Can Cats Eat Pretzels?

Cats love to sneak our food, which can lead to owners asking questions like can cats eat pretzels? Are these crunchy treats safe for cats? Leean all about cats and pretzels in this quick guide.

Danielle DeGroot

Last Updated: May 25, 2023 | 8 min read

Gray British cat with yellow eyes eating sausage salami

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A bowl of crunchy, salty pretzels can be the perfect afternoon snack, and cats will come running when owners crack open that pretzel bag. It is common for cats to be curious about what their owners are eating, but sometimes cats develop a taste for certain foods. Feline owners constantly question whether something is safe for their pets to eat. Some may wonder, can cats eat pretzels?

Pretzels may not be at the top of the list of foods people are concerned about their cats eating, but as with any human food, it is important to know whether a food is safe or poses a significant health risk to a pet. Kitties may enjoy licking the salt on these twisty treats or batting them around the floor as playthings.

These snacks are savory and salty, two things that purr babies really like. Our feline companions are always interested in what we eat just because we are eating it. We take a look at cats and pretzels to learn more about if cats can eat pretzels if they are good for them, and more in this quick guide.

What Are Pretzels?

Pretzels, when referred to as a snack food, are a crunchy treat made from wheat flour and other ingredients, including yeast, water, sugar, salt, and leavening agents. There are two versions, hard and soft. The soft version is baked from similar ingredients into a puffy, brown-crusted bread treat. These are often served with mustard, cheese, and beer. They also come in the sweet variety and are tossed in butter sugar, cinnamon, frosting, and other sweet toppers.

Crunchy ones come salted and plain, as well as dipped in chocolate and coated in cheese. There are several flavor varieties available. This food comes in the traditional twisted shape, in rods, sticks, circles, and special shapes. They are a part of many snack and bar mixes and are used in many ways in the culinary world. Pretzel sandwich buns are incredibly popular, and take that juicy burger up a notch.

Can Cats Eat Pretzels?

The short answer is yes. Cats can eat these in strict moderation. There are also limits to the variety they can eat. Felines should not eat doughy, soft kinds of pretzels. A bit of plain dough may be safe as long as it is cooked thoroughly. However, soft ones tend to be dipped in butter and loaded up with hefty coarse salt kernels. While not necessarily toxic, this is not a very healthy food to feed a kitty. Crunchy ones, plain or lightly salted, are okay as an occasional snack. Purr babies may even enjoy crunching through the rigid texture.

As with any human food, though eating a few pretzels might be okay for a feline, this is only something they should ever be fed in moderation and under close supervision. There are some risks associated with this food, and owners need to be aware of this to keep their pets safe. It is never advisable to regularly feed your pet, feline, canine, bird, rodent, snake, etc., or human snack foods regularly. They often contain lots of artificial ingredients, flavorings, and spices that can be hard for animals to digest and, in some cases, toxic.

Can Cats Eat Pretzel Sticks?

Cats can eat pretzel sticks as long as they are not too hard. You do not want them to become a choking hazard or hurt your cat’s mouth. Your cat may enjoy gnawing on a pretzel stick, and they will break down quickly once they start licking and chewing on them.

Are Pretzels Safe For Cats?

Pretzels are generally safe for felines because they do not typically contain ingredients that are toxic to them. That being said, some are dipped in things like chocolate, which is toxic to cats, and may contain artificial sweeteners, particularly xylitol, which are extremely harmful to felines to ingest. Also, snacks coated in things like cheese powder, mustard powder, caramel, and other toppers may contain toxic ingredients. Those that are part of snack mixes are probably not a good idea, as they have been in a bag with many other ingredients, some of which may not be the best choice for kitties.

One of the biggest concerns with kitties and this snack food is that they might become a choking hazard. Most will start to break down into a softer texture once they are in a cat’s mouth and manipulated just a little bit. However, some varieties can pose significant choking potential. A piece of a broken pretzel may get stuck in a cat’s throat or cause minor injury to the mouth and airway. Larger varieties, like rods, should probably not be given to cats. Because of the potential for choking hazards, it is only safe to give your cat a pretzel when you supervise them the entire time.

Saying that eating a pretzel is safe for a cat does not mean that they should be fed a bowl of pretzels. This means that an occasional bite or two is okay but not something that should become part of any feline’s regular diet. They do not generally contain any harmful ingredients, but they do not do much nutritionally for kitties.

Can Cats Eat Pretzels With Salt

Cats can eat hard pretzels with salt in moderation. Though salt poisoning can be a significant problem for felines, it’s highly unlikely they would develop this from eating this snack. On the other hand, a cat licking the crumbs and salt dust from the bottom of the bag may need a trip to the vet just to ensure everything is okay. Overeating salt may trigger extensive thirst in your feline, so make sure there is always plenty of fresh water around.

Are Pretzels Bad For Cats?

Ginger fluffy cat sniffing a chocolate cake with mini pretzels
Be careful with kitties and pretzels because the ingredients they might be dipped in (like chocolate) could be unsafe.

Pretzels, in extreme moderation, are not bad for kitties, but that does not mean they are good for them, either. Some contain artificial ingredients like the sweetener xylitol, which is incredibly toxic for felines. Others may contain ingredients like onion, garlic, and other poisonous compounds to kitties. Plain, salted ones are safe under close supervision, but certain kinds can pose a choking risk.

Felines who have overeaten salt or may be experiencing toxicity or poison will start to behave differently. They may experience digestive upset, restlessness, weakness, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, seizures, distended stomach, lethargy, extreme thirst, lack of appetite, and disorientation. If your kitty has gotten into human snack foods and is behaving out of character shortly afterward, keeping a close eye on them is wise. Look for any signs that they have consumed something they should not have. If symptoms persist or seem to worsen, it is best to contact your vet for advice. They can talk you through the situation and help determine if your pet needs emergency treatment or can wait to come in for an exam.

