We’ve all been there.
You’re prepping food at your counter, and a small piece of food falls on the floor. As a pet owner, you leave it there for your furry little vacuum to come clean it up so you don’t have to bend over.
But have you given much thought into what foods might be good for your cat?
Have you ever thought of giving your cat that gross, over-ripe piece of banana that you don’t want to eat?
Can cats eat bananas?
In short, yes, your cat can eat bananas, but please read this article for a full investigation on whether or not you should give Snowball that piece of banana.
Who knows…maybe he will even go bananas for them…
Are Bananas Good For Cats?
Right off the bat, the ASPCA, or American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, lists bananas as a non-toxic treat for cats, which means bananas are safe for cats to consume.
There are two nutrients in bananas that are beneficial for cats in moderation. Vitamins A and C are also found in bananas, but cats are not able to absorb those vitamins like humans do.
The potassium in bananas support healthy heart and kidney functions.
Fiber isn’t necessary in a cat’s diet, but fiber aids in preventing obesity.
Fiber makes the stomach feel fuller without needing to eat as much, resulting in less calories eaten, and less weight gained. Fiber also helps in the treatment of diarrhea and constipation.
Are Bananas Bad for Cats?
The worst part of the banana for a cat is the peel.
This is a choking hazard for cats since they struggle to swallow the peel.
At a very basic level, cats are obligate carnivores, and having a high-protein diet is essential.
Plant-based foods provide almost no benefits to cats, and as long as their daily food has enough protein, fruits and vegetables do not need to be incorporated into your cat’s diet.
Bananas are high in carbohydrates, which is not an essential nutrient for your cat, and can lead to weight gain. The average house cat is relatively lazy and doesn’t move around much throughout the day.
Without activity, those carbohydrates aren’t being burned off and are instead being stored as fat.
Bananas have a high sugar content which is okay in small, infrequent quantities, but eating sugar regularly can raise your cat’s blood sugar levels.
Cats can’t absorb and digest sugars the way that humans do, and can cause an upset stomach. Increased blood sugar can lead to obesity or diabetes which is an unpleasant experience for you and your cat.
Cat diabetes can have many symptoms, but if you notice your cat is always thirsty, has a lack of appetite, frequent urination, and vomiting, it might be time to take your furry feline friend to the vet!
Also read: Are cats loyal?
Will My Cat Like Bananas?
The answer to this depends heavily on the individual cat. Some cats may love the taste of bananas, while others may turn their nose up at it and walk away.
Cats have receptacles to taste salt, bitter, sour, and savory.
Humans and monkeys are drawn to the tropical sweetness of bananas, but unfortunately cats cannot experience the same flavor.
Your cat might like bananas, but they aren’t tasting bananas the same way you or I might be enjoying one.
Are Cats Scared of Bananas?
Have you seen one of the many, many, videos on the internet of someone putting a banana behind an unsuspecting cat, only for the cat to turn around and jump literally six feet in the air?
Does this mean cats are scared of bananas?
There are three known reasons why cats might be reacting this way.
Cats Do Not Like Surprises
Cat-like reflexes aren’t a myth, cats are very aware of their surroundings and react quickly.
When your cat is resting, and a surprise banana appears behind them, it is likely that the banana will give your cat a scare.
Similar to how friends jumping out from behind doors will scare you, bananas can scare cats
Ripening bananas give off an ethyl acetate smell, which is repulsive to cats.
Ethyl acetate is one of the chemical compounds found in nail polish remover and glues, to give you an idea of why a cat might not enjoy the smell.
They Look Like Snakes
This one is a little controversial, as some cats have never seen a snake in their life.
But studies have shown that the scared jump reaction to a banana looks the same as the reaction to a cat finding a snake. I would react the same way if a snake came up from behind me.
It is actually the same reason why cats are so afraid of one particular vegetable but you can read all about that here: Why are cats so scared of cucumbers?
Can Kittens Eat Bananas?
No, kittens should not eat bananas.
The first year of a cats life, they should only eat specially formulated food so they have the proper amounts of nutrients to develop their growing bodies.
If a kitten stumbles across a piece of banana that was dropped on the floor, it is unlikely that anything bad would happen.
Be sure to watch your kitten eating new foods though, as they might experience an allergic reaction and will need to see a vet if that happens.
How Much Is Too Much?
There is no exact science to exactly how much is too much banana for a cat.
Some cats might be allergic and a small nibble might be too much, a whole banana might be too much for others.
Do your best to avoid feeding your cat more than a marshmallow size amount of banana at any given point.
If you feel like you need to give your cat bananas, do so on an infrequent basis and try to get your cat to drink water afterwards to help digest the banana.
How Should I Feed My Cat Bananas?
If your cat has any health problems related to weight, digestion, respiratory, or heart function, it is advised not to give your cat any banana.
Your vet will likely have already gone over a proper diet and exercise plan with you to keep your cat healthy, and as much as you might want to let your cat try banana, sticking to that would be the best plan for your cat.
If your favorite food is banana, and you really want to try giving some to your cat to see if they like it, you can try feeding them mashed banana in with their kibble.
You can also serve mashed banana with a little bit of water to dilute the sugar a little and to help with digestion.
Please avoid dehydrated banana chips, as the water content from these have been removed which leaves the chip with a higher sugar concentration.
If your cat finds a hidden stash of banana chips, ensure they are drinking lots of water!
If bananas are a new food that your cat is trying, watch them to make sure they aren’t experiencing an allergic reaction.
Watch out for any of the following symptoms over the next few days
- Itchy skin
- Itchy or runny eyes
- Itchy ears or ear infections
If these symptoms don’t go away after a couple days, or if they get worse, bring your kitty to a vet to get checked on.
Would My Cat Like Other Plant-Based Foods?
Your cat might not enjoy any fruit, as they are carnivores and don’t need to eat fruit, or any other plant-based foods.
If you want to try other fruits with your cat, you could try strawberries or apples. Remember to never give your cat the apple seeds though, the seeds in apples contain cyanide which is harmful for them.
If you wanted to try a vegetable, you could try carrots or broccoli to see if your cat likes either of those.
If you are trying new foods, try one for a week to check for any allergy symptoms before switching to a different new food.
This helps your cat adjust to the change in food, and lets you monitor which foods your cat might be allergic to.
I see the appeal that sharing a food with your feline friend might bring, although I highly suggest against feeding your cat any sort of fruits or vegetables.
Cats are carnivorous and survive on a high protein diet, and any treats added to their diet should compliment their food preferences.
Cats aren’t able to taste the sugar in bananas, leaving them with what I can only imagine would be an unpleasant taste.
The side effects from the high sugar content, the carbohydrates, and the potential for a food allergy highly out weight the small benefits that could come from your cat eating bananas.
The benefits can also be replicated with supplements or a change in food brand by your vet, rendering the banana even more pointless.
If you’ve stayed with me this long, thank you for keeping your cat’s best interest at heart, and I’m sure you will continue to make the best choices for your cat.
The ASPCA has listed bananas as non-toxic, so a small snack of bananas occasionally won’t hurt your cat, but there isn’t any proof that bananas are worth giving to your furry feline friend.
It is ultimately your decision, and you know what your cat needs better than anyone else.
And above all; enjoy those warm kitty snuggles!