Some cats have odd food cravings, and one of such unexpected taste preferences is bananas. But can cats eat bananas?
One would expect a cat to love beef or tuna, but a passion for bananas isn’t a health abnormality.
Bananas are relatively harmless for cats, despite not being a part of the natural feline diet. However, owners should be aware of the risks.
Moderation is crucial with any food not intended for felines, and excessive banana consumption may have lasting negative effects.
Furthermore, cats can have food allergies, so owners should look out for worrying symptoms to provide their pets with timely treatment.
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Are Bananas Safe for Cats?
The short answer to the primary question – “are bananas safe for cats?” – is yes. Banana flesh doesn’t contain any elements toxic to cats and doesn’t cause food poisoning. Bananas are one of the healthiest treats for cats.
Kittens from four months old can also eat bananas, but the serving size should be smaller than that of adult cats.
However, just because a cat can eat a banana doesn’t mean it should. You should consider the potential caveats before feeding your pet any human food. Like humans, cats can have different reactions to specific foods.
Firstly, like any other fruit, bananas are only safe for cats without underlying health conditions. Cats with diabetes, excess weight, gastroenteric issues, and heart problems shouldn’t eat bananas.
Secondly, food allergies are always a possibility. Cats can be allergic even to dry cat food intended for feline consumption, so an allergy to human food is highly likely.
Thirdly, excessive banana consumption can cause a gastroenteric upset even if a cat doesn’t have an allergy. Remember that a cat’s servings must be small, and bananas should serve as an occasional treat but not daily dessert.
Lastly, be mindful of your cat’s daily calorie intake. Bananas are relatively high in calories and can lead to a weight increase and related health conditions, particularly in older and neutered cats.
Interestingly, you may come across numerous videos showing cats fear bananas. Some cats are afraid of bananas because the banana peel contains ethyl acetate – cats can’t stand its smell.
What About Cooked Bananas?
Cooked bananas glazed with honey and sprinkled with nuts are undoubtedly delicious, but are cooked bananas safe for cats? In most cases, no. The banana isn’t the problem here, but add-ons are.
Sugar and honey aren’t toxic to cats, but sugar is a known stimulant that can make the cat hyperactive. Furthermore, sugars are dangerous for cats with diabetes. Spices can cause a gastroenteric upset.
Most nuts pose no threat to cats, including almonds, walnuts, and pecans. However, Macadamia nuts are toxic to felines and can cause severe poisoning. Grapes and, consequently, raisins are also toxic to cats.
On the other hand, if you want to feed your cat a cooked banana without any add-ons, feel free to do so. Warm bananas will have a more appealing smell and digest easier.
Is Banana Peel Safe for Cats?
Some cats see no interest in banana flesh but find the banana peel highly app-peeling, which causes owners’ confusion. Is banana peel safe for cats, and what causes such an odd craving?
Banana peel doesn’t contain toxic to felines chemicals, but most cats will have a gastroenteric upset after eating even a small piece because the banana peel is tough.
A cat may struggle to chew banana peel properly and swallow it without sufficient mastication. Firstly, that’s a choking hazard. Secondly, even if a cat manages to swallow the peel, it may cause intestinal blockage, which can be lethal.
Furthermore, the banana peel contains ethyl acetate. Cats hate the smell of this chemical, which makes an obsession with banana peel even more strange.
Scientists aren’t yet sure about the effects of ethyl acetate on felines. Studies suggest that frequent exposure to the chemical can lead to an increase of erythrocytes in blood and weight loss.
To conclude, owners should avoid feeding their cats banana peel. However, a small piece of soft, cooked without spices and sugar peel is unlikely to hurt a cat.
Are There Any Benefits to Feeding Cats Bananas?
Bananas are an excellent source of potassium, fiber, vitamins, niacin, copper, magnesium, and folate. For humans, bananas are among the healthiest snacks, but the health benefits of bananas for cats are doubtful.
On the one hand, vitamins and microelements contained in bananas are essential for cats. Potassium is vital for the proper function of muscles, and folic acid maintains the normal metabolism.