Human foods and felines are always tricky because every cat has different sensitivities and reactions to things. Just because one cat did okay with a specific human snack does not mean every cat will be alright.

Do Cats Like Pretzels?

There is no straightforward answer to this one because, unfortunately, we cannot see things from the viewpoint of cats. Kitties may like them because of the texture, the salt, the different flavor from their regular food, or simply because this crunchy snack is something they see their humans interested in.

Felines are notorious for investigating what we are eating and are some of the best thieves around. They love to sneak bits of our food, dog food, favorite earrings, and socks. You get the idea. Whether or not felines like the specific taste is hard to say. Of course, some felines may develop a liking for it, while others simply exhibit their curious nature.

Pretzel Alternatives

While it might be safe for your cat to eat an occasional pretzel, there are plenty of better, feline-safe alternatives out there. Felines are obligate carnivores, and they need to eat to survive. In the natural world, they would get by on the small prey that they could hunt. Some kitties can develop a taste for certain fruits and vegetables, which are common in commercial cat foods. Recently, the pet food market has significantly expanded and now includes options like fresh, freeze-dried, and even raw food. This gives owners, and kitties, plenty of options for tasty, healthy, kitty-safe treats, including those with CBD.

Felines adore the taste of meat and prefer a meaty snack over a human snack. Fortunately, there are plenty of options owners can choose from.

PureBites Tuna Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Treats

PureBites Freeze Dried RAW Cat Treats
  • Fresh tuna flavor.
  • Only 1 ingredient.
  • Low calorie.
  • Human-grade, ocean-caught, yellow-fin tuna.

Freeze-dried treats like these from PureBites are a great choice. These offer a fresh tuna taste. They contain only tuna, ocean-caught, human-grade yellowfin tuna. Other flavor options like chicken and shrimp are available. Just two calories per treat. Cats will go wild for the fresh taste.

Stella & Chewy's Chick Chick Chicken Dinner Morsels

Stella & Chewy's Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Dinner
  • Made from USA-raised cage-free chicken.
  • Grain, gluten, and filler free.
  • Simple food, made with care.
  • Freeze-dried to preserve flavor and top nutrition.

Stella & Chewy’s makes a delicious, freeze-dried chicken dinner that can be fed as a complete meal or used as treats and toppers. Made from USA-raised cage-free chicken, grain, gluten, and filler free. Simple food, made with care and freeze-dried to preserve flavor and top nutrition.

Temptations MixUps Catnip Fever Flavor Soft & Crunchy Treats

Temptations MixUps Catnip
  • Meaty flavor.
  • Crunchy and soft.
  • Catnip powder.
  • Tasty and soothing.

Catnip treats are also a great option. Kitties love the taste and enjoy the effects of the catnip. These Temptations, hard and soft mixed treats, have a meaty flavor and crunch and are low calorie. An excellent choice for kitties that like to crunch.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can cats eat peanut butter pretzels?

To be on the safe side, kitties should not eat peanut butter-dipped or filled pretzels. Though plain peanuts are not toxic to felines, peanut butter often contains other ingredients. Those used to coat or fill these snacks often have high sugar content or use artificial sweeteners like xylitol. Because of this, it is best to stay away from the peanut butter variety for your feline. Purr babies enjoy the taste of peanut butter, so owners with plain peanut butter that only contains peanuts and a little sugar can dip a pretzel in that and offer it to their purr baby.

Are pretzels safe for kittens?

Kittens should not be fed these. This is in part due to the choking hazard. Their jaws are not as strong as adults, nor are their baby teeth. Additionally, kitten’s digestive systems are less developed and still quite sensitive. It is best to avoid feeding them any kind of foreign foods like human snack foods. They should eat only food that is intended for feline consumption. Mixing wet food with dry kibble is a good way to provide them with variety and keep them interested so they do not start seeking out human snacks.

Can cats eat pretzels without salt?

Kitties can eat these without salt. While many humans may not like the taste of plain ones, they may intrigue pets and do not pose a risk of them ingesting too much salt.

My cat just ate a soft pretzel. What do I do?

If your purr baby ate a soft pretzel, the best thing to do is to observe them for any signs of distress or symptoms of illness. Look around and investigate how much of the soft pretzel your cat ate and what kind it was. If it was a plane or salted pretzel, your cat would likely be okay, possibly uncomfortable and extra thirsty. Pay extra close attention if it was a pretzel stuffed with anything or coated in something like butter, sauce, chocolate, cheese, whipped cream, or sugar. If your cat starts to act suddenly sick or experiences severe symptoms or symptoms that last more than just a short while, it is advisable to contact your vet for guidance on what to do next.

Final Thoughts

Felines are curious creatures. Unsurprisingly, they often get into our food. They have an innate talent for thievery and can quickly swipe a bite from our plates or a paw full of snacks from our bowls before we even notice. Fortunately, most of the time, pretzels are safe and will not hurt your cat. Keep in mind that this only applies to the plain and salted variety. Those that have extra flavorings or coatings may contain other ingredients that can be harmful or cause digestive distress to your kitty.

If you plan to share these with your cat, make sure to read the ingredients first. Keep safety the top priority, and only ever give this snack food to your cat in extreme moderation. Always stick around and supervise when they are eating it. Pretzels are not something felines should eat every day, but they can be a nice, crunchy treat they will enjoy. Of course, owners can always pick a more appropriate feline-friendly snack alternative that doesn’t pose any risks.

White Cat sitting in cat window perch

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