Cats have a very specialized diet that does not include eating fruit. Diarrhea and allergic reactions may outway the benefits of your cat eating bananas. Read on to learn drawbacks and benefits to your cat eating bananas.
Yes, cats can eat bananas. However, due to their dietary needs that mostly include meat and their specialized digestive system cats do not need to eat bananas. They benefit from the high potassium found in bananas, it can contribute to your cat’s overall heart and kidney function health.
As a result of domestication, cats no longer kill and eat the prey’s meat, but their digestive system is largely restricted to this type of diet. In this article we will expand on what you need to know when feeding bananas and other fruits to your cat.
Can Cats Eat Bananas?
The short answer to this question is yes. Cats are curious creatures that are not adverse to trying new foods for the experience. The longer answer is whether bananas are necessary or even beneficial to cats.
Remembering that each of us sees the world through our own experience, we may in our belief, feel that bananas are a nutritional food rich with vitamins and potassium. We as humans are classified as omnivores, or are able to eat all manner of plant and animal material in our diet. We have teeth to masticate both meat and teeth to grind down plant matter. We have digestive enzymes to break down all plant and animal material.
Cats are quite another matter. Classified as carnivores, the normal diet of cats is meat. Their teeth, and digestive enzymes are geared for a ‘meat’ based diet. While domesticated cats now eat grains, cleverly disguised as meat, their digestive system still is not designed to eat a broader variety of foods other than meat.
The introduction or restriction of your cat’s diet to fruits or vegetables can cause a myriad of problems for your cats health, to the point where any healthful benefits brought by the banana could be outweighed by problems that might surface.
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Bananas are a high-energy food that nutritionists have found to contain all the vitamins and minerals necessary for us to maintain good health. Full of fiber, folic acid, and potassium. Bananas contain the full complement of vitamins and trace minerals. The majority of the mass of bananas is a complex carbohydrate or sugar, that fuels the seed development of new plants. This carbohydrate mass is a slow-release type of energy for us, that is important for protracted periods of exertion.
But bananas are also characterized by allergies relating to the high levels of latex they contain. Latex is a natural plant derivative that is used by plants as a form of protection from rot. Many tropical based fruits and vegetables utilize latex as a protection from high humidity and opportunistic fungus and bacteria that thrive in the tropics. Unfortunately, humans and cats appear to have allergy sensitivity to latex. Often manifesting as a red itchy rash, latex allergies can be at their least, annoying, and at their worst, problematic for breathing and digestion.
Understanding The Benefits And Risks For Your Cat When Eating Bananas
All things in life must be considered in balance. Too much of a good thing can be bad for us, just as not enough of something. If we were to only eat bananas, it would not be long before an obvious problem might arise for our health. Nutritionists are always reminding us to have a balanced diet, a combination of proteins, carbohydrates, grains and fruits. For humans, a balanced diet of this kind is instrumental for good health.
What do cats need for a healthy balanced diet?
It would appear that cats have a much more restricted diet than humans, requiring meat and some grains to maintain their health. Their diet is restricted as to the enzymes they have for digestion. Cats have a low capacity to digest sugars, in simple and complex forms like carbohydrates. Bananas would then be contraindicated for cats given their preponderant mass is carbohydrates, or complex sugars. Protein seems to be the hallmark of a cat’s diet.
While bananas do have some protein, it would be insufficient in itself to sustain the healthfulness of your cats diet. Fiber is an important element in a cat’s diet. Bananas contain large amounts of fiber to aid in resolving problems with constipation. While a small amount of banana might keep your cat more regular, any small amount more than that could cause diarrhea, and result in problematic dehydration for your cat.
One can easily see that in the case of your cat eating bananas, the cons simply outweigh the pros. It is our responsibility to see the cat through its own eyes, not our own. What is a good diet for us, is not necessarily a good diet for our cat. While it would be fine to share a bit of banana with your cat from time to time as a treat, it would not be wise for us to restrict our cat’s diet by making the consumption of bananas commonplace for our cat.
Historical Changes in Our Cats Diet
Our furry feline friends are members of a large and diverse family of predatory carnivorous mammals. Like their larger cousins, house cats are naturally predatory creatures that come equipped to hunt to survive. A cat’s life in pursuit of its food is typified by long periods of sleeping and resting to conserve energy for hunting. Cats hunt only to survive, and eat only what they must in order to maintain their health.
Over the last fifty years cats have replaced dogs as man’s best friend in our homes. Their fierce independence and ability to fend for themselves, have made cats a favorite for all. In the cat’s domestication process, much time and energy has gone into the analysis of their lives with us and in particular their diet.
Humans like to change things for convenience and ease of use. It is not then surprising that we have significantly altered the form of our cats’ diet in our homes. Cats are meat eaters, but to have fresh meat available to feed our cats on a daily basis can be difficult and impractical. As a result, a dry, food replacement for meat has been cleverly crafted by scientists to replace the fuss involved in the preparation of fresh meat for our cat. The new diet for cats is actually a grain based diet, with the flavor and nutritional additives of meat. Cereal infused with vitamins, minerals, and proteins, this new diet is touted as being more healthful than the cat’s normal meat diet. If this is in fact true, it is virtually the same to the way we have changed our diet, using chemically derived substitute nutrition for health’s sake.
If all of the dietary components your cat needs is in the dry kibbles we feed our cats, there should be little need to give any supplements to our cat including bananas.
You Can Enjoy Eating A Banana With Your Cat
The dietary benefits or problems relating to your cat eating bananas are one thing, but having fun with your cat is quite another. Cats are naturally playful and curious creatures. If your cat joins you for a moment while you are enjoying your healthfull banana; go ahead and share a bit.
If your cat tries some of your banana, you are in control as to how much. A little sharing is a wonderful way to build friendship and devotion between you and your cat. Remember that part of your responsibility of ownership of your cat is loving and sharing time and experiences with pets, so enjoy!
When considering the best way to care for our cat through their diet, it is important to see your cat’s life as a product of its needs not ours. While we are all clear about the nutritional benefits of bananas in our diet, the reality is that for our cat, the contrary might be the case.
Cats and humans, while great companions, have little in common with respect to their mutual genetic developmental history. As omnivores, humans are required to eat a diverse complement of foods in order to maintain their health. Cats on the other hand, have developed their restrictive protein based diet based on the historic availability of food in their natural habitat.
We need to be sensitive to our cats’ heritage and their resulting need for a much more restrictive diet then our own. While we have modified our cats diet with meat substitutes for our own convenience, cats still require a protein rich diet with little necessity for other classes of food. Stewardship of a pet is a great honor and responsibility, that if conducted well, leaves us with a devoted friend for life.
It would be fine to share a taste of banana for your cat for experience sake, or as a strata form a moment spent developing your cat’s relationship with you, but remember, you are the caregiver and the one that should be sensible about what is best for your pet.
Shawn Manaher is a serial entrepreneur but when he isn’t working, he loves dogs. He’s owned different pets over the years, and always gives a part of his heart to each pet.