Banana is not toxic to cats, but it’s not necessarily healthy. If your cat is fed a few pieces of sliced banana occasionally, its life won’t be adversely affected. However, too much banana can be bad for your cat.
Bananas are safe for cats to eat in moderation. They are a good source of potassium, vitamin B6, manganese, and fiber. Unfortunately, bananas are very high in simple sugars (carbs) and calories. If eaten to excess, a cat will gain weight and experience stomach upsets. You should limit a cat’s intake of banana to two small slices per day.
Most cats will show little-to-no interest in eating banana as they are not interested in sweet tastes. However, banana does have a distinctive scent, and cats will be curious about the unusual, distinct flavor.
Table of Contents:
- 1 Can Bananas Make a Cat Sick?
- 2 Do Cats Like Bananas?
- 3 Are Bananas Good for Cats To Eat?
- 4 Are Bananas Bad For Cats?
- 5 Should My Cat Eat Bananas?
Can Bananas Make a Cat Sick?
Any food has the potential to make a cat sick if eaten to excess. Similarly, cats could be allergic to any food. However, bananas are considered safe for cats to eat, and don’t appear on any toxic foods list.
However, there is a difference between “safe” and “advisable.” Just because bananas are not harmful to cats, they shouldn’t make up the core of a cat’s diet. If offered at all, bananas should be an occasional treat.
Do Cats Like Bananas?
As explained by PloS Genetics, cats cannot taste sugars. Your cat will wonder what you are doing when you peel a banana, though. It’s safe to offer a slice as it will likely be indifferent to the taste.
There are exceptions to every rule as some cats enjoy sweet-tasting fruits. As a species, cats will always be more interested in protein-rich foods. If your cat does beg for some banana, it is likely just curious.
Bananas have a strong, distinctive scent. Some cats will be deterred by this, while others may find it appealing. Also, the cat will see you eating a banana. As cats are natural imitators, it may want to do the same as you.
If your cat wants to try banana, offer it a small piece. It’s likely the cat will spit it out. If that’s the case, do not worry. The limited health benefits of bananas do not make them worth introducing to your cat’s diet.
Are Bananas Good for Cats To Eat?
This does not mean that banana is not healthy for cats. Just do not feed your cat banana, expecting to improve its health drastically. The gains will be marginal, so rely on high-quality food and a balanced diet.
The main reason for eating bananas is their rich potassium content. Potassium is the mineral responsible for heart and kidney health, which is essential in senior cats.
However, well-balanced senior cat food will provide all the vitamins and minerals that your cat needs. If further supplementation is required, take advice from a vet. Potassium should make up 0.6% of a cat’s daily diet.
If your cat’s blood potassium is low, it will develop hypokalemia. The occasional feeding of bananas, in appropriate doses, can stave this off. Equally, excessive banana can result in hyperkalemia.
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
Vitamin B6 is critical for the performance of the organs in the feline body. It is essential for kidney function. This vitamin is shed in urine throughout the day and needs to be replaced.
Do not rely exclusively on bananas for Vitamin B6. A cat will need more banana than it is safe to eat to get the required amount.
Manganese can be beneficial to the skin as it encourages the creation of collagen. However, cats require little manganese to meet their daily needs. A deficiency of manganese oxide is very rare in cats.
Are Bananas Bad For Cats?
As mentioned, bananas are not toxic to cats. All the same, despite the limited advantages, they are not a feline superfood. Take the following risks into consideration before feeding your cat banana:
Simple Sugars (Carbohydrates)
The average banana contains around 17g of naturally-occurring sugar. That’s more sugar than is found in strawberries.
The obvious risk of sugary foods is obesity. Senior cats, in particular, move less than they once did. This means that a cat’s calorie intake must be controlled. If a cat is consuming empty calories, it will gain weight.
Obesity leads to a heightened risk of feline diabetes. The Journal of Nutrition confirms that weight gain is linked to diabetes in cats. What’s more, bananas will spike blood sugar in the short-term. Even if your cat is not diabetic, it may experience an energy crash.
We need to consider the impact that sugar has on a cat’s teeth. Dental issues can be problematic for senior cats. There are risks involved with professional tooth cleaning, so it is best avoided. A low-sugar diet reduces the chances of your cat’s teeth developing plaque.
High in Fiber
Fiber helps the digestive tract to manage food and pass it as healthy waste. Bananas are high in fiber and, in theory, make a great feline snack.
A cat that is fed a high-quality, balanced diet will receive all the fiber it needs. Adding more fiber can cause digestive upset, so your cat is likely to get diarrhea. This, in turn, will leave the cat dehydrated.
