If your feline buddy seems to be fascinated with bananas or if he or she starts taking an interest in you whenever you’re eating one, you might be wondering whether this type of food works as a snack for cats. Can cats eat bananas? The short answer would be yes, but as you might have guessed, pet nutrition isn’t as simple as basic math, so it might also be no.
Let’s get one thing out of the way right off the bat. Bananas are not toxic to cats, so they are safe to feed as long as you don’t overdo it. It goes without saying that if your cat isn’t a lover of this fruit, you shouldn’t try to convince her to eat it. On top of everything, introducing new foods into an animal’s diet especially in larger quantities can be quite dangerous, so we would advise giving your feline friend a tiny piece of banana just once in a while.
Let’s look at several facts about bananas, whether they can actually provide benefits to a cat’s digestion, and even make some assumptions as to why some cats seem to love them.
What’s in a banana?
Cats have different preferences and nutritional needs, especially when compared to humans. They are carnivores, which means that most of their nutrients come from meat. While a cat’s digestive system isn’t designed to process plant-based foods, sometimes cats have issues such as constipation episodes, in which case some fiber sources like pumpkin or even banana could help.
What does this fruit contain? Compared to things like corn or other types of grain, this fruit is rich in vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B, magnesium, and fiber, and even contains some protein. It doesn’t have as many calories as you might imagine (pretty much all diets recommend steering clear of bananas as they can’t really accelerate the weight loss process due to their sugar content).
In humans, bananas have been found to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of strokes and heart attacks. They are also mood lifters, probably because of their sugar content.
Does a banana have any nutritional value for cats?
In a nutshell, it does not. It does contain fiber, which can have positive effects on a cat’s digestive process, but given that cats are genetically engineered to take what they need in terms of nutrition from meat only, your feline friend isn’t going to be able to absorb any of the vitamins contained by this fruit.
Besides, bananas are fruits, which means that they have a fairly high sugar content. Needless to say, there’s little to no sugar in meat, so cats shouldn’t eat any sugar whatsoever.
Are bananas safe to feed to your cat?
They are, but make sure not to overdo it – both in terms of quantity and in terms of the frequency at which you give this snack to your cat. If your cat has never had banana before, make sure you feed her just a small piece to avoid any digestive mishaps such as vomiting or stomach pain.
Naturally, you should always feed your feline friend bananas that are good for human consumption in the sense that they shouldn’t be rotten or have pieces of mold on the peel. Cats’ digestive systems are very sensitive (even compared to ours) so if you make the mistake of giving your feline companion food that has gone bad, he or she could experience symptoms like diarrhea or vomiting, or even fever.
Plus, since bananas contain sugar, it is never a good idea to make them a frequent snack. Since cats are not supposed to have sugar, eating bananas too often and in large amounts can eventually lead to a cat having diabetes and/or developing oral issues.
If you’re wondering whether cats can have allergies because of eating bananas, we’ll put your mind at ease by telling you that it’s not something that usually happens. However, one cannot exclude this possibility, especially if you are the pet parent of a cat breed that’s known to be sensitive to multiple allergens.
What about the peel? Some say that eating the peel can pose a choking hazard but that’s not exactly true. In most cases, you’ll notice that cats simply ignore banana peels as they have a different smell compared to the peeled fruit. What could be dangerous about the peel, though, is that sometimes, fruits are sprayed with different chemicals to eliminate pests or to make them look nicer to the eyes of a potential buyer. That’s why banana peels could end up being toxic to a cat.
Do cats actually like bananas?
As a cat parent myself, I can tell you that cats very rarely manifest an interest in bananas. My own feline friend doesn’t really like the smell of the fruit or the peel, and she always tries to avoid any contact with a banana. However, there are cats that can be quite curious, and that can actually behave like a dog when it comes to begging for food. So, if your cat is a part of this category, it’s good to know that her having a taste of banana isn’t dangerous – but don’t make a habit out of doing this.
While some cats can love bananas, others could turn their noses up and just walk away.
Last, but not least, we would like to add that bananas do not provide the same health benefits to cats as they do to humans. For us, they’re great at offering us a bit of energy, plus they contain potassium and magnesium along with several other vitamins. Furthermore, they lower the risk of getting a stroke or having a heart attack. This doesn’t happen with cats, though, who basically get no benefits out of eating bananas.