Can Cats Eat Bananas?

Key takeaway

Bananas are non-toxic to cats, but that doesn't mean they're healthy. While bananas are packed with vitamins for humans, cats get all the nutrients they need for a healthy life from their regular cat food. Feeding your cat banana in moderation is safe, but there's no reason to since it doesn't provide them with any nutritional benefits.

When munching on your favorite snacks, you might notice your feline friend approach you or even try to steal your food. Some foods are safe for cats, while others are toxic. The next time you're eating a banana, you might look at your cat and wonder, "Are bananas safe for cats?" 

Bananas are non-toxic to cats, but they can cause digestive issues. They also contain sugar, which should be limited in your cat's diet. Of course, even though bananas are non-toxic, your cat doesn't need them in their diet. Instead, your cat gets all the nutrients they need through their regular canned food or kibble. 

Bananas are not toxic to cats but have sugar content and may cause GI upset

Nutritional Benefits Of Bananas 

Bananas are a nutrient-rich food packed with Vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and magnesium for humans. 

But are bananas good for cats? Bananas are technically safe for cats.1 However, while bananas contain vitamins, they're not necessarily a healthy treat for your cat. Cats are carnivores, so they require a diet that consists primarily of meat and animal products. Your cat's regular diet contains all the foods they need to stay healthy, so bananas and other human foods aren't necessary. Additionally, cats don't need a surplus of nutrients, especially from foods with high carb and sugar content.

There are better options if you want to give your cat treats throughout the day, especially because cat treats are formulated for the cat's specific dietary needs. Ultimately, even though bananas contain vitamins, there's really no health benefit to feeding them to your cat because they should already get the nutrients they need from their cat food. If you have questions about your cat's nutritional needs, you can talk to your veterinarian to learn all about cat nutrition

What's The Risk Of Feeding Your Cat Bananas?

Bananas are considered non-toxic to cats, so you don't have to worry about poisoning if your cat steals a slice off your plate. However, there are some caveats. Are bananas bad for cats? Sometimes. Bananas have a high sugar and carb content, which can lead to diabetes.

Cats suffering from diabetes should not consume bananas because it can aggravate their symptoms and cause blood sugar spikes, which can be dangerous to their health. If your diabetic cat eats bananas, call your vet for instructions on what to do next. Since any sugary foods can cause issues in diabetic cats, it's important to know what to do in case of emergency. If your cat has been diagnosed with diabetes, talk to your vet about what to do if your cat ever consumes something they shouldn't. Your vet will also provide you with a treatment plan that limits your cat's diet to ensure they don't eat foods that could be dangerous to their health. 

Even if your healthy cat consumes bananas, they can still experience mild side effects. Bananas can cause GI upset in cats with symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. There's no way of predicting how your cat's stomach will react to bananas, but if they're experiencing GI issues, the symptoms should go away on their own within a few days as long as your cat has access to clean drinking water to keep them hydrated.

Do cats like bananas? Luckily, most cