One of the challenges of pet ownership is remembering which human foods are dangerous to cats. We all eat our five fruit and vegetables a day, so we assume that feeding cats bananas will be a highly beneficial part of a feline’s diet plan.
Some cats do develop a taste for bananas. We will look at whether there are any genuine health benefits to feeding cats bananas as part of their regular diet.
- 1 Do Cats Like Bananas?
- 2 Will Bananas Make My Cat Sick?
- 3 Are Bananas Good for Cats?
- 4 Can Cats Eat Banana Peels?
- 5 Can Cats Eat Frozen Banana?
- 6 Can Cats Eat Banana Bread?
- 7 Can Cats Eat Banana Chips?
- 8 Can Cats Eat Mashed Banana?
- 9 Can Cats Drink Banana Milk?
Do Cats Like Bananas?
Cats tend to have a complex relationship with bananas. Your pet will likely come to investigate when you start peeling one of these yellow fruits.
They’re curious about what you’re up to, and the smell may also pique their interest. If your pet is particularly inquisitive, they may also want a taste.
The reason for the curiosity is the smell. While some cats will be interested in it, others will be deterred. Bananas are not a citrus fruit, but their peels do contain citric acid.
This means that some cats will pick up on that scent, and react accordingly. Remember, citrus fruits are a feline deterrent.
Despite this, there is no guarantee that bananas will daunt your cat. Every feline is different, and some have particular tastes. It would be inaccurate to say that bananas ate a feline favorite.
As a sweet fruit, they can be challenging for your pet to taste. Some cats develop a fascination with the texture and shape of bananas, however.
If your pet is among the rare number that enjoys bananas, they’re not poisonous. The ASPCA lists banana on their non-toxic plant directory.
You’ll still need to feed the fruit in moderation, though. Also, don’t be surprised if your cat is wholly indifferent. Fruit is rarely at the top of the treat list for any feline.
Can Cats Taste Banana?
In addition to citric acid in the peel, many cats reject bananas due to their sweetness. Cat tongues cannot detect sweetness, meaning that many fruits fail to tickle their palate.
Bananas are among the sweetest, most sugary fruits of all. This makes them the very definition of empty calories for a cat.
Cats cannot taste sweetness due to a lack of need. As obligate carnivores, felines need meat and protein to thrive and survive. In the wild, cats obtained this protein by hunting and killing wild prey.
Your pet will not need to go to these lengths. Evolution still applies to domesticated housecats though, and your cat will be unable to taste sweetness.
Cats have never needed to develop a taste for fruit, or plant life, after all. For more insight into the science behind feline disinterest in sugar, investigate this essay in the journal Nature.
There is always an exception to every rule. It’s far from unheard of for cats to cats to enjoy eating bananas. This is more likely to be a combination of scent and texture than taste, however.
Also, don’t neglect to consider that a cat considers a banana to be fun to eat. As cats chew vertically, not horizontally, working their way through a long banana may be enjoyable.
There is also the fact that felines are born imitators to take into consideration. If your cat has watched you eating bananas, they may want to give them a try.
Will Bananas Make My Cat Sick?
Bananas are not toxic to felines. However, eating them can still affect your pet’s health. Don’t offer your cat banana unless they beg. If your pet does show an interest, feed them in small quantities.
The primary way that bananas will affect your cat is through sugar and carbohydrates. Your cat will gain weight if they eat too many bananas. Obesity can be dangerous to cats, and must be avoided.
Bananas can also spike your pet’s blood sugar, leading to diabetes. While diabetes in cats is not necessarily a fatal condition, it is debilitating.
Another reason that bananas must be consumed in moderation is their fiber content. In small doses, dietary fiber is good for cats. If they consume too much, then diarrhea is likely.
Can Cats Digest Bananas?
Let’s look at the fiber content in a little more detail. Fiber slows down the digestive process in your cat’s gut. This means that your cat will feel fuller, for longer. This, in turn, means that your cat is unlikely to beg for treats. This all sounds like a good thing, right?
Unfortunately, there is a flipside to this. Due to their carnivorous nature, cats struggle to digest plant-based foods. This includes bananas.
If your cat eats a whole banana in one sitting, they’re likely to experience digestive problems. This could result in vomiting and diarrhea, chronic gas, and abdominal pain.
If your cat appears to be having digestive issues, never use human medication. Pepto-Bismol, in particular, is toxic to felines. The symptoms should pass given time, but see a vet if you’re concerned.
