Can Cats Eat Bananas?
Yes, however, there are better things to feed your cat. Bananas are not toxic to cats as per the ASPCA. You can give your cat a piece of the banana you are munching on; however, you should consider the fact that a cat’s digestive system is designed for a meat diet.
With this in mind, it matters how you feed your cat bananas. A bite is enough. You should also be wary of the risks associated with bananas and cats. For instance, while a cow will feast on banana peels with ease, cats can’t do the same. Let’s first discuss the health benefits of bananas before diving into the risks.
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- How to feed your cat bananas
- What fruits can cats eat
- What fruits are toxic to cats
What Do Cats Stand To Benefits From Eating Bananas?
Carb benefits: Bananas are rich in carbohydrates. The carb content in bananas changes as bananas ripen. Unripe bananas contain starch while ripe bananas are rich in sugars (such as fructose, sucrose, and glucose), which make up over 16%+ of a banana’s fresh weight. The sugars are great sources of energy. All living things need sugars to produce energy. As a result, bananas can give your cat a much-needed energy boost.
Fiber benefits: Bananas are also rich in fiber, such as pectin. Ripe bananas are rich in pectin. In fact, pectin is among the “key” reasons why bananas soften as they age. Fiber has digestive system benefits. Pectin supports the growth of good bacteria in the gut. However, too much of anything, including fiber isn't good, especially for cats.
Vitamin and mineral benefits: Bananas are great sources of minerals and vitamins. They are rich in Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, and Potassium, which all have great health benefits. Potassium is known to play a crucial role in heart and kidney health. Vitamin C is important for joint health.
The Vitamin also plays a critical role in immunity. Vitamin C is a powerful anti-biotic and anti-viral that can help your cat deal with infections, wounds, broken bones, etc. Vitamin B6 is great for cats with insulin resistance, hair loss problems, and excessive thirst. Vitamin can stabilize blood sugar and hormone levels boosting the overall health of your cat.
Bioactive plant compound benefits: Bananas also contain other plant compound benefits i.e., antioxidant flavonoids like catechins, which have cardiovascular and immune system health benefits.
What Risks Do Bananas Pose To Cats?
Choking risks: Cats can eat bananas; however, the peels should be removed. Removing banana peels may seem obvious; however, some pet owners are guilty of feeding their cats whole bananas. While a fully grown cat will be able to bypass peels and reach to the fleshy part of the banana, kittens are guilty of eating everything they come across. This makes them susceptible to choking. What's more, feeding your cat large pieces of banana can also introduce choking risks. To avoid this, feed your cat small pieces only. It’s also advisable to dampen the banana with water as moistened food is good for cats.
Weight gain risks: Given the high amounts of carbs in bananas, overfeeding bananas to your cat can lead to weight problems. While tiny pieces of banana can be good sources of energy for your cat, large quantities of carbs may go unused, increasing the risk of obesity and diabetes. What's more, carbs should make at most 2% of your cat's diet.
Cats need more vitamins and protein. Their main requirements include lots of fats, Vitamin A & C, protein, taurine, and other amino acids. While bananas may appear nourishing because of their nutritional composition, they aren't necessarily the best sources of nutrients for cats.
To humans, bananas are highly nutritious besides being sweet. In regards to cats, there are better sources of nutrients. Also, cats don’t appreciate the sweetness of bananas or any other sweet treat because they lack sweet receptors in their mouths.
It also matters how the bananas are made. Banana chips that are prepared by deep frying bananas aren't good for your cat. The excess oil is bound to increase obesity risks, especially if the bananas are in large quantities or served regularly.
Stomach upset risks: If your cat is lucky enough to swallow banana peels without choking, they risk suffering from a stomach upset. Cats that eat too many bananas also risk a stomach upset. The digestive system of cats isn't designed to cope with high amounts of sugar content and fiber present in fruits like bananas.
Allergy risks: Bananas aren’t regarded as toxic to cats. You can give your cat a piece of peeled banana without worrying. However, some cats are allergic to fruits. Cat allergies vary depending on factors such as breed. It is therefore advisable to research on the allergies affecting your cat before you consider giving them foods that has been found to cause allergies or allergic reactions.
If you aren’t sure which allergies affect your cat, talk to your vet. Alternatively, you can give your cat a very tiny piece of banana first and watch closely for any allergic reactions. If your cat is allergic to bananas, visit a vet immediately.
Banana allergy symptoms in cats: If your cat has an itchy rash, mucosal or skin swellings, or has other symptoms like wheezing after eating bananas, your cat may very well be suffering from a banana allergy.
Other health risks: Bananas served alongside other ingredients like salt aren’t good for cats. It’s therefore advisable to avoid giving your cat banana chips or any other types of chips that have high amounts of salt. High sodium intake can make your cat excessively thirsty.
How To Feed Bananas To Cats
There’s a good way to feed your cat bananas and avoid all the above health risks. To feed your feline friend bananas safely, you need to:
Source organic bananas: This applies to bananas meant for yourself and your cat. The benefits of eating food that is free of pesticides and fertilizers can't be overlooked. Chemical additives in our food pose serious health risks. If you give your cat human food, make sure it's 100% natural and free of toxins introduced through conventional farming methods.
