Can Cats Eat Beans?
Beans, beans, the magical fruit? Maybe not for your cat. Beans are a healthy food for a human diet, but can cats eat beans? Before feeding beans to your cat, make sure you have all the facts!
While some human food is safe, even healthy, for your cat, it’s important to understand the impact it will have on your furry friend.
Are beans healthy?
Humans have been munching on beans for over 6,000 years. Even the smallest of bean varieties pack a punch when it comes to nutritional value. Beans have protein, fiber, and vitamins and nutrients including Folate, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, and Iron.
Beans are low calorie, vegan, gluten-free, cheap and, most importantly, delicious.
They are also “heart healthy” because they contain soluble fiber, which can bring down both cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
They also contain an abundance of antioxidants, which can help to reduce the risk of diseases like cancer.
Really, you can’t go wrong when it comes to beans. At least for humans, but can cats eat beans as a part of a healthy diet?
Are beans good for your cat?
You now know what a powerhouse beans are in the human diet, but what about in your cat’s diet?
Beans do not contain anything that is poisonous or inherently harmful to your cat.
Cats are obligate carnivores, and that means that their digestive systems are really only effective when digesting meat. Cats will sometimes eat grass to help things move through their system, but it is not a significant part of their diet.
Beans contain a lot of nutritional value for humans. But cats can’t access all that nutritional goodness. The protein in beans is not very recognizable to a cat’s digestive system.
The amino acids that are found in beans do not come in the right ratio for cats, and some of the amino acids that are extremely important to cats, like taurine, are not found in beans.
So, while beans are not very nutritionally available to cats, they are not explicitly harmful. There are, however, some risks that come with feeding beans, or any carbohydrate, to your cat.
Carbs and your cat
As you now know, cats are obligate carnivores and are therefore much better suited to eating high protein, low carb diets.
You may have heard the risks that come along with feeding your cat dry food as their main source of calories. Much of that risk comes from the high carbohydrate levels and the lack of moisture found in dry cat foods.
Carbohydrates, beans included, are both largely nutritionally unavailable to cats, and a dry food. A dry diet can cause a host of medical problems for your cat. These include diabetes, obesity, inflammatory bowel disorder, dental disease, and many more.
That being said, your cat will not need to be rushed to the hospital for a small amount of carbohydrates, so a few beans every now and then as a treat is okay. There are even some benefits!
What are the benefits of feeding beans to your cat?
While there are some health risks related to feeding beans to your cat, they can be beneficial in some cases.
For most cats, beans should only be used as an occasional treat but for some cats, beans can be a larger part of their diet.
You may have heard that beans are sometimes used as a weight loss plan for cats. Always speak to a vet before introducing a weight loss diet to your cat, and to make sure that beans are a good fit.
The increase in fiber that comes with eating beans may be beneficial to your cat’s weight problem. Exercise is also an important factor in your cat’s healthy weight.
Beans are cheap and low in calories making them an easy treat to incorporate into your cat’s diet.
Can cats eat beans of every variety?
There are so many different types of beans, can cats eat beans of any variety?
Cooked green beans, black beans, pinto beans, and the various other bean varieties should be safe for your cat to consume in small amounts. Of course, if your cat reacts poorly, do not try to force beans on them; they don’t need to eat beans.
Can cats eat beans from a can? Freshly cooked beans are okay for cats, but canned beans can cause your kitty some issues. Canned beans are often filled with salt. Cats have a low sodium tolerance, so avoid even rinsed canned beans.
Refried beans should never be fed to your cat. Refried beans are usually high in fat, and often contain spices that are harmful to your cat. Garlic, onions, and excessive salt are all toxic to your cat.
Baked beans can also be toxic to your cat. Baked beans sometimes contain artificial sweeteners, like Xylitol. Ingesting Xylitol is considered a medical emergency and can be fatal for your cat. Check any processed food, including gum and condiments, for Xylitol before letting your cat have a taste.
The beans you feed to your cat should be free of salt and spices. Home-cooked is the best way to be sure that the beans do not contain harmful ingredients.
Your cat’s diet should not contain large amounts of beans. One to three beans as a little treat is all they need, keep the rest for your epic burrito bowl and your famous 7-layer dip.
Cats can eat beans, but should they?
Beans are not harmful to your cat, so introducing them into your cat’s diet is fine!
If your cat comes running when you eat beans, and you want to share a few with your little pal, your cat will most likely not have a problem with a few as a treat.
While many cats will likely be okay eating small amounts of beans, not every cat can handle them.
We call beans magical fruit for a reason. They cause the body to produce more gas, and this can be uncomfortable for humans and felines alike. If your cat seems uncomfortable, cut beans from their diet. If your cat passes an abnormal amount of gas, cut back, or remove beans altogether.
Introduce any new food to your cat slowly. Monitor their behavior, and their litter box, to make sure that your cat does not have an adverse reaction to it.
Always check whether or not a food is safe for your furry family members before feeding it to them, and when in doubt, ask your vet!