Can cats eat bananas, or are you bananas to think so?
Cats are not known for their taste for fruit. Vegetarian and vegan cat foods exist, but cat nutritionists generally agree that fruit shouldn’t be a significant part of a cat’s diet.
The problem is that cats are naturally curious. No matter how nutritious their usual dry, semi-moist, or wet food is, cats usually want to try anything interesting lying around the house, even if a tailor-made, delicious meal is sitting untouched on their plate.
But, can cats eat bananas? Read on and get all the facts!
Is it safe for cats to eat bananas?
In theory, bananas are safe for cats to eat, but they are not the healthiest food to serve to your feline.
Bananas may be rich in vitamins and minerals, but they also deliver a big carbohydrate hit to your cat’s system. Carbs are redundant in a feline diet, although used frequently to bulk up commercial cat food products since they are cost-effective and deliver fast-release energy.
The major drawbacks of high levels of carbs in a cat’s diet are the:
- Danger of gastrointestinal problems
- Risk of weight gain
- Possibility of developing diabetes
- Potential allergic reaction
Danger of gastrointestinal problems
Bananas, being carb-rich, may cause digestive problems, including:
While most gastrointestinal problems solve themselves within 24 hours, if your cat does not eat for more than a day, it may lead to rapid weight loss, which can cause liver damage as the body tries to mobilise fat reserves to generate energy.
Dehydration due to stomach upsets is also a worry, so you should avoid bananas if your cat has a sensitive stomach.
Risk of weight gain
Felines who are frequently fed bananas or any carb-rich diet tend to experience short spurts of energy directly after eating, followed by a bout of lethargy as the effect of the carbs wears off. If the fast-release energy generated by carbs isn’t used up quickly, it gets stored as fat cells in your cat’s body. Indulging in carbs can soon lead to your kitty becoming more pear-shaped.
The weight gain has several knock-on effects, such as:
- Joint pain resulting from extra weight
- Lack of mobility since your cat won’t be able to jump or run as effectively
- Heart issues and breathing difficulties
Possibility of developing diabetes
Cats have a delicate pancreas as their natural feeding regimen does not include much carb intake. The carbs a cat gets in the wild come from an occasional nibble of grass, so carb-rich bananas should also be only an occasional indulgence.
Overloading your feline’s system with carbs can cause their pancreas to fail over time, meaning that the cat cannot produce and release sufficient insulin to deal with the sugar circulating in their bloodstream.
Cat food allergies
Your cat may get a food allergy after eating a banana.
Food allergies occur when your cat’s body mistakes a particular protein for a harmful invader and initiates an immune response.
The symptoms you should look for are:
- Red pustules on the skin
- Itchiness and constant licking
- Difficulty swallowing
- Runny or swollen mucous membranes
If you see your cat exhibiting any of these, you should eliminate bananas from their diet immediately and seek help from your vet.
How much banana can you safely give to your cat?
In case you are going to feed your cat bananas, you should make sure you only do it in small, bite-sized amounts as an occasional treat.
Thankfully, most cats will be uninterested in bananas anyway as cats rarely have a sweet tooth. Banana skin also emits ethyl acetate, the smell of which cats dislike.
If your feline is the exception and demands a piece of your banana, you should:
- Only break off a small slice as a treat
- Make sure the skin is kept well away from your kitty as it is likely to cause digestive problems if eaten
- Be strict in rationing your banana treats—a small bite once a week is enough
- Watch out for any digestive issues or signs of an allergy
Breakfast….best meal of the day!
Can cats eat fruit in general?
Bananas may be safe in moderation, but other fruit can be dangerous for cats.
Many citrus fruits, in particular, are toxic to cats as they lack the resources to deal with the acidity. The following are guaranteed to cause a stomach upset or other harmful reactions:
When served in moderation, safe fruits for cats include:
While they are safe, this doesn’t mean they are healthy. Similar to bananas, any fruit will give your feline a huge carb hit, so only give them to your cat occasionally.
What should cats eat?