Peel the bananas: You should feed your cat peeled bananas. As mentioned above, banana peels can cause choking, among other risks such as stomach upsets. Cats aren't supposed to eat lots of carbs and foods rich in fiber.
Feed your cat small pieces of banana: Your cat should eat bite-sized pieces of banana. A whole banana is too much for your cat at one go. High quantities of foods rich in carbs and starch can cause weight gain problems. Bananas shouldn't replace your cat's diet for the reasons mentioned above. Giving your cat a small bite or mixing a few pieces of banana with cat food is enough!
Watch your cat’s reaction: While feeding your cat small pieces of banana is fine, small amounts of banana can still cause allergic reactions. It is advisable to monitor your cat initially just to make sure they don't get severe reactions from eating bananas. The symptoms are bound to manifest almost immediately, so monitor your cat for a while. If your cat develops allergic symptoms such as those mentioned above, visit a vet immediately.
Verdict: Can Cats Eat Bananas?
Yes. But as an occasional treat. What's more, the bananas should be ripe, peeled, and organic. Bananas aren't dangerous to cats. However, bananas aren't part of a cat's normal diet. You risk exposing your cat to allergies, stomach upsets, choking, among other risks anytime you feed them bananas even if you do it moderately.
While your cat may stare at you with anticipation as you munch on a banana, that doesn't mean they should get a piece. Pets will salivate at just about any human food you can think of. Your cat will want a bite of chili peppers if you are eating them, but that doesn't mean you give them. Bananas are packed with carbs. They are also too sugary for cats. To avoid exposing your cat to obesity, diabetes, among other health risks, avoid feeding bananas to your cat habitually.
If you take precautions i.e., feed your cat very small quantities of banana and your cat sufferers negative effects, visit a vet immediately. A family member or guest may also feed your cat bananas unknowingly. In such a case, you should call/visit your vet immediately, especially if your cat has any of the side effects discussed above.
Most cats tend to be very choosy. If your cat belongs to a breed susceptible to banana allergies, they probably won’t feast on bananas even if you give them. What’s more, there are better treats out there that are more nutritious.
What Fruits Can Cats Eat?
Cats can eat bananas in moderation, among other fruits. The most important factor to consider is moderation. Most fruits are packed with sugar. If you overfeed your cat with fruits, you risk exposing your cat to health problems like digestive system problems and obesity. You cat can also choke on seeds, leaves, seeds, skins, and rinds if you don't remove them. Here's a list of fruits that are good for cats.
Blueberries have notable benefits to humans, such as preventing cell and tissue damage. They are bound to offer the same benefits to your feline friend, given their rich antioxidant properties. Blueberries also contain fiber and Vitamin C, making them beneficial for the digestive and immune system of your cat.
You can also give your cat some fleshy fruits like apricots packed with Potassium and beta-carotene. Potassium is important for regulating fluid balance, nerve signals, and muscle contractions. Beta-carotene is crucial for good vision, bone, and muscle health. However, you must remove the stem, leaves, and pit.
Cats can also eat apples. However, they need to be peeled. The stems, leaves, and seeds also need to be removed. Apple seeds can cause cyanide poisoning when crashed and consumed in large quantities. If the apple core is removed, there should be no cause for worry. Apples are great sources of Vitamin A, and C which are known to play crucial roles in bone and tissue health.
Your cat also stands to enjoy cranberries given their rich Vitamin C, fiber, and manganese quantities. Cranberries are great for fighting urinary tract infections in both cats and dogs. However, make sure your cat can handle cranberry tartness. It’s better to feed cranberries as part of a favorite treat or cat food as opposed to a solo snack.
Cranberries are rich in vitamins that are essential for cats and dogs. However, like apples, they come with cyanide poison risks. You need to throw away the pit before you feed your cat. You should also remove the skin to avoid digestive issues.
Your cat can overlook oranges for other fruits. However, dogs can't resist oranges. Cats can eat oranges; however; they need to be free of peels, seeds, leaves, and stems. You should give your cat the fleshy part of the oranges only to avoid health risks such as stomach upsets and choking. What's more, the fleshy part is where the nutrients reside. It may be better to just squeeze some orange juice and give your cat. The Vitamin C-packed orange juice is great for the immune system.
You can give your cat a piece of watermelon instead of water for drinking. Considering watermelon is 92% water, it is a great alternative to water. The fruit is also packed with Potassium as well as Vitamins A, C, and B6 which play a crucial role in nerve and muscle health.
What Fruits Are Toxic To Cats?
There are many more fruits that cats can eat safely, provided you follow the above guidelines. In case you want to know what you shouldn't feed cats, here are fruits that are toxic to cats. Cats shouldn't eat cherries, grapes, and citrus fruits like lemon, lime, and grapefruit.
These fruits are known to cause stomach upsets, especially when given to cats in large quantities. Naturally, cats won't eat fruits or foods that are toxic. However, it's good to familiarize yourself with toxic fruits and foods just to ensure you don't include them as part of a recipe or meal. You should talk to your vet for a complete list of the fruits you should give/avoid giving your cat.
The information on this page is not a substitute for veterinary help. Please contact a vet for help with any concerns that you have.
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