4 min read

Can Cats Eat Flaxseed?


By Emily Bayne

Published: 06/13/2024, edited: 06/16/2024

Reviewed by a licensed veterinary professional: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

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If you're wondering whether you can safely give your feline flaxseed, we are happy to report the answer is YES!

Flaxseed isn't a typical part of a feline's natural diet, but it still benefits our furry friends. More and more pet food companies are including this ingredient in their food and treat recipes since it is an excellent source of fiber and antioxidants, which are important for our kitty's immune system and digestive health.

In this article, we will discuss the health benefits of flax, how much to give fluffy, and what can happen if they overdo it with their flax intake. 

Do cats like flaxseed?

Flaxseed isn't something cats would typically eat in the wild or really gravitate toward since cats are obligate carnivores and are built to survive on protein and fat from their prey, with the only grains in their natural diet coming from the stomach contents of their prey.

The good news is that flax is very mild in flavor and almost undetectable in its unground form; for this reason, it's easy to hide in other foods like wet cat food or other soft foods, especially if you grind it into a fine powder before mixing it in.

Bowls of flaxseed next to bottle of flaxseed oil - can cats eat flaxseed

Health benefits of flaxseed for cats

Let's explore some of the health benefits of incorporating flaxseed into our pets' diets!


Flaxseed is a fur-rific source of fiber, clocking in at 2 whopping grams per tablespoon! Fiber is important since it helps bulk up stools, which can prevent constipation and alleviate diarrhea when served in appropriate amounts. The high fiber content can also help kitties feel fuller for longer, which can make dieting more pleasant for kitties who are seemingly always hungry.

Omega 3 fatty acids

Flaxseed contains alpha-linolenic acid, the precursor to essential fatty acids DHA and EPA, which are essential for brain development in kittens.


Flaxseed is a significant source of vitamin B1, aka thiamine, which serves several functions in the feline body, from turning carbs into energy to helping power essential neurological processes.


Did you know that your furbaby should be eating 7.5 mg of this essential trace mineral for every kilogram of kibble they consume? Yep, and luckily, flaxseed is a great source of it! Kitties need manganese to be able to metabolize proteins and carbs for energy and to synthesize fatty acids.


Flaxseed is an excellent source of magnesium, which is essential for proper development in kittens, muscle function, blood glucose regulation, and healthy urinary systems in felines of all ages.


Flaxseed is the most nutrient-dense source of plant-based lignans, a compound that is thought to have cancer-fighting properties. Lignans also help with hormone balance in cats and can help naturally increase estradiol in females who have been spayed.

How much flaxseed can I give my cat?

It's recommended to feed adult cats between 1/4 and 1/2 teaspoon per day of ground flax or flaxseed oil, since too much can cause digestive issues.

Kittens can have flax products as well, but they will need half as much as an adult, between 1/8 and 1/4th of a teaspoon per day. 

It's best to start at a lower dose of flax and monitor your cat's bowel movements before gradually increasing the amount you give. If you notice negative changes in their bathroom or dietary habits, you may want to cut back or eliminate flax products from their diet.

Flaxseed is a superfood and, for the most part, is completely safe. However, overdoing it can potentially cause issues for your furbaby. Since flaxseed is high in fiber, overfeeding it can cause abdominal pain and digestive upset.

Very high doses of flaxseed over a long period of time have the potential to cause fatty acid poisoning, which comes with serious side effects like bleeding disorders and lowered immune function.

silver scoop of ground flaxseed

Does flaxseed cause constipation in cats?

Since flaxseed has a high fiber content, it is a great remedy for constipation in felines. Getting your carnivorous kitty to eat more fiber isn't an easy feat, but flaxseed's mild taste is easy to hide when ground and added to wet foods and meat purees. It is quite nutrient-dense, too, so a little bit goes a long way!

 Flaxseed can also help with diarrhea by firming up watery stools, which can prevent water loss and get your kitty back to "feline" fine!

That being said, if your cat has chronic digestive issues or pre-existing conditions, it's best to talk to a vet or a feline nutritionist before offering new foods or supplements since it could potentially make matters worse.

Is the flax plant poisonous to cats?

It is true that some parts of the flax plant are poisonous to both dogs and cats, but thankfully, ripe flaxseeds and flaxseed oil, which is made from those ripened seeds, are not.

Every other part of this plant and seeds that aren't yet fully ripe contain a toxic compound called cyanogenic glycoside. When ingested, this compound can cause life-threatening symptoms in a matter of hours. 

Cats may present with nausea, vomiting, and seizures after ingestion, but this can quickly escalate to respiratory distress, organ damage, and death if emergency care is delayed. For this reason, you should get your pet to a vet ASAP if you suspect they have eaten any part of a flax plant.

Flaxseed isn't a natural part of a cat's diet, but it still can be a positive addition to your cat's meals. Flaxseed and flaxseed oil are a great source of alpha-linolenic acid, a fatty acid from which cats synthesize DHA and EPA, magnesium, and manganese.

 Flaxseed in its whole or ground form is also rich in fiber, which can help kitties stay regular and keep them feeling full for longer. 

You should keep Fluffy's flaxseed intake to no more than half a teaspoon a day since too much can cause stomach upset and fatty acid toxicity. As with any supplement or new food, it's always a good idea to talk to a vet before changing your pet's diet.

Digestive problems and food allergies can be expensive to treat. Compare pet health insurance plans to save more than $270 a year on vet care.  

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© 2024 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.