Pretzels are a very popular snack and since they aren’t fried or usually covered in a ton of seasonings, they are also slightly healthier than snacks like potato chips.
For humans, they are addicting. For cats, they are a curiosity, and some cats may take a lick or a bite or even outright steal one! If this happens to you, should you worry about it? Can cats eat salted pretzels?
Short answer: if the pretzel is a plain pretzel with only a very small amount of salt and your cat only eats a bit once in a while, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about and cats can eat them. On the other hand, if your salted pretzel is heavily salted or has other ingredients like garlic powder, cats should stay far away and never eat them.
Do Cats Like Salted Pretzels?
It’s hard to say whether a cat will like salted pretzels or not. None of my cats have ever shown much interest, but then they don’t care much for the food we humans eat anyway. Other cats have been known to sniff, lick, and even steal pretzels, so it really depends on a cat’s personality.
Cats may like salted pretzels for two reasons: the salt, which cats crave just like humans, though should have in far smaller amounts, and the crunchy texture, which many cats quite enjoy.
Pretzels may also be fun for some cats to bat around and chase since they don’t fall apart easily. So, there could be any number of reasons why your cat goes for pretzels!
Do Cats Hate Salted Pretzels?
It’s unlikely that any cat hates salted pretzels, but many of them will be utterly indifferent to them. Plenty of cats really don’t care what their humans are eating and while they’ll hang out with their humans, they won’t really try to eat their food.
Can Eating Salted Pretzels Kill My Cat?
The basic baked pretzel has a pretty short ingredient list: wheat flour, water, yeast, shortening, and salt. None of these things are harmful to cats in moderation or in small amounts, so it’s pretty unlikely that eating salted pretzels would kill your cat (barring a freak choking incident).
This assumes however that your cat is having plain, only barely salted pretzels. The risks skyrocket with more “exotic” pretzels.
You should never feed your cat pretzels that have the following:
- Garlic powder (very toxic to cats and it doesn’t take much)
- Onion Powder (also very toxic to cats and again, doesn’t take much)
- A lot of salt (well talk about that in a minute)
- Chocolate (toxic)
- Xylitol (artificial sweetener, very toxic to cats)
Basically, if a cat is going to eat pretzels, it should only be plain, barely salted pretzels. Avoid giving cats dessert pretzels (they wouldn’t be able to taste the sweetness anyway) or flavored pretzels.
One of the big dangers of pretzels is the salt content. Salt is required by cats to be healthy, just as it’s required by pretty well most mammals, but cats really don’t require very much salt (i.e. sodium) to be healthy. And because cats are smaller and have less body weight, it doesn’t take much at all to tip the scales from healthy to dangerously unhealthy.
Sodium poisoning can happen to cats and when it does, it can be extremely unhealthy or even fatal and will require a trip to the vet to deal with.
Symptoms of sodium poisoning include:
- Excessive thirst or urination
- Decreased appetite
- Tremors and Seizures
- Lack of coordination
Now, most of your average pretzel is not going to trigger this in a cat – cats don’t need a lot of sodium in their diet, but they can absorb some excess and it can even be used to prompt cats to drink more water. But a pretzel that is coated in salt should not be given to a cat (and for that matter, a human!)
Assuming you are letting your cat have the occasional piece of a plain pretzel with only a scattering of salt on it, you probably don’t have anything to worry about.
The grains found in pretzels won’t hurt most cats (unless they have an allergy of course) and the crunchy snack often makes cats happy. The bit of salt can even be beneficial in that it provokes cats to drink more water and of course, they do need some sodium to be healthy.
How Many Salted Pretzels Can I Feed My Cat?
Pretzels should only be enjoyed as a treat or a snack by a cat and that means that it shouldn’t be more than between five and ten percent of their diet.
In other words, the standard sort of house cat weighing in at ten pounds needs about 200-290 calories per day (depending on age and activity level) and a pretzel has eleven calories. So, a ten-pound cat should really have no more than two pretzels a day.
However, you have to look at a cat’s health in terms of more than just calories. While pretzels are a low-calorie snack, you don’t want to let your cat have them too much or too often, or else they will come to expect them and may try to put off eating their own food in favor of your snacks!
So, we’d recommend that you only let your cat have a part of a pretzel once in a while (say less than once a week), just to prevent your cat from expecting to be able to eat them all the time. Salted pretzels should be treated as a treat, not as part of their diet.
Salted pretzels are probably one of the least hazardous human foods a cat can eat, aside from plainly cooked meat and assuming they don’t have a lot of salt. There’s nothing in a plain pretzel that harms cats and plenty of them like the crunchy texture and the flavor.
So, if your cat likes to nibble on a pretzel once in a while during movie night, you can relax and let them enjoy their snack. If it’s the first time your cat has ever had a pretzel, we’d recommend keeping an eye on it for a day or two after, just to make sure it agreed with them, but otherwise, enjoy your pretzel buddy!
Does your cat like to eat salted pretzels? Mine have never shown any interest, but apparently, they are in the minority!
Pam is a self-confessed cat lover and has experience of working with cats and owning cats for as long as she can remember. This website is where she gets to share her knowledge and interact with other cat lovers.