Sufferin’ succotash! Have you ever wondered if Sylvester the Cat actually ate the Algonquian dish of sweet corn and lima beans?
What about your cat? Would lima beans be something they might enjoy? Could lima beans even be a healthy addition to you cats diet?
As you will see, lima beans can make a fun and interesting treat for your kitty if they’re cooked properly. At the same time, lima beans, in general, aren’t as healthy for cats as they are for people.
In this article, the following will be covered:
The lima bean is a domesticated variety of the legume, Phaseolus lunatus. Lima beans are the same species as that of the flat, yellow/white butter bean, though the latter are believed to be descended from a separate domestication of their common wild ancestor.
Lima beans are part of the larger bean and legume family which includes soybeans, peas, peanuts, kidney beans, 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.
Lima beans are considered healthy for people as they are low in fat, and high in protein and fiber. A rich source of many nutrients, lima beans contain high amounts of folate and manganese, in addition to thiamin, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus.
As far as cats go, some do seem to like lima beans, as you can see from this video:
The short answer to that is, yes, you can give your kitty lima beans if they’re cooked, and in moderation. Lima beans contain some good nutrients, especially protein.
However, cats may not like them or are more likely to play with uncooked lima beans than actually eat them.
Kittens tend to be more susceptible to toxins than adult cats because they are tiny and have not yet fully developed. Though rare, any toxins in lima 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 lima beans. This could cause diarrhea, possibly leading to dehydration and a trip to the vet.
Instead of lima 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.
Even if your cat likes lima beans, the real questions is, are lima beans healthy for cats? Well, cats are obligate carnivores, which means all they really need to eat is meat.
While lima 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 lima beans.
Moreover, uncooked lima beans contain relatively high amounts of the toxic substance, phytohemagglutinin. To destroy the toxin, lima beans must be boiled for at least 10 minutes.
Cooking in a slow cooker, which operates at lower temperatures, can produce lima beans with up to five times the level of phytohemagglutinin. However, canned lima beans are precooked and safe to use straight from the can.
Phytohemagglutinin poisoning can occur from your cat eating just a few raw lima beans, and the following symptoms can begin within three hours:
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 raw lima beans.
Cats are fine to have small amounts of cooked lima beans from time to time. Lima 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 lima 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.
You can! If you do choose to give you cat lima beans, just follow these simple steps:
If you have any questions or would like to share a story about your cat and lima beans, please tell us in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!
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.