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Can Cats Eat Beans? Is it Healthy for Them?

When making dinner, you pop open a can of beans and set it aside until you’re ready to cook with it. It’s not uncommon for a cat’s curiosity to get the better of them—the noise of a can opening often signals that it’s dinnertime and makes them come running.

It’s only after they’ve taken a few bites out of the beans that you see their head is buried in the can. Is this a reason to worry? Do you need to take your cat to the vet as soon as possible? Don’t panic too much. Cats can eat beans, but with a few caveats.

divider-catclaw1Are Beans Dangerous to Cats?

In general, beans are not dangerous for cats and don’t contain any toxic elements to them. Even though they are a rich source of protein. But that doesn’t mean they should be eating them on a regular basis. Even small amounts of beans can cause stomach upset. Common issues cats experience after eating beans include:

  • Digestive distress
  • Stomach pain
  • Excess gas
  • Intestinal discomfort

Small amounts of beans can sometimes be found in cat kibble. Even if the food does contain beans, they are usually mentioned as a filler and don’t offer much nutritional benefit so it’s better to steer clear of them.

Grain bean
Image Credit: Pixabay

Can Cats Eat Canned Beans?

It’s best to keep your cats away from canned food of any kind. Not only might they contain preservatives and high levels of sodium, but they usually have spices that can be toxic for cats. Food companies for human consumption use different formulas and standards than they do for cats. The biggest issue tends to be with salt, though.

Feeding your cat too much salt can be dangerous. High sodium levels in cats create many health issues which include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Excessive thirst
  • Decreased appetite

To put it simply, salt is poison for a cat. If you can keep them away from canned beans, it is for the best.

Do Beans Offer Any Nutritional Benefit to Cats?

Most humans already accept that beans are rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber, all of which are crucial for a cat. However, cats are obligate carnivores and require these substances when they come from animal protein only. Cats do not need vegetables, fruits, or legumes in order to survive.

String Beans
Image Credit: Pixabay

How to Prepare Beans for Your Cat

If your cat happens to love beans and enjoys them as a snack, there is a safe way to prepare and serve them. Again, do not use beans as a main source of food for your cat. Only give your cats beans when they are prepared correctly and as a rare treat.

In order to prepare beans so they are safe for your cat, start by presoaking them for a few hours. After that, boil the beans in water for 30 minutes or until they are tender and the outer flesh falls off. Do not ever add any salt, herbs, spices, or artificial ingredients to the beans. Serve the plain beans to your cat by mixing a small spoonful into their kibble.

What Types of Beans Can Cats Eats?

There are a lot of different beans available, so how do you know which are safe for your cats? Here are the types of good and bad beans for felines:

Image Credit By: paulbr75, pixabay

Safe Beans for Cats

  • Black beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Soybeans
  • Pinto beans
  • Green beans
  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas

Unsafe Beans for Cats

  • Cocoa beans
  • Coffee beans
  • Refried beans
  • Canned beans
  • Raw beans
  • Baked beans

divider-catclaw1Final Thoughts

It is normal for a cat to experiment with the food that is around them. Cat owners know how common it is for them to leave their food sitting out and to come back to their pets taking a few bites from their dinner. Plain cooked beans usually aren’t anything to worry about, although it still isn’t recommended for them to eat beans on a regular basis. You should be more concerned if they have decided to eat canned beans or beans with other ingredients mixed in because some of those ingredients could be dangerous for your cat.

If your cat insists on having beans as a snack, take the time to prepare them properly. Remember that salt and other seasonings aren’t necessary and the best way to feed beans to your cat is plain.

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Featured Image Credit: Couleur, Pixabay

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