As always, moderation is essential. A little goes a long way when it comes to bananas. Chopping a small amount off the top will be fine as the occasional treat. Substantial chunks of banana, however, will cause all manner of issues.
Hopefully, this goes without saying, but you should also never offer a cat rotten banana. Their nose will likely reject it anyway. If not, a cat’s sensitive stomach will react very strongly.
Are Cats Allergic to Bananas?
Bananas are not considered to be a trigger food for cat allergies. However, any cat could be allergic to anything. Your pet may also react to the sugar found in the banana.
If your cat is experiencing banana for the first time, only provide a small piece. You’ll need to carefully assess your pet for any reaction. The common symptoms of feline food allergies are:
- Itchy skin, leading to constant scratching. The ears, lower back, and tail are most likely to be affected
- Runny and streaming eyes
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Swelling around the paws, potentially leading to chewing
- Inflammation in the throat, leading to labored breathing and snoring
If you spot any signs of an allergic reaction in your cat, speak to a vet. The issues may resolve themselves, given time. There is nothing to gain by taking any chances, though.
Are Bananas Good for Cats?
We have spent a great deal of time discussing the dangers of bananas for cats. It should be noted that they’re not all bad, though. Bananas are considered a great source of many vitamins and minerals for humans, after all,
In addition to the high levels of fiber, bananas sizable quantities of potassium. This mineral is pivotal to your cat’s health, promoting good performance from the heart and kidneys.
Finding a balance is pivotal, however. Too much potassium in a cat’s body is just as dangerous as insufficient amounts.
Low blood potassium leads to a condition known as hypokalemia. As Wag Walking explains, the symptoms of hypokalemia include:
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Uncharacteristic lethargy, and difficulty moving
- Lack of appetite, and sudden weight loss
- Muscle wastage and potential paralysis
- Difficulty breathing, potentially leading to respiratory failure
- Increased heart rate
- Increased thirst and urination – possibly outside the litter tray
- Decreased quality of the fur
- Excessive verbalizing due to pain
All of these symptoms are extremely serious, and require the attention of a vet. What’s more, hypokalemia can be linked to chronic kidney failure.
A cat that lives with this issue can be in real trouble. See a vet at the first sign of hypokalemia, and seek treatment. This could involve supplementation, intravenous therapy or oxygen therapy.
Of course, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. Excessive levels of potassium lead to a condition called hyperkalemia. The symptoms of this condition are a little different. These include:
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle spasms and twitches
- Lethargy and depression
- Loss of muscle tone and strength
- Fainting spells
In theory, quality cat food will contain enough potassium to meet your pet’s needs. According to Pet Coach, this should amount to around 0.6%.
Check the content of your cat’s meal, and discuss with a vet whether this is suitable. If your cat is low on potassium, a little banana will boost their levels.
There are a great many other health benefits to bananas for humans. Sadly, cats do not experience any of these! There is one other medicinal use that bananas can serve in felines, however.
Can Cats Eat Bananas for Diarrhea?
As discussed, the fiber content in bananas can affect a cat’s digestion. In some instances, this will lead to diarrhea. In others, however, it can have the opposite impact. Constipation is rarely good, but bananas can help a cat struggling with diarrhea.
If your cat does have a bout of diarrhea, offer them a small slice of banana. Your cat may not be interested, but if so, it’ll help. Banana alone is not a medicinal treatment, though. If your cat has been struggling with diarrhea for over 24 hours, they need veterinary attention.
Bananas can also be used to encourage a cat to eliminate. The fiber will clear any blockages, and encourage your cat to poop. This can be dangerous, however, due to the sugar in bananas. Tinned pumpkin is a safer option.
How Much Banana is Safe for Cats?
If your cat does have a taste for banana, it must be provided in very small doses. Two small pieces per day are the maximum that your cat should eat. What would be better is if your cat is restricted to banana once or twice a week.
It’s also vital that you never give a cat a whole banana in one sitting. As well as the possibility for digestive issues, this will be far too calorific.
An average, medium-sized banana will contain 100 calories. A typical cat needs around 200 calories per day to thrive. As a banana doesn’t contain any other essential nutrients, that’s a waste.
If your cat has not yet reached maturity, they should never eat bananas. Kittens are still growing. Their tiny bodies cannot cope with the high amount of carbs.
A pregnant cat should also never eat bananas completely. While a cat is pregnant, their stomach will be particularly sensitive. Banana can, and likely will, irritate them.
