Home Cat Health Can Cats Eat Bananas? The Answer May Surprise You

Can Cats Eat Bananas? The Answer May Surprise You

by Guest Contributor
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As a cat lover, you probably know that cats shouldn’t eat certain foods. Chocolate, for example, is toxic and may make them sick. But what about other foods such as bananas? You’d be surprised to know that cats can eat certain fruits like bananas, but only in small quantities. What do bananas do for cats, you ask? And what does it mean when experts say that cats are obligate carnivores? What else can cats eat?

We’re here to answer all of those questions and more. We will discuss the foods cats need in their diets to stay healthy, the foods they shouldn’t eat, why it’s safe for cats to eat bananas in small quantities, and how to safely incorporate bananas into a cat‘s diet so they don’t get sick.

What is an Obligate Carnivore?

In the animal world, there are three different classifications that describe the types of foods animals eat to stay alive and healthy. These are herbivores, omnivores, and carnivores. But what does it means when experts say that cats are obligate carnivores? This section will describe the main types of eating classifications so you have a better understanding of a cat and its diet.

Herbivores

Herbivores are animals that get their food, nutrients, and energy purely from plant sources. This can include things such as leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, and many other types of plants. Herbivores won’t eat meat or anything that comes from animals as their mouths can’t properly chew it and their bodies can’t properly digest it.

One example of a herbivore is a deer. They only get their nutrition from the plants that they find in the woods and other parts of the wild where they live.

Omnivores

Omnivores are animals that get their nutrition by eating both animal and plant products. This can include things such as meats, fats from animals, berries from bushes, and other plants. Omnivores eat the widest variety of foods, as they can properly chew and digest many different food sources.

One example of an omnivore is a bear. Bears eat meat and fish while getting other nutrients from berries and other plants. 

Carnivores

Carnivores are animals that get all of their nutrients from other animal sources. Carnivores can also be referred to as predators, as they have to hunt down their food in order to get their daily nutrients, protein, fats, and minerals. Many carnivores feast on herbivores but have been known to prey on omnivores as well.

An example of a carnivore is a tiger. Tigers get all their food from the meat of their prey.

Obligate Carnivores

According to the Cornell University Feline Health Center, “Cats are obligate carnivores, which means that they rely on nutrients found only in animal products.” In essence, cats must eat the meat from animals in order to get all the fats, protein, minimal carbs, and other nutrients they need. The word “obligate,” which sounds a lot like “obligatory,” is key. Even though many cats are domesticated, it is crucial to their wellbeing, obligatory even, that they get their nutrients from animal sources. 

Giving them food from sources that are heavily processed or contain lots of carbohydrates may harm your cat, so it’s recommended you stick to a natural type of food whenever possible. These next few sections will talk more about what cats can and cannot eat.

Foods That Cats Need to Stay Healthy

Cats need to eat certain amounts of specific foods in order to remain happy and healthy. In this section, you’ll discover all the different types of foods that should be incorporated into a cat‘s diet to accomplish that goal.

It should be noted that the best-balanced cat foods will incorporate nutrients from all the foods we’re about to talk about, so you may not even need to feed them additional human food. However, these things are okay to give to your cat in small amounts as the occasional treat. If you’re considering feeding your cat a raw diet, we recommend consulting your veterinarian with your feeding plan to ensure you’ve included everything your cat needs to thrive.

Meat and Fish

The foods that cats in the wild eat in the largest quantity are meat and fish. Meat gives cats the animal protein they need to maintain their muscle mass and ensure that bodily processes function properly. The small amounts of fats present in certain meat sources also help to sustain these processes. Before feeding meat to your cat, ensure that all meat is cooked to the proper temperature. Feeding raw meat to your cat may accidentally infect him with harmful bacteria or parasites. Additionally, you’ll want to remove the bones and skin from the meat source if it’s present, as they contain ingredients that cats can’t digest properly. The following list details the types of cooked meat you can safely give your cat:

  • Beef
  • Liver
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Lamb

Fish serves the same purpose as meat. It gives your cat the protein they need in their diet to survive. However, fish also contains necessary omega-3 fatty acids that are beneficial for your cat‘s bone health and prevent kidney disease. If you want to give your cat fish, make sure to cook it to the proper temperature and remove all the bones before feeding. 

