One of the challenges of pet ownership is remembering which human foods are harmful to cats. We automatically assume that feeding cats bananas will be a beneficial part of a feline’s diet plan.
Your feline’s health can benefit from the vitamins and minerals (potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6, vitamin c, folate, etc.) found in bananas, but not if consumed to excess. Bananas are not harmful to cats, but they have a high sugar content that can lead to obesity. The dietary fiber is beneficial.
Even though felines can’t taste sweetness, some cats can develop a taste for bananas. We’ll look at whether there are any health benefits to feeding cats bananas as part of their diet.
Table of Contents:
- 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 complicated relationship with bananas. Your pet will come to investigate when you start peeling one of these yellow fruits. She’s curious about what you’re up to, and the smell may also pique her interest. If your pet is particularly inquisitive, then she 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 the peel contains citric acid.
Despite this, there is no guarantee that bananas will put off your cat. Every feline is different, and some have particular tastes. It would be inaccurate to say that bananas are a feline favorite.
As a sweet fruit, banana can be difficult for your pet to taste. But some cats develop a fascination with the texture and shape of bananas. If your pet is among the rare number that enjoys bananas, they’re not poisonous. The ASPCA lists banana on its non-toxic plant directory.
You’ll still need to feed the fruit in moderation. Also, don’t be surprised if your cat is indifferent. Fruit is rarely a favored 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. A cat’s tongue cannot detect sweetness, meaning that many fruits are unappealing to her palate. Bananas are one of the sweetest, most sugary fruits of all. This makes them the definition of empty calories for cats.
As obligate carnivores, felines need meat and protein to survive. In the wild, cats obtained protein by hunting/killing wild prey. Cats have never needed to develop a taste for fruit or plant life. For more insight into the science behind feline disinterest in sugar, read this essay in the journal Nature.
There is always an exception to every rule. It’s far from unheard of for cats to enjoy eating bananas. This is more likely to be a combination of scent and texture than taste, though.
Also, don’t forget 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 extremely enjoyable to her.
There is also the fact that felines are born imitators to take into consideration. If your cat has watched you eating bananas, she 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 she begs. If your pet does show an interest, feed her in small quantities.
The primary way that bananas will harm your cat is through sugar/carbohydrates. Your cat will gain weight if she eats too many bananas. Obesity can be dangerous for cats and must be avoided.
The regular consumption of bananas can spike your pet’s blood sugar, potentially leading to feline 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 fiber, then diarrhea is likely.
Can Cats Digest Bananas?
Fiber slows down the digestive process in your cat’s gut. Your cat will feel fuller for longer. This, in turn, means that your cat is less likely to beg for treats. Unfortunately, there is a flipside. Due to their carnivorous nature, cats struggle to digest plant-based foods, including bananas.
If your cat eats a whole banana in one sitting, then she’s 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.
Moderation is essential when it comes to bananas. Chopping a small amount off the top will be fine as an occasional treat. A large amount of banana will cause significant digestive issues.
Are Cats Allergic to Bananas?
Bananas are not considered to be a trigger food for cat allergies. However, a cat could be allergic to anything. Your pet may also react to the sugar in bananas. If your cat is eating banana for the first time, only provide a small piece. The common symptoms of feline food allergies are:
- Itchy skin on the ears, lower back, and tail
- 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.
Are Bananas Good for Cats?
Bananas are considered an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. In addition to the high levels of fiber, bananas contain a large amount of potassium. This mineral is crucial to your cat’s health, promoting good heart and kidney health.
But too much potassium is just as harmful as too little potassium. Low blood potassium leads to 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
- Decreased quality of the fur
- Excessive verbalizing due to pain
Hypokalemia can be linked to chronic kidney failure. Treatment could involve supplementation, intravenous therapy, or oxygen therapy. Excessive levels of potassium lead to a condition called hyperkalemia. The symptoms of this condition 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 be 0.6%. If your cat is low on potassium, some banana will boost her levels.
Can Cats Eat Bananas for Diarrhea?
The fiber content can affect a cat’s digestion. In some instances, this will lead to diarrhea. If your cat does have a bout of diarrhea, offer her a slice of banana. Your cat may not be interested, but it’ll help. If your cat has been struggling with diarrhea for over 24 hours, she needs 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. But giving your cat tinned pumpkin is a much safer option.
How Much Banana is Safe for Cats?
Banana must be provided in very small doses. Two small pieces per day are the maximum that your cat should eat. It would be better 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 of 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. As a banana doesn’t provide any other essential nutrients, it’s not recommended.
If your cat has not yet reached maturity, she should never eat bananas. Kittens are still growing, and their bodies cannot cope with the high amount of carbs.
A pregnant cat should never eat bananas. While a cat is pregnant, her stomach will be particularly sensitive. Banana can, and likely will, irritate her stomach.
Can Cats Eat Banana Peels?
The peel will be unappealing due to the overpowering smell. Banana peels are what gives the fruit its distinct scent. As cats have such a strong sense of smell, they may initially be intrigued. But the acids found in the 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 will be hard for your pet to digest. There is also a risk of choking as your cat may not 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 cat scratches.
Can Cats Eat Frozen Banana?
If your cat does enjoy banana, then frozen slices make a nice treat on a summer’s day. Bananas do not contain as much water as other fruits, so the ice will help to hydrate her.
Your cat will also benefit from adding water to the banana. This will moisten the fruit up a little, easing digestion. It will also trick your cat into thinking she is eating more. Alongside the fiber found in bananas, this is a great way to prevent a cat from overeating.
Freeze some small chunks of banana with water in an ice tray. You could also include some of your cat’s wet or dry food. This will help to tempt your cat into eating.
Can Cats Eat Banana Bread?
Banana bread will also emit a scent that will attract your cat’s attention. But it’s unhealthy for cats. Here are the ingredients of banana bread:
- Butter – not ideal for felines
- Salt – just a pinch, but cats are always at risk of dehydration
- Sugar – bananas are high in sugar. Adding more sugar just adds to the risk
- Baking Soda – knocks your cat’s chemical balance and electrolytes off-kilter
- Walnuts – cause diarrhea, and even potential heart problems
- Three bananas
Can Cats Eat Banana Chips?
If your cat has a taste for banana, these chips may be ideal. 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. 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, take up 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 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.
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 amount.
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 a match made in heaven. Like all fruits, the sweetness found in bananas will deter many felines. The potassium contained in bananas is the only real boon to cat health.