If your cat has a taste for banana, bring it into their routine as a treat. This means slicing the banana into small pieces, and feeding in moderation. If your cat doesn’t show any interest, however, don’t force banana upon them. Little good will arise from it.
Can Cats Eat Banana Peels?
Regardless of your cat’s personal views on bananas, one thing is almost inevitable. The peel will be unappealing. This is due to the extremely strong smell.
Banana peels are what gives the fruit their distinct scent. As cats have such a strong sense of smell, they may initially be intrigued. This intrigue will likely turn to disdain before you know it, however. The acids found in banana peel will have a cat turning tail in no time.
Despite this, the banana peel is used in food preparation outside of the west. Your cat may even be eating it without realizing it. The peel of the fruit is also packed with potassium and magnesium.
It is best to avoid offering your cat banana peel. This tough skin of the fruits will be hard for your pet to digest. There is also a risk of choking, as your cat may not even manage to swallow.
The best use of banana peel with cats is as a deterrent. Rub the interior of the peel around any furniture that your pet tends to scratch.
Can Cats Eat Frozen Banana?
If your cat does enjoy banana, then frozen slices make a great treat on a summer’s day. Bananas do not contain as much water as other fruits, so the ice will hydrate.
Your cat would also benefit from adding water to their banana in general. This will moisten the fruit up a little, easing digestion. It will also trick your cat into thinking they are eating more. Alongside the fiber found in bananas, this is a great way to prevent a cat overeating.
Freeze some small chunks of banana with water in an ice tray. You could also include a little of your cat’s wet or dry food, if necessary. This will tempt your pet into eating, and they’ll love the treat.
Can Cats Eat Banana Bread?
Banana bread is delicious. It will also emit a very particular scent, which is likely to attract your cat’s attention. If you’re tucking into a loaf of banana bread, is it safe to share a slice with a curious cat?
To answer this question, let’s take a look at the typical ingredients of banana bread:
- Butter – not ideal for felines
- Salt – just a pinch, but still dangerous. Cats are always at risk of dehydration
- Sugar – bananas are already high in sugar. Adding more just adds more risk
- Baking Soda – knocks your cat’s chemical balance and electrolytes off-kilter
- Walnuts – cause diarrhea, and even potential heart problems
- Three bananas
Banana bread is dangerous for cats. The ingredients above will be spread thin throughout the loaf. All the same, is it worth taking any chances?
Can Cats Eat Banana Chips?
Dried bananas, served as small chips, are a favorite human snack. If your cat has a taste for banana, these chips may be an ideal option. You can control the portion size, and your pet is less likely to become sick.
Look carefully at the ingredients of banana chips before offering them to your cat, though. Many over-the-counter products are packed with salt and oils. This means that it will be high in fat. This could, like a full banana, obliterate your pet’s daily calorie allowance.
If you visit a health food store, you’re more likely to find an organic, cat-friendly offering. Alternatively, you could make your own. If your cat loves banana, consider investing in a food dehydrator. That way, you can make banana chips without the use of oil.
Can Cats Eat Mashed Banana?
Mashing and puréeing banana is the best way to get fiber into a constipated cat. When the fruit is served this way, you can also add more water for additional hydration.
Mashed banana is also a way of sneaking a little more potassium into your pet’s diet. You can stir the banana in with wet or dry food. If you’re lucky, your cat will not even notice it’s there. Be prepared, however – your pet may take one sniff and reject the entire meal.
It can also be easy to overfeed a cat with mashed banana. If this is your serving suggestion, cut the fruit into slices first. That way, you will still only be providing an appropriate quantity.
Can Cats Drink Banana Milk?
Cats should not drink cow’s milk. Many felines are lactose intolerant, and rather than refreshing them, milk will cause a stomach upset. Sure, cats like milk, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for them.
Banana milkshake usually has just a hint of fruity taste. Also, it’s heavily sweetened. This means that banana milk is twice as risky as the traditional drink. Keep banana milk well away from your cat.
Cats and bananas are not necessarily a match made in heaven. Like all fruits, the sweetness found in bananas will deter many felines. This could be considered a good thing, as there are health benefits to cats eating bananas. The potassium contained within them is the only real boon to cat health.
Having said that, if your cat has a taste for banana, it’s fun as an occasional treat. You need to ensure that you keep the portions under control. If a cat eats banana to excess, their stomach will react adversely. The very occasional slice, however, will keep your pet happy and healthy.