Eggs

Eggs are another human food that is safe to feed to cats in smaller amounts. Eggs contain both protein and healthy fats that can help a cat maintain their bodily functions properly. If you’re going to give your cat eggs as a treat, you’ll want to be sure to cook them all the way through. Feeding cats raw eggs can potentially give them salmonella or E. Coli, which can make your feline friend very sick or worse. 

Whole Grains

Whole-grain foods contain vitamins, minerals, and protein, which are all things cats need in their diets to survive. Here’s a helpful list of what whole-grain foods you can feed your cat in small amounts that may benefit their health:

  • Oats
  • Whole-wheat breadcrumbs
  • Barely
  • White rice
  • Brown rice

We recognize that there can be a lot of controversy over whether or not a grain-free diet is better for your cat than a diet that includes grains. While many think that grain-free is healthier for your cat, that’s not always the case. Many grains are healthy to feed to your cat in small amounts, as they may provide the minerals they may not get from the meat they eat. However, if your cat has a tough time digesting certain foods or if they have a sensitive stomach, it may be best to steer clear of foods that may be difficult to consume. At the end of the day, what matters most is that your cat is happy and healthy. If you have questions about your cat‘s diet and whether grains will benefit them, we recommend talking to your veterinarian for further guidance. 

Vegetables

Many people may think that it’s not safe to feed your cat vegetables as they can upset their stomach. Feeding your cat raw vegetables could harm their digestive tract because cats’ cannot digest the plant cell walls in many vegetables. But there are several vegetables that are safe to give them after they’ve been cooked. Cats can eat cooked vegetables because during the cooking process, the vegetables’ cell walls are broken down to the point that they are easy to digest.

In fact, there are many vegetables included in cat food blends that offer dietary supplements in the form of minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients. Here’s a list of all the different vegetables you can feed your cat in small, cooked amounts:

  • Carrots
  • Corn
  • Peas
  • Broccoli florets
  • Spinach
  • Pumpkin

Fruits

Like vegetables, there are some fruits you can give to your cat in small amounts that can provide crucial vitamins and minerals that they may not get from meat or their cat food. Here’s a list of the fruits that are safe to feed to your furry friend:

  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Peeled apples
  • Peeled bananas
  • Seedless watermelon

Some of these fruits need to be peeled before feeding them to your cat because the skin is difficult or impossible for your cat to digest. If they swallow the skin, it could make them constipated or unable to digest other foods. As always, if there are any foods you have questions about, consult your veterinarian as they will know what’s best for your cat.

Foods That Cats Can’t Consume

Just as there are foods that cats need to survive, there are also foods that make them sick. Here, we’ll identify those foods and why you shouldn’t feed them to a cat under any circumstances. If your cat accidentally eats any of these foods, we recommend taking them to the veterinarian right away so they can get the help they need. 

Processed Foods

In today’s society, many options at the grocery store include heavily processed ingredients. From the crackers we like to snack on to frozen TV dinners, they all contain preservatives and other ingredients to help extend their shelf life. 

Some of these processed foods might smell good to your cat, and you may even notice that they will waltz up to you and try to get you to give them some. However, it is never recommended to feed your cat any of these processed foods. There are simply too many harmful chemicals in these foods that cats can’t digest or break down by themselves. 

Some Vegetables

There are some vegetables that contain oxidants and other substances that are either toxic or hard for cats to break down. Here, we’ll identify some of those vegetables and why you shouldn’t feed them to your furry friend.

Onions

Onions shouldn’t be fed to cats because they have a harmful sulfur oxidant that’s extremely toxic to cats. If ingested, this can damage a cat‘s red blood cells leading to anemia or worse.