Cats are obligate carnivores, so their diet should consist of:
- Animal protein
- Animal fat
- Essential vitamins and minerals
Although you can find proponents of vegetarian or vegan cat food, cats need the amino acids from animal protein. Non-animal proteins contain no taurine and are considerably harder for cats to metabolise.
As an example, you can check the biological values (BV) of various protein sources. This indicates what percentage of the protein a cat can use. Keep in mind that the best vegetable protein is not as digestible as the worst animal source:
● Pork or ham
● Other vegetable proteins
High animal protein values in your cat’s food mean that muscles, organs, and skin and coat stay in optimal condition, with feeding portions remaining small. This places less pressure on your feline’s digestive system and is closer to the feline natural diet.
Fat is a solid energy source for cats, second only to animal protein, but many manufacturers choose to deliver calories through carbs or vegetable proteins to keep their production costs low.
Energy derived from fat is slow-release, meaning that your cat doesn‘t suffer from sudden spurts followed by lethargy, often caused by carb-rich meals.
Slow energy release helps reduce the stress placed on your feline’s pancreas because there is no need to flood the body with insulin to deal with high levels of sugar right after a meal.
Fat also delivers essential fatty acids, such as:
- Linoleic acid
- Arachidonic acid
- Omega-6 and omega-3 acids
These help maintain cell membrane structure and regulate a cat’s inflammatory healing response.
The biggest bonus of food that uses fat to deliver high calorific content is that it tastes great. Cats love the taste of animal fat, so getting your kitty to eat is usually no problem. You may even have trouble stopping them from gorging themselves.
Essential vitamins and minerals
Cats need specific micronutrients in their food to stay healthy. Vitamins C and K can be produced in cats‘ bodies, but others must come from your kitty’s food.
The best sources of vitamins are presented in the table below.
● Egg yolk
Vitamin B complex
● Fish oil
● Wheat germ oil
Small amounts of the following minerals are also necessary in a cat’s diet:
These are all present in sufficient quantities in meat and fish.
The Untamed range of protein sources
Image (c) Untamed
What does Untamed food contain?
Untamed understands what cats need to live a long and healthy life.
Our recipes are designed to give your cat the ultimate nutritional value in small, easily digestible portions, and all our products adhere to the following standards:
- Only animal protein sources
- Human-grade ingredients
- Vet-formulated recipes
- Ethical production methods
Animal protein sources
Every tin of Untamed contains nothing but the best animal protein—no grains and cereals or ingredients redundant in your cat’s natural diet.
With twice the amount of protein you find in most commercial cat foods, Untamed is the best you can do for your cat.
With such high nutritional value, Untamed is suitable for:
By varying the feeding amounts, you can adjust the meal plan according to your cat’s:
Animal protein as the main ingredient can also have a beneficial effect on many common feline health conditions, including:
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs), such as cystitis or bladder stones
- Shedding and hairballs
- Dental problems, particularly in older cats with no teeth
- Food allergies or fussiness
- Digestion issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
If it has been selected for Untamed, it’s good enough for you.
All our ingredients go through stringent quality controls—we only select human-grade ingredients for our foods. We do not use offcuts, offal, or meat derivatives, but only the best meat cuts you would choose for yourself.
Our recipes have been developed in collaboration with vets and are complete and balanced.
Ethical production methods
Untamed is all about keeping both your cat and the planet healthy.
Our packaging is 100% recyclable, and our meat and fish are sourced using cruelty-free, dolphin-safe, and sustainable methods.
With all this goodness for your feline, you should give Untamed a try and see how your cat soon loses interest in anything else!
How can I get my cat to try Untamed?
The easiest way to avoid cats craving exotic treats like bananas is to make sure your food satisfies all their desires.
Untamed makes getting the best for your kitty easy—all you need to do is:
- Tell us more about your cat
- Review the meal plan generated
- Order your kitty’s trial pack
Once the first batch of tailored cat food arrives, your feline will get the chance to taste and decide what they like the most. After your kitty goes wild for Untamed, we will make sure your cupboard is never bare by delivering cat food in bulk every month—with free shipping.
