Your cat might love their canned cat food and kibble, but it is normal to wonder if you could treat them to a different snack. Some cat owners feed their furry feline friends a saucer of milk, but an article in Science Focus says that many cats are lactose intolerant. Drinking milk could cause them to experience diarrhea and stomach upset. The next natural question is Can Cats Eat Bananas? In this post, we will review the possibility, benefits, and possible side effects of feeding your cat bananas.
Can You Feed Your Cat Bananas?
Yes, you can feed bananas to your cat because they are generally considered healthy and safe. However, before giving your pet this treat, you should consider the nutritional benefits and possible risks. You should also consult your vet about your cat’s nutritional needs. Remember, just because your feline friend can eat bananas does not mean that you should feed them to her.
Nutritional Needs of a Cat
Information from the Cornell Feline Health Center confirms that cats are obligate carnivores. This means that they get most of their nutrition from animal products. Their ideal meal should be a prey similar to what they would hunt in the wild – containing high protein, moderate fat, and minimal carbohydrate amounts. Cats also need other nutrients like amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. Since you cannot go outside and hunt mice for your cat, the most efficient way to meet their dietary needs is to feed them a balanced and complete commercial diet prepared by an expert in animal nutrition. This will then mean that your cat is getting all the nutrients they need and doesn’t really require treats like bananas. In fact, bananas have no additional benefit to your cat.
Possible Risks of Feeding Your Cat Bananas
Generally, bananas are non-toxic to cats, but there are some caveats. First of all, you have to convince your cat to eat the banana, and cats are very picky eaters, so this could take some doing. Bananas are also not a great meal for cats with health conditions like obesity or diabetes. Besides this, it is also important to consider your cat’s digestive characteristics. Just as with milk, some cats might enjoy bananas while others might experience adverse effects like diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach upset. Never force your cat to eat bananas if they are hurting her. Lastly, as we have mentioned, your cat’s daily food will usually supply most of their calories. Human foods like bananas should only be an occasional treat, given in small amounts. Possible risks of overfeeding your cat bananas may include:
- Excess Potassium – Bananas are highly rich in potassium, and while this mineral plays a crucial role in the health of your cat’s kidneys and heart, excess amounts can be dangerous.
- Excess Fiber – Feeding your cat too many bananas could lead to excess fiber in their systems, which could lead to diarrhea – an uncomfortable condition for your cat.
How to Feed Bananas to Your Cat
So now you know the answer to the question Can Cats Eat Bananas. Taking into account your cat’s nutritional needs and health, if you decide to feed them this treat, here is how you should go about it:
1. Consult Your Veterinarian
Always consult your veterinarian before adding any foods – especially human foods – to your cat’s diet. Bananas are generally considered safe, but your cat’s digestive system might not agree with them. Additionally, you should seek your vet’s go-ahead first if your cat has a health condition like diabetes.
2. Calculate Your Cat’s Calorie Intake
Next, you need to calculate your cat’s calorie needs and current intake to determine the amount of banana they can eat safely. According to a post written by Krista Williams, BSc, DVM for VCA Hospitals, treats should account for around 5 percent of your cat’s caloric intake and no more than 10 percent. A cat that consumes 300 calories a day should not get 30 of those calories from cat treats. An average-sized banana contains around 110 calories, which explains why you should never feed your cat a full banana. If you are unsure of the number of calories your cat should get from this treat, consult your vet about creating a nutrition plan for your cat.
3. Prepare the Banana
Once you determine how much banana your cat should eat, peel a banana and cut it into small bite-size pieces. The ideal size is about the size of a kibble. Alternatively, you can mash a small amount of the banana into a puree and use it to top your cat’s food. Prepare the banana any way you want as long as the portion sizes are not large enough to become a choking hazard.
4. Monitor Your Cat
Remember, your cat might love the banana treat or react adversely to it. After feeding her, monitor her for signs of stomach problems like diarrhea or vomiting. Try to limit new additions to your cat’s diet to only the banana, so you know if it is the cause of the problem. Call your veterinarian immediately if you notice signs of illness or stomach upset.
Can Kittens Eat Bananas?
Adult cats and kittens have different nutritional needs, and their digestive tracts are equipped to handle different types of food. So can your kitten eat bananas? Ideally, cats should only eat specially-formulated meals containing high magnesium, protein, and calcium levels during the first 12 months of their lives. You can introduce small treats like bananas at the end of this period but only in small amounts and not daily. Again, always consult your vet before feeding your kitten new foods.
So, Can Cats Eat Bananas? Technically, yes, but bananas should not be a regular part of your cat’s diet. While they are a healthy and safe treat, you should only feed them to your cat in small amounts. Bananas have a high sugar content, which can result in weight problems and diabetes. Small slices should suffice, although you shouldn’t be surprised to see your feline friend avoid the treat – cats are picky eaters. Finally, always consult your vet before making any changes to your cat’s diet.