Avocados

Avocados contain too much fat for your cat to be able to properly digest. Additionally, the skin or pit in the middle can pose a choking hazard, so it’s best to avoid them altogether.

Tomatoes

The red portion of the tomato isn’t harmful in and of itself. However, the stem and other green parts of the tomato include a toxin that cats can’t digest. If ingested, they can experience vomiting, diarrhea, or worse.

Some Fruits

While there are many beneficial fruits that your cat can enjoy, there are many others that are toxic to him as well. Let’s take a look at some of those toxic fruits and why your cat shouldn’t eat them.

Cherries

Cherries naturally contain small amounts of cyanide in their pits and stems. If your furry friend ingests these parts of a cherry, they could become very sick in a short amount of time.

Grapes/Raisins

Grapes and raisins are another fruit that is delicious to humans but toxic to cats. While it is unknown what specific chemical makes them so harmful to cats, they should be avoided. If ingested, your cat could fall ill with diarrhea, vomiting, and even kidney failure.

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits like lemons and limes should also be avoided. While they aren’t necessarily toxic to cats, their acidity can cause your cat to have an upset stomach that can be hard to recover from once ingested.

Chocolate (Of Any Kind)

While chocolate is a tasty treat that many humans enjoy, cats likely won’t find it all that delicious. Even if they are enticed by the sweet smell, it’s never safe for cats to eat chocolate of any variety. Chocolate contains a substance called methylxanthine which is toxic to cats. If your cat eats chocolate, they will likely become ill and can experience muscle tremors, a fever, increased thirst, and even seizures.

Why Cats Can Safely Eat Bananas (Small Amounts Only!)

Contrary to what some people may believe, it is safe and sometimes even beneficial to offer bananas to cats in small amounts. They are a good healthy snack! It is worth mentioning that not all cats will like bananas, which is okay!

Despite the fact that cats are obligate carnivores, there may be some nutrients, vitamins, and minerals they don’t get from meat that can be supplemented into their diets via other foods. Bananas are one of those foods. Bananas have nutrients in them, such as fiber, potassium, vitamin c, magnesium, and calcium. These can help cats with their bone strength and other bodily processes. 

Despite bananas having nutritional benefits for cats, they also have elements that can harm cats if given to them too often or in large amounts. The biggest factor to keep in mind is that bananas are filled with carbohydrates and natural sugars. Because cats get most of their nutrition from meat sources, their bodies are not designed to process heavy amounts of carbohydrates or sugar. Too many bananas could make them sick and harm their digestive systems.  

How to Properly Introduce Bananas Into Your Cat‘s Diet

If you want to try giving bananas to your cat in a safe manner, follow these steps so you don’t feed them too much at once.

The first thing you need to do is remove the banana peel, just like you would if you were eating it. Banana peels are completely indigestible and will block your cat‘s digestive tract. Next, cut the banana into 1-inch sections to even up their sizes. Then cut those 1-inch sections into bite-size pieces so it’s easier for your cat to eat.

Now you’re done! You can introduce the banana to your cat to see if they want to eat it. We recommend feeding your cat 1 to 2 pieces only every once in a while. If you feed your cat a banana every day, they could fall ill or become constipated. 

In Conclusion

Although cats may seem like complicated animals, they are simple creatures once you understand more about them and their diets. Being obligate carnivores, they get all of the sustenance they need to survive from other animals and animal products. However, they can eat and digest other foods in smaller quantities.

One of the most common questions cat owners ask is if their cats can eat human foods. Bananas are good for humans, so can cats eat bananas and benefit from them too? While bananas may be beneficial in a small amount, be extra careful not to feed bananas to your feline friend too often, as they may get sick from the sugar and carbohydrates. 

We hope you were able to learn more about cats and what foods are safe for them to eat. After reading, you should be an expert on the wonderful world of cats and their diets! We hope you have a purrfect day!

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