Cats are carnivores, so they get their nutrients mainly by eating meat from other animals, such as chicken or beef. However, bananas are delicious, filling, and full of nutrition for us humans, including fiber and potassium. Sounds perfect for your kitties, doesn’t it? However, are bananas as good for cats as they are for American humans?
Can Cats Eat Bananas?
Bananas are not on the list of foods that are toxic to cats, so they are safe for your cat to eat in moderation. Remember, bananas are high in sugar, calories, and fiber, so your cat may not be interested in tasting a banana, but he has no interest in sweet foods.
What are the benefits of eating bananas for cats?
Bananas are not nutritionally essential for cats, but they do have some nutritional properties that may benefit your cat. Should they like the taste of bananas, there are some great health benefits for our cats, but our feline friends will need some advice on how to boost their health. This doesn’t mean that bananas aren’t healthy for cats, but don’t expect a huge nutritional benefit. However, some nutrients may be beneficial to your cat.
Bananas are rich in potassium. It is a nutrient that helps support heart and kidney health. Potassium may be necessary for senior cats because more mature cats tend to have weaker hearts and may suffer from chronic kidney failure as they get older. Feeding your cat extra potassium is a balancing act. First, a good feed should have the right balance of vitamins and minerals your cat needs. Potassium intake for the day should be only 0.6% of a cat’s daily diet, however, you should seek veterinary advice if you feel additional potassium is needed. If your cat’s blood potassium is low, she will develop hypokalemia. This means that there is a low level of potassium in the blood. In mild cases, you usually do not notice that the potassium level is low. Low potassium in the blood can progress to kidney failure, with your cat showing a reduced appetite and their limbs may be weak or appear stiff when moving. Feeding bananas in reasonable doses from time to time could potentially help, but please always consult your veterinarian before making any changes to your animal.
The vitamin B6 found in bananas can be very beneficial for older cats. Vitamin B6 is especially important for kidney function and is excreted in the urine throughout the day. Therefore it should be changed. Don’t rely on bananas for vitamin B6, as a cat would need to eat more bananas than is safe to get the full, required dose. This makes for a helpful supplement that your cat should also enjoy the taste of.
One trace element found in bananas is manganese. Manganese can be beneficial for the skin because it encourages the formation of collagen. This may be imperative for senior cats, as older cats tend to have weaker skin and may suffer from scabs and sores on the body and head. Cats require some manganese to meet their daily needs, but deficiencies are rare. There is no harm in adding bananas to the diet, so a small piece of banana will add more manganese to the cat’s diet.
Banana is rich in fiber, which can cause diarrhea if given in excess. Should your cat become constipated, bananas can be beneficial. Consuming small amounts of banana mashed with some water and (either) mixed with food or served separately may help with constipation. Make sure your cat has access to the litter tray or can do it outside.
Are there any disadvantages to feeding bananas to cats?
While not toxic to cats, feeding bananas to cats can have negative health consequences. They are very high in sugar, which can lead to obesity, arthritis, and other conditions. As mentioned, bananas are not toxic to cats, and although there are many benefits to feeding bananas to your cat, there are also several negatives, these include:
The average banana contains about 17 grams of naturally occurring sugar, so feeding your cat too much sugar-based food can lead to obesity, eventually, unnecessary stress on the joints, and possible arthritis – this is more commonly seen in larger cats but It can develop in younger cats too. If you notice that your cat is slightly overweight, your cat’s caloric intake should be reviewed. Obesity increases the risk of feline diabetes. Generally speaking, the more a cat is overweight, the more likely it is to develop diabetes and other health problems. Finally, too much sugar can take a toll on your cat’s teeth. Dental disease is a common problem in older cats. A low-sugar diet lowers your cat’s chances of toothache.
Fiber helps the digestive system manage food and pass it as healthy waste. Bananas are high in fiber, so in theory, they are a great cat treat. However, in practice, it is easy for one cat to have too many. A cat fed a high-quality, balanced diet should get all the fiber they need, but adding excessive amounts of this food group can cause digestive upset, resulting in diarrhea and the potential for dehydration in your cat if your cat suffers from dehydration if left untreated. It takes a cat a long time to process fiber. Positively, your cat will feel fuller for longer, so you won’t be bothered with extra food or treats. On the negative side, digestion is very slow and can leave your cat feeling bloated.
Like fiber, carbohydrates are one of the major food groups. Although in cats, carbohydrates are not necessary. A cat that has too many carbohydrates is consuming excess calories, which, if not burned, can lead to obesity.
How to safely give bananas to your cat?
If your cat is interested in bananas, you can give them small amounts of bananas now and then. It is safe to feed bananas to your cat but be careful when introducing new foods to your cat. You should always give a small piece to see if your cat likes bananas or not. Offering a small piece will tell you whether the cat can tolerate the food and doesn’t cause an upset stomach. Never feed moldy bananas to your cat, as they can cause digestive upset. Never give your cat a rind – it is difficult to chew and can easily become a choking hazard if they chew on even a small piece.
Also, watch for allergy symptoms.
If your cat displays any of these warning signs after eating a banana, you should stop feeding it immediately and contact your vet:
- excessive scratches
- breakouts of spots or sores on the skin
- watery discharge from the nose or eyes
- shortness of breath
Frequently asked questions
How much can I give to my cat?
Should your cat tolerate bananas, be sure you limit them to safe levels. Bananas should make up no more than 10% of a cat’s daily food allowance. More than this risks stomach issues and more than weight gain. If you decide to offer your cat bananas, you also need to consider how. Fresh bananas can be offered when sliced. A maximum of two slices per day is recommended.
Are Bananas Good for Cats?
Bananas are a great food for our cats, especially senior cats for their kidneys and to help with constipation. Too many bananas can lead to obesity problems, so remember everything in moderation.
Can Cats Eat Bananas Every Day?
Introduce bananas to your cat’s diet gradually, meaning a very small amount at a time. This will show you that your cat will tolerate the banana and not cause any digestive upset. There are many ways that you can offer your cat (a small amount) bananas. Try freezing slices of banana and thinning them with water before serving. This will make the banana moist and very easy to digest.
Can I Give My Cat Too Much Banana?
Any food has the potential to make your cat unwell if eaten in excess. It is also important to remember that cats can be allergic to any type of food. In general, bananas are considered safe but should only be given as an occasional treat and should not form the staple of a cat’s diet. If bananas cause an upset stomach for your cat or your cat seems unwell after eating bananas you should consult your veterinary surgeon.