Also, it takes a cat time to process fiber, so your cat will be fuller for longer. It will not bother you for food or treats. This slow digestion can also leave a cat feeling sluggish and bloated, though.
Only give your cat additional fiber if recommended by a vet. As an obligate carnivore, a cat will always need protein over other food groups.
Weight Gain And Obesity
Carbohydrates are one of the five major food groups. In felines, carbohydrates are surplus to requirements. Cats eating carbs are consuming empty calories. If the cat does not burn off these calories, obesity is likely in the long run.
As explained by Veterinary Sciences, carbs are detrimental to a cat’s long-term health. Wild cats actively seek out low-carbohydrate diets. Wild prey, such as rodents or birds, offer pure protein. A domesticated cat begging for carbs is a learned behavior.
Your cat may develop a taste for carbs if it eats low-quality wet food. Some manufacturers pack food with carb-rich filler ingredients. With 27g of carbs in the average banana, these fruits must be consumed in moderation.
Should My Cat Eat Bananas?
Having weighed up the pros and cons of cats eating bananas, you can now make an informed choice. Your cat is not missing out on any nutrition. Bananas are an optional extra, not a core ingredient of the feline diet.
If your cat does like bananas, ensure it does not react adversely to the fruit. If your cat is sluggish and appears uncomfortable, cease feeding it chunks of banana. Clearly, the cat is struggling to digest this fruit.
Also, watch out for allergy symptoms. If your cat displays any of these warning signs after eating banana, stop feeding it at once:
- Excessive scratching
- Breakouts of spots or hives on the skin
- Streaming from the eyes or nose
- Difficulty breathing
Bananas should make up no more than 10% of a cat’s daily food allowance. Any more than this risks stomach upset and weight gain.
If you decide to offer your cat banana, you also need to consider how. Fresh banana, a maximum of two slices per day, is recommended. Alternatively, you may wish to offer banana in different forms.
Do Cats Eat Banana Peel?
Your cat will likely avoid the peel. This is because banana peel contains salicylic acid. This provides the most concentrated doses of goodness from a banana. Unfortunately, the smell will deter most cats.
Even if the cat gets past the scent, banana peel is tough. Many cats will struggle to chew through this part of the fruit. This makes banana peel a choking hazard as your cat may attempt to swallow before sufficient mastication.
Again, even if the cat manages to force down banana peel, it takes even longer to digest. If a large enough piece is consumed, it could cause an intestinal blockage.
Can Cats Eat Frozen Bananas?
A cat that enjoys banana may appreciate frozen slices in the summer. Dilute the banana with water before serving.
It makes the fruit a little more moist and easier to digest. It also aids hydration, but banana contains less water than many fruits.
Frozen banana must be served in moderation. The water will do nothing to negate the sugar or fiber content.
Can Cats Eat Banana Bread?
The scent of banana bread will often attract cats. Cats love the scent of fresh bread due to the presence of yeast.
Banana bread has other ingredients that cats enjoy. Butter, for example, has a pleasingly fatty flavor. Some cats also enjoy eating nuts. None of the ingredients in banana bread are good for cats, though.
In addition, you must never offer the raw ingredients of banana bread mix to a cat. The yeast will cook and expand in the warmth of a cat’s stomach. This will lead to significant gastric distress and discomfort.
Can Cats Eat Banana Chips?
Banana chips are the best way to manage a feline banana craving. These fruits are small and easily digestible. You can also manage your cat’s banana intake when offering chips. They make a great training reward, if your cat is so inclined.
The best way to offer banana chips to a cat is to get a dehydrator. This is considerably healthier than relying upon store-bought chips. The latter are usually deep-fried in fat and add salt for flavor.
By slicing and dehydrating at home, you know exactly what you are offering your cat. It’s a little more work, but it will pay off in the longer term. If your cat does develop a taste for these treats, they need to be prepared appropriately.
Can Cats Eat Mashed Banana?
We have discussed how banana is high in fiber, which can cause diarrhea. Ordinarily, banana mash is something to avoid. The one exception to this rule is when a cat is constipated.
Mash an appropriate dosage of banana up and add water for hydration. Mix this in with food or serve in a saucer as a small treat. Just be prepared to manage the consequences.
Can Cats Drink Banana Milk?
Never offer a cat banana milk. This is for the same reason that you should never offer cats milk. Most felines are lactose intolerant. The cat will suffer gas, bloating, and diarrhea after consuming a dairy-based treat.
Banana milk will also contain more sugar and fat than traditional milk. It’s harder to manage liquid intake than solids. This means that your cat could drink to excess in a short space of time.
Bananas are not harmful to cats, but neither are they beneficial. If your cat enjoys this fruit, offer it occasionally and in small doses.