Beans are a natural source of protein and are, in fact, one of the best foods to get amino acids from. But can they be fed to cats, and if they can, are they safe?
If you have had a number of cats over a period of several years in your life, you know that cats can be some of the pickiest eaters under the sun. There are cat lovers who have had frustrating experiences trying to find food that their pets enjoy.
Cats are predominantly carnivorous animals. This means that they are naturally inclined to eat meat of all sorts. However, there are people who have cats that have some weird eating habits. It would not exactly be a huge deal to find a cat that has a sweet tooth, or one that likes to nibble on a carrot. These are likely the effects of domestication which has caused cats to develop taste for human food.
Enter the bean. There are cat owners that have observed a certain liking for beans from their cats as a result of domestication and the tendency for cats to enjoy certain human foods. A number of pet owners have been concerned that it may not be a good dietary practice to give cats a high bean diet. Are they right in feeling like this? The answer is yes and no.
Let’s take a close look at the bean;
Beans have been classified as a super food. They have high amounts of protein. As a matter of fact, protein makes up about 18% of the total seed composition in most bean species. They also have a lot of dietary fiber (soluble and insoluble), vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, all of which are incredibly important to the body. But are they of any benefit to a cat?
Seeing that cats are obligatory carnivores that prefer meats, they are biologically engineered to digest and absorb foods with high levels of protein. This is to mean that they would have no problems digesting beans. So yes, it would be absolutely fine to feed your cat beans.
But then again, a cat is not wired to be an omnivore. While it may have no issues digesting beans, it may not be able to thrive as well as it should on a high bean diet. It would be advisable to keep the quantities at a minimum.
What about baked beans? Do they have any adverse effects on cats?
So here lies the million dollar question. Can you share some of your baked breakfast beans with your cat?
Baked beans are ideally processed and packed ready to eat. They are sweet and savory, and it would not be a wonder to find a cat that has a special liking for them.
These beans are cooked in a variety of condiments that may prove harmful to your cat. Baked beans are normally sweet, and they are preserved in a sweet sauce of tomatoes and other spices. The tomato preserve normally has sweeteners that enhance its taste.
While the baked beans themselves may not have an adverse effect on your cat, the sweeteners may be poisonous. Xylitol, which is one of the most common food sweeteners, is considered highly poisonous to cats. It is highly toxic to their bodies and can be fatal. It would be a medical emergency if your cat ingested this product.
Other toxic components in baked beans are garlic and onions. Yes, you read right. These two are highly detrimental to your cat’s heath, especially when taken in large quantities. They tend to break down the red blood cells in your cat’s body which could eventually lead to anemia. They are dangerous in all their forms, even when they are used as dry spices.
Baked beans also have a significant amount of salt. What you may not know is that salt is highly toxic to cats, and if taken in large quantities, it can cause low appetite, low coordination, lethargy, dehydration, coma, tremors, seizures and even death.
Eating canned baked beans could in the long run cause your cat to develop pancreatitis which could eventually be fatal.
Beans for Cats Myths debunked – What you should know
A lot of falsities regarding beans for cats have been thrown around. Let’s separate myth from truth.
Beans are indigestible to cats
This is largely untrue. Beans are mainly made of protein, and cats are built to have high protein diets. This means that they would not have any physiological difficulties in dealing with beans. The presence of soluble and insoluble dietary fiber is also an added bonus since it prevents runny stool in cats.
Giving your cats beans daily can result in inflammation
First off, you should not be feeding your cats beans on a daily basis. They are only helpful in moderate amounts. Secondly, beans cannot cause inflammation in your cat. The reverse is actually true. They have significant amounts of anti- oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, making them helpful to your cat in this regard.
Feeding beans to your cats – How should you go about it?
Keep in mind that you should be feeding cats meats mostly. Seeing that it can be expensive, beans can be a good alternative source of protein. Here is how to do it;
- Soak the beans overnight in warm water
- Boil them until they are soft and well cooked
You can serve the beans mashed, and you can also add some of that water used for boiling them to make the mash palatable. Keep away from adding salt and other additives that may be harmful to cats.
Felines are incredibly beautiful animals that make awesome pets and companions. It is only natural to want to give them the best, and keep them from harm and diseases. While beans are an excellent source of protein, they are not the most ideal for cats.
Steer clear of canned/baked beans as far as your cats go. They are bound to suffer many negative effects including death from having them in copious amounts.