Are Bananas Safe for My Cat?
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Bananas are a nutritional and convenient snack for humans, but the same may not be true for your pets. If you have a feline family member, for instance, you might be wondering, are bananas good for cats? Or, can cats eat bananas as a treat? Let's take a closer look.
Can Cats Eat Bananas?
While many "people foods," like chocolate, are toxic for cats and other pets, and they should be avoided altogether, bananas aren't toxic to pets. It is one of the fruits that cats can eat safely in small portions. But be sure that your cat doesn't munch on any banana peels; the fruit's skin is a choking hazard and not digestible.
Consuming a large amount of bananas may be problematic and contributes to gastrointestinal signs. Gastrointestinal issues "are most caused by dietary indiscretion," says the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, like when your cat steals a snack from the kitchen table that doesn't end up agreeing with their stomach. Bananas can fall into this category because they don't offer the specific nutrition that cats need. Cats are obligate carnivores, and although they digest well cooked starch, sudden changes in the diet can contribute to gastrointestinal upset.
It's important to choose food for your cat that can easily digest and provides the nutrients they need. If you feed banana to your cat, some of the digestive issues to look for include diarrhea, constipation, vomiting and regurgitation. If you feed banana to your cat, some of the digestive issues to look for include diarrhea, constipation, vomiting and regurgitation. If you notice any of these or other unusual symptoms, contact your veterinarian right away.
Are bananas safe for kittens? Kittens that are weaned (usually around the age of eight weeks) should be fed "a good-quality kitten food," says International Cat Care. A kitten's digestive system is still developing, and introducing a human food at this early stage can cause inflammation, irritation, sensitivity or other distress.
Treat Time: Are Bananas Good for Cats?
Treats should make up less than 10% of your pet's caloric intake, says the Cummings Veterinary Medical Center at Tufts University, and a little banana goes a long way toward that calorie count.
Can cats eat bananas as a nutritious snack? Again, the answer is yes, but in moderation. Because they are calorie-rich, bananas are not at the top of the cat treat list, and your cat may not even want to eat bananas. As Cat Health points out, a cat's "sweet" taste bud receptors are not very strong, so they are not instinctively drawn to sweet foods like bananas. However, if given the chance, many cats may take the opportunity to try something new.
Although bananas are on the safe list, there are certain fruits that you should never feed your cat, including the following:
- Citrus fruits (oranges, tangerines, lemons, grapefruit, limes, etc.)
If your furry friend ingests any of these or other toxic foods, contact your vet or an emergency vet clinic right away to determine treatment.
So, can cats eat bananas? As an occasional, fun treat for your kitty, sure, but the better option is to give them healthy cat treats (in moderation) and meals that are specifically formulated with the nutrition they need. Cats require a meat-based meal plan with the right balance of protein and other nutrients, all of which help to keep your feline friend in top form.
Christine Brovelli-O'Brien holds a Ph.D. in English and is an accomplished storyteller and lifelong pet lover. A professional member of the Cat Writers' Association, her work has received Muse Medallions and Certificates of Excellence. When she’s not exploring pet health and behavior, she’s busy mothering one child and four pets.