to feline health.

So, the next time you whip up a batch of pesto, resist the urge to share it with your cat.

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