The cat sniffs sesame seeds dropped from smoked sausage slices

Can Cats Eat Sesame Seeds?

Sesame seeds, those tiny, nutty-flavored gems adorning your bagel or sprinkled on stir-fries, might pique your cat’s curiosity.

But before sharing your sesame-sprinkled snack, you might wonder: Can cats eat sesame seeds?

The good news: sesame seeds are not toxic to cats. However, that doesn’t automatically make them a healthy or ideal snack for your cat.

Why Sesame Seeds Might Not Be the Purrfect Treat?

While sesame seeds aren’t toxic to cats, they’re not exactly the ideal feline snack. Here’s why:

1. Digestive Difficulty:

While sesame seeds contain some nutrients like protein, fiber, and minerals, they also have high fat and oil content.

This can be challenging for a cat’s digestive system to handle, potentially leading to upset stomach, diarrhea, or vomiting.

Cats are obligate carnivores, so their digestive systems are optimized for digesting meat and animal protein. Sesame seeds, while not toxic, can be difficult for cats to digest properly, potentially leading to gastrointestinal upset.

Dr. Elizabeth Freeman, a veterinary nutritionist at VCA Animal Hospitals

2. Choking Hazard:

Sesame seeds are small and can easily get lodged in a cat’s throat, especially for kittens or older cats with weaker teeth.

3. Allergy Potential:

Although rare, some cats can develop allergic reactions to sesame seeds, causing skin irritation, itching, or respiratory issues.

4. Nutritional Imbalance:

While sesame seeds offer some nutrients, they lack the essential amino acids and vitamins cats require for optimal health.

Should You Completely Ban Sesame Seeds?

While it’s best to avoid offering sesame seeds as a regular treat, a few accidental nibbles here and there shouldn’t cause any major harm.

If you’re baking or cooking with sesame seeds, keep an eye on your cat and ensure they don’t sneak any large amounts.

Safer Alternatives for Your Feline Foodie:

Instead of sesame seeds, consider these cat-friendly snacks:

1. Commercial cat treats:

Look for treats specifically designed for cats, which are formulated to meet their nutritional needs.

2. Small pieces of cooked chicken or turkey:

Cooked lean meats are a great source of protein for cats.

3. Tuna packed in water:

Tuna in water is a healthy and tasty treat for most cats, but offer it in moderation due to its high mercury content.

4. Catnip:

This herb is a safe and natural stimulant for most cats, providing a playful boost.


While not inherently toxic, sesame seeds are not the best snack option for cats.

Their digestive systems are geared towards meat-based protein, and the seeds pose potential digestibility and choking risks.


Can sesame seeds get stuck in my cat’s teeth?

Yes, they can. The small size and hard texture of sesame seeds make them a choking hazard and increase the risk of getting lodged in teeth or gums.

Can I give my cat sesame oil?

While sesame oil isn’t toxic to cats, it’s best to avoid giving it to them. It’s high in fat and can lead to digestive upset.

Are there any other seeds that are safe for cats?

Yes, some seeds, like pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and cardamom, can be beneficial for cats in moderation.

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