Niacin deficiency in cats can cause weight loss and digestion problems, and so does the lack of fiber. Vets recommend increasing the fiber content in food for cats with chronic constipation.
Copper is necessary for the formulation of collagen and connective tissues, while magnesium is responsible for proper hormone secretion. We won’t even get started with explaining the importance of vitamins for cats.
So, what’s the caveat? Although bananas contain healthy nutrients and microelements, they fail the risk-benefit assessment.
Bananas are high in calories and natural sugars, so frequent banana consumption may lead to a weight increase or diabetes.
The best way to meet a cat’s nutritional needs is to feed it high-quality cat food. Dry cat food is well-balanced and contains all the necessary elements for the proper function of a cat’s body.
In fact, the vitamins and minerals from bananas may lead to over-supplementation of specific elements, which is just as harmful as a deficiency.
How Much Banana to Give a Cat?
Despite the risks, bananas certainly aren’t the worst food one could feed a cat, but moderation is crucial. You may be curious how much banana a cat can eat without adverse effects and long-term consequences.
As a rule of thumb, treats shouldn’t exceed 10% of a cat’s total calorie intake. Adult cats should consume 22-30 calories per pound of weight, so a 10-pound can consume 220-300 calories daily, depending on the energy level.
An average banana contains 90 calories. Calculating the serving size is simple – treats should account for no more than 30 calories, so a cat can eat about one-third of a banana a day.
However, the suitable banana serving size also depends on other food a cat eats. Cats are carnivores, so they lack the enzyme necessary to digest carbohydrates. The feline diet should contain no more than 20% of carbohydrates.
Check your cat’s food label for the carbohydrate content. If the food is already high in carbs, feeding your cat a banana may result in stomach upset.
Possible Side Effects
After giving your cat a banana for the first time, monitor its health state for the first 24 hours. If you notice flatulence, vomiting, or diarrhea, your cat has gastroenteric upset or is intolerant to bananas.
In most cases, gastroenteric upset symptoms last for under 12 hours and don’t require veterinary help. Ensure that your cat has access to fresh water and don’t leave it without supervision.
You may administer your cat probiotics or over-the-counter medications after consulting a vet. If you notice blood in the stool or any symptoms not related to gastroenteric upset, bring your cat to a veterinary clinic.
Fortunately, bananas are unlikely to cause any other adverse effects unless your cat has underlying health conditions or an allergy.
How to Spot a Food Allergy
Food allergies in cats aren’t uncommon, especially when it comes to human food not intended for feline consumption. The symptoms of food allergy in cats are similar to gastroenteric upset, including vomiting, diarrhea, and flatulence.
Sometimes, allergies cause topical symptoms, including skin itchiness leading to frequent scratching, inflammation, and ear infections. In rare cases, food allergy can trigger the respiratory system’s response resulting in coughing and difficulty breathing.
If you notice any of these symptoms, consult your vet regarding suitable treatment, for example, antihistamines.
Why Does My Cat Eats Bananas?
Cats don’t eat fruits in nature, so seeing a cat go bananas over bananas is odd. The most plausible explanation for why a cat likes bananas is that each cat’s personality and food preferences are unique.
Some owners think that their cats love bananas because of their sweetness, but felines don’t have the taste buds necessary to sense sugars. More likely, some cats just like the smell and texture of bananas.
Another version is that cats crave specific microelements contained in bananas. However, we have no way to check whether felines understand which elements they lack and where to find them.
Tips for Feeding Cats Bananas Safely
Assuming you’ve weighed the risks of feeding cats bananas and decided the treat is acceptable for your pet, you may wonder how to minimize the odds of adverse effects.
Start by consulting your vet regarding any underlying conditions your cat has.
If your cat has no health conditions that could worsen from bananas, calculate the suitable serving size based on your cat’s weight. However, start with a smaller serving to ensure your cat doesn’t have an allergy.
Cut bananas into bite-sized pieces or mash them on a plate to make them easier to chew and digest.
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