Can Cats Eat Beans? - Cat Kingpin
Can Cats Eat Beans

Can Cats Eat Beans?

Beans, beans, the marvelous fruit, the more you eat, the more you…  get healthier, right?

Beans are considered a healthy part of people’s diets. So, you might be wondering if beans are a good addition to your cat’s diet.

As you will see, beans can make a fun and interesting treat for your kitty if they’re cooked properly. However, beans in general aren’t as healthy for cats as they are for people.

In this article, the following will be covered:

  • Cats and Beans, What You Need to Know
  • Can Cats Eat Beans?
  • Can Kittens Eat Beans?
  • Benefits/Drawbacks to Cats Eating Beans
  • Healthy Alternatives to Beans

Cats and Beans, What You Need to Know

The common bean is a member of the species Phaseolus vulgaris. Specific varieties of the common bean include navy, pinto, and kidney beans.

Common beans are part of the larger bean and legume family which includes soybeans, peas, peanuts, and lentils. “Bean” is also used with many other plant seeds that have a similar shape, such as coffee beans, vanilla beans, castor beans, and cocoa beans.

Beans are considered healthy for people as they are low in fat, and high in protein and fiber. A rich source of many nutrients, beans contain high amounts of folate, thiamin, iron, magnesium, and zinc.

As far as cats go, some do seem to like beans, as you can see from this video:

Can Cats Eat Beans?

The short answer to that is yes, you can give your kitty beans if they’re cooked, and in moderation. Beans do contain some good nutrients, especially protein.

However, cats are more likely to play with uncooked beans than actually eat them. At the same time, cooked beans can be a fun and interesting treat for cats.

If your cat is from the southern United States, they might well enjoy a meal of pig’s feet, collard greens, rice, and beans, like the one in the video below:

Can Kittens Eat Beans?

Kittens tend to be more susceptible than adult cats because they are tiny and have not yet fully developed. Though rare, any toxins in beans are more likely to affect a kitten than an adult cat.

Similarly, kittens are more sensitive to the laxative effects from the fiber in beans. This could cause diarrhea, possibly leading to dehydration and a trip to the vet.

Instead of beans, why not try giving your kitten a healthy kitten food, like Blue Wilderness kitten food? This type of food has everything your kitten needs to grow up big and strong, and without anything that could cause harm.

Benefits/Drawbacks to Cats Eating Beans

Even if your cat likes beans, the real questions is, are beans healthy for cats? Well, cats are obligate carnivores, which means all they really need to eat is meat.

While beans contain protein and other nutrients, cats are actually very poor at deriving nutrition from foods that aren’t meat.

For example, cats don’t need fiber in their diet. In fact, foods with fiber in them can have a laxative effect in cats.

Since cats derive the vast majority of their nutrition from eating meat, there isn’t a huge benefit for your cat to eat beans.

Moreover, many types of uncooked beans contain relatively high amounts of the toxic substance phytohemagglutinin. To destroy the toxin, beans must be pre-soaked before being heated to boiling for at least 30 minutes.

Cooking in a slow cooker, which operates at lower temperatures, can produce beans with up to five times the level of phytohemagglutinin. Canned beans are precooked and safe to use straight from the can.

Phytohemagglutinin poisoning can occur from your cat eating as few as five raw beans, and the following symptoms can begin within three hours:

  • Nausea
  • Severe and sustained vomiting
  • Diarrhea

In most cases, recovery occurs within four or five hours of onset, without the need for any medical intervention. Even though they would probably recover, it is safer to never give your cat uncooked beans.

Healthy Alternatives to Beans

Cats are fine to have small amounts of cooked beans from time to time. Beans can be a fun and healthy treat for your kitty, and an interesting change of pace from their normal food.

Even so, there are many healthy alternatives to feeding your cat beans. If you really want your cat to have vegetables in their diet, why not try a cat food that has been formulated to meet the feline’s specific nutritional needs?

Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Natural Dry Cat Food contains a variety of fruits and vegetables along with venison and salmon, so your cat can eat a healthy and balanced diet.

So, Can Cats Eat Beans?

Now, you know that cats can eat beans, though you shouldn’t be surprised if your cat decides it’s more fun to play with them.

If you do choose to give you cat beans, just follow these simple steps:

  • Pre-soak the beans overnight before heating them to boiling for 30 minutes. Alternatively, give your cat canned beans.
  • Give beans to your cat in moderation as too much could cause your cat to have indigestion and loose stools for a day or two.
  • If you want to incorporate vegetables into your cat’s diet on a regular basis, consider a high-quality cat food like, Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Natural Dry Cat Food, which provides all the nutrients your cat needs.
  • For a special treat, you can also try, Natural Balance Belly Bites Semi-Moist Treats, which contain duck and legumes, satisfying the cravings of even the most finicky cat.

If you have any questions or would like to share a story about your cat and beans, please tell us in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

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Phil R.

Phil’s lifelong love of animals began as a young boy growing up with three pet dogs. As a teenager and young adult, Phil spent six years working as a veterinary technician, later earning a B.S. in Animal Science. After college, Phil continued working as a vet tech part-time while caring for a private collection of mountain lions used in wildlife educational programs. During this time, Phil volunteered at the Dallas Zoo and was eventually offered a position as a zookeeper in the zoo’s naturalistic Wilds of Africa area. Phil became the primary keeper for a black leopard named “Grady” and a caracal named “Tut” in the predator/prey exhibit.

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