The benefits of feeding your cat the Untamed diet should be noticeable in no time:
The Untamed effect
Within a week
● More energy
● Less mess in the litter tray
After two months
● A sleeker, shinier coat
● Fewer problems with hairballs
Within four months
● A leaner, more muscular physique
● Fewer digestive problems
● Natural weight control
● No desire for exotic treats or forbidden fruit
That’s more like it!
Image (c) Untamed
What other foods should cats avoid?
Besides fruit, there are a few other foods that your cat shouldn’t eat:
- Onions, garlic, and chives
- Cocoa products
- Caffeine and alcohol
- Dairy products
- Food containing raw yeast
Onions, garlic, and chives
You should be careful with these household staples lying around the kitchen.
Onions and other allium vegetables can break cats‘ red blood cells down, resulting in anaemia. The effect can be cumulative if your cat eats small amounts over time or acute if a large portion is devoured in one go.
The typical signs of anaemia are listlessness and paling of the gums. If your kitty is normally sedentary, the symptoms may be difficult to spot, so you must keep onions, garlic, and similar vegetables hidden away.
Foods that contain cacao beans are highly toxic to cats.
- All types of chocolate
- Cocoa powder
- Milk flavour powders, such as Nesquik
The toxic reaction caused by cacao beans can be vomiting, diarrhoea, seizures, an overactive bladder, and heart arrhythmia. Any product with cacao beans should be kept securely out of reach of even the most curious of cats.
Caffeine and alcohol
Cats are even worse at handling stimulants and relaxants than we are. While it is unlikely that your feline will be allowed to drink directly from your coffee cup or wine glass, you should be careful with food containing alcohol.
The smell of beef bourguignon or coq-au-vin may drive your kitty wild, but the alcohol could cause liver damage, nausea, and even multiple organ failure.
Cats, like most adult mammals, cannot metabolise lactose. The kitty that got the cream can easily get diarrhoea, so you should avoid all dairy products, including:
If the saucer eyes prove irresistible, you can give them a teaspoon of milk once a week to stop the begging without causing tummy upsets.
Food containing raw yeast
Dough, cake mix, and other products containing yeast can start to ferment in a cat’s stomach, causing:
- The release of gases, resulting in bloat
- Alcohol to form and damage the liver
You should keep yeast-based products well away from prying paws.
My mummy was a squirrel, you know.
What else is toxic to cats?
Many household plants are toxic to cats, including:
- Easter lilies, tiger lilies, and daylilies
- Croton (Joseph's Coat)
- Narcissus daffodils
- Rubber plants
- Weeping fig plants
- Swiss cheese plant
- Christmas Cherry
- Holly berries
Your best bet is to get rid of these plants altogether—moving them to an inaccessible location often makes them more enticing.
If your feline is prone to nibbling on grass in the garden, you should also make sure your lawn has not been treated with any herbicides or pesticides as these could be poisonous.
There is no concrete data on why cats chew grass, but the behaviour may indicate a craving for the moisture in the stems, especially if they don’t drink enough water.
Install water stations around the house to allow your cat to stay hydrated. Since felines are not avid drinkers, you should switch from dry kibble to a more moisture-rich option or mix the biscuits with broth or soup.
I am vegan except for the occasional daily meal of meat….you got a problem with that?
What can happen if your cat eats something toxic?
You should get your cat to a vet as soon as you notice any signs of a toxic reaction.
If you can identify the possible cause, your vet will prescribe the correct treatment immediately, so a quick check for any signs of nibbling is wise.
The best cure is prevention, though.
To keep your kitty safe from falling victim to natural curiosity, you should get into the habit of:
- Clearing away any dangerous foods in your kitchen right after use
- Making sure chocolate is not left lying around the house
- Installing cat-proof locks on cupboards and drawers with harmful foods
- Setting up exclusion zones while you are cooking (this may be deafening)
- Keeping a rigorous cleaning regimen for spills and stains in your kitchen
Check out our other guides to what cats can or cannot eat: