The mighty banana is a superfruit that so many of us love to eat, most times on a daily basis. Whether you blend it in with your morning berry burst and chia seed smoothie, or as a grab and go together with your morning coffee and sandwich, or even in the form of sliced bananas in your evening ice cream dessert. There are endless ways that one can enjoy a banana.
But what if you wanted to share the benefits of this wonderful yellow fruit with your fellow feline companion? If it is good for humans, then certainly, it must be good for cats, right?
Well, here’s the short answer – Yes, cats can eat bananas. But there are some considerations that you, as a responsible cat owner (or slave, depending on which way you look at it) must adhere to. Feline nutrition is a serious subject, and where bananas and other fruits are concerned, it is always wise to remember this saying: “just because I can, doesn’t necessarily mean I should.”
Before you start going bananas over this question, let’s explore the benefits, risks and everything else associated with your feline companion’s relationship with this tasty yellow superfruit.
The Nutritional Benefits Of Bananas
The humble banana is one of the easiest ways for you to get your dose of vitamins, fiber and other nutrients. All you need to do is peel, and consume – no preparation needed!
Here’s a short list of the nutritional benefits you stand to gain from bananas.
1. High in Potassium
Bananas are known to be the best fruit sources of potassium, with around 320-400mg of potassium found in each medium-sized banana.
Potassium is a key component in maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system and managing blood pressure levels.
2. Source of Vitamins
The vitamins present in bananas are Vitamin C, and Vitamin B6. The former, which you may be surprised to associate with bananas rather than the popular orange, helps to protect your cells from damage, assists in iron absorption, regulates collagen production and boosts serotonin levels which help to manage our sleep and mood.
The latter, Vitamin B6, regulates red blood cell production in your body, boosts your nervous system and assists in the body’s metabolism of carbs, fats, and amino acids for energy.
3. Boosts Energy Levels
Because of the natural sugars found in bananas (sucrose, glucose, fructose), a single banana at snack time or in the morning can really boost your energy levels and get you going throughout your day.
4. No Fat and No Cholesterol
Imagine reaping all of these benefits listed above – without ingesting any fat or any cholesterol? Banana truly is a superfruit like no other!
Can Cats Eat Bananas?
Yes, your cat can eat bananas. They are rich in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that are as healthy for humans as they are for your feline friend.
However, keep in mind that a cat is an obligate carnivore – which basically means that their digestive systems have been designed (through the generations of their cat ancestors) to get all of the nutrients they need from animal products – this means meat.
This is why their nutritional requirements are a lot different from us humans, who are omnivores. In the modern, domesticated environment, your furry companion can get all of the nutritional requirements they need through commercial cat food available on the market today.
The companies that make these foods have done their research to ensure that their products are complete and well-balanced to fulfill every aspect of your cat’s healthy diet.
In short, this means that since your cat gets all the nutrients she needs from her cat food, there’s no reason to try and introduce bananas into her diet from a purely nutritional point of view. But as an occasional tasty, all natural treat – yes!
Risks Associated With Eating Bananas
By and large bananas are considered to be non-toxic for cats, which makes the fruit completely safe for consumption. However, while the above might be true, including too much banana into your cat’s diet may cause digestion problems in the long run.
This is because bananas are high in natural sugars and carbohydrates, which the enzymes in a cat’s digestive system are just not equipped to handle. Too much banana may cause complications, especially in diabetic cats, and the risk of digestive issues like vomiting, constipation or diarrhea is always present when your cat has too much banana to eat.
How Do I Feed Bananas To My Cat?
The first thing you’ll want to do is to ensure that you never serve bananas with the peel still on. It causes digestive issues – and it’s just not very tasty!
When serving bananas to your furry friend, cut up the banana into small, bite sized pieces of about 1 inch or so, or mush them up into a puree and spread it over your cat’s food, if your cat is a fan of fusion cuisine! Never serve an entire banana at once, as this is way too much for your cat’s digestive system to handle.
If this is your cat’s first time eating a banana, watch her closely to observe any allergic reactions that may occur. When you notice any allergic reactions (vomiting, lack of appetite and general uneasiness), contact your vet immediately.
In many cases, sharing your favorite foods with your cat can be an absolutely rewarding bonding experience between a human and their animal companion. There’s not much that can compare to the feeling of watching your feline friend consume the fruits (pun intended) of your labors together with you.
However, from a nutritional standpoint, always remember that cats get all they need from commercial cat food, which is scientifically researched to provide a healthy and well-balanced diet for cats. Fruits such as bananas should only be reserved for an occasional treat.