Browsing the internet today I saw a question someone asked: “I am a vegan and my cat is a vegan, how do I ensure that my cat’s nutritional needs are met?”
My jaw just dropped wide open! A vegan cat?
Can you imagine going into a zoo and offering a tiger a bunch of bananas? Do you think the tiger will think “Oh great! A new taste experience. Let me see how yummy these bananas may be?”
Imagine going to a farm and offering a sheep a nice juicy steak. Do you think the sheep will eat the meat? Of course it won’t sheep do not eat meat.
Tigers do not eat fruit. Bananas are not a healthy option for your cat.
Should cats eat bananas?
Cats should not eat bananas. Cats are mammals belonging to the group called Obligate Carnivores.
All cats belong to this group, tigers, lions, leopards, cheetahs and yes your darling kitty, the domestic cat. These animals are grouped together because they all have the same dietary requirements and the same processes take place in their digestive systems.
Carnivore means meat eater and have diet that consists of things that can walk, or swim. Obligate Carnivore means meat eater by necessity or animals that must eat meat in order to survive.
Carnivores do not eat plant matter; things that grow otherwise known as carbohydrates. Animals that eat plant matter are called herbivores.
The benefit of eating bananas for cats
The actual internal structure of the digestive system of animals is very different depending on which diet they follow. The enzymes used to digest the different food groups are also different.
Carnivores do not have herbivore enzymes; herbivores do not have carnivore enzymes. Even the saliva of carnivores and herbivores is different.
The intestine of a carnivore is about 6 times longer than the animal. The intestine of an herbivore is 27 times longer than the animal. Some herbivores even have additional stomachs to help digest the carbohydrates that they eat. Herbivore digestive systems also have millions of bacteria that aid in digesting their food.
In general terms, meat is easier to digest than plant matter. Meat also contains much more calories than an equal amount of plant matter.
Cats are unable to digest bananas so eating them gives them very little if any benefit. Your cat’s digestive system is not able to break down plant matter in order to absorb the nutritional benefits in bananas, so don’t feed bananas to your cat.
All you need to know about cats and bananas
Cats are carnivores and have no business eating anything that grows. No peanut butter, no bread and no bananas!
The whole group that cats belong to, is called Carnivora because the thing that is similar between all these animals is that they all eat meat and only meat. One of the characteristics shared by carnivores is that they have large brains and are intelligent animals.
What do you think the reason is that carnivores are intelligent? Yip you got it because they eat meat.
I think some confusion enters into this equation because dogs, although they are also essentially meat eaters, they have been living alongside man and sharing his meals for over 10 000 years.
The digestive systems of domesticated dogs have adapted to be able to cope with a more varied diet. Cats are not dogs; cats must eat meat and only meat. Even dogs are better off with a diet of meat rather than vegetable matter.
Much of the recent research shows that humans too should eat more meat and fewer carbohydrates. Our digestive systems are very much like the digestive system of carnivores.
What do bananas contain?
Bananas are absolutely yummylicious and really good for humans. They are a great source of natural sugars, proteins fiber and vitamins.
Bananas are in fact a super food, for humans, they are often the snack of choice for super athletes, because of the amount of potassium that they contain. They are also rich in vitamins B6 and C and manganese.
Bananas do not give these benefits to cats because cats cannot digest bananas sufficiently well to extract the nutrients.
Will cats eat bananas?
Cats are usually discerning eaters and will not eat anything that is not part of their natural diet. They are protected by instinct to keep away from food that will do them harm.
Then we humans come and think we know what is beneficial for the cat, we are cleverer than Mother Nature. If tempted by us cats can be enticed to eat almost anything. We think we are doing something of benefit for our pet, but we are in fact doing damage.
It is also important to inform all the members of your household not to feed your cat anything that is not part of its natural diet. Toddlers often think that sharing is caring, it really is, but not when you are sharing your banana with your cat.
What to expect if you do give your cat bananas to eat
Bananas are not part of your cat’s natural diet, so if you do give it banana to eat, don’t be surprised of you find a big vomity mess on the floor.
Eating bananas can also cause your cat to get an upset stomach, with nausea and diarrhea. One of the biggest problems with gastric illnesses like this is dehydration. The animal loses fluid at a much faster rate than it can reabsorb it.
Dehydration is a serious problem that can be fatal especially in a small animal like a cat. Should your cat have an upset stomach for more than 24 hours take it to the vet. Always better to be safe than sorry.
Another problem with bananas is that the soft mushy texture is not what your cat is used to because of this bananas can be a choking hazard.
If the cat swallows a piece of banana that gets stuck in its wind pipe this can block off its oxygen supply and could lead to brain damage or even death.
Can cats be allergic to bananas?
The mechanism an allergic reactions is not well understood, it would seem that almost any substance that can be ingested can cause an allergic reaction; especially if the substance is not part of the natural diet of the animal.
How do you know that your cat is having an allergic reaction?
Allergic reactions can take many forms if you see any or a combination of these symptoms take your cat to the vet: rashes, swelling especially of the lips, elevated heart-rate, difficulty breathing, persistent vomiting or diarrhea.
Allergic reactions also sometimes affect the nervous system so the symptoms can also be emotional rather than physical.
If your cat isn’t behaving as it usually does this can be a sign that it is having an allergic reaction. Please be aware that it can sometimes take hours before the cat begins to show symptoms.
Will my cat get sufficient nutrients if it does not eat bananas?
Cats do not have sweet receptors on their tongues. Humans crave sweet things because the sugars that we eat; we break down into glucose which is the only substance that can power our brains.
Cats metabolize their glucose from protein. Bananas are not toxic to cats, but they are not good for cats.
Besides your cat’s inability to digest banana, eating the banana will make your cat’s brain think that it has eaten and does not need to eat anything else. So if your cat eats bananas it may not eat the food it really needs to survive and remain healthy.
Cats do not eat for enjoyment. Cats eat for survival. For us humans we eat bananas as a treat to make ourselves feel better. Your cat does not feel better when it eats bananas. If you think that it is, you are imposing your feelings on the cat.
You may feel good because you think you have done something pleasurable for your cat. Because your cat is unable to digest sugars, if they eat carbohydrates the sugars just accumulate in their bodies, possibly causing obesity and diabetes in a very short space of time.
- Do not give bananas o your cat
- All animals are not made equal.
- You cannot have a vegan cat.
- Your cat is an Obligate Carnivore.
- Feed your cat a diet of meat or commercial food made specifically for cats.
- Left to themselves cats will not usually eat food that is not good for them.
- If your cat has an upset stomach for more than 24 hours go to the vet
- If your cat shows signs of an allergic reaction, go to the vet immediately.
- Eating is not a treat for your cat
- Your cat eats for survival
It would be great to hear any stories or comments you may have to share, please include your thought below. If you found this article useful or interesting please share with all the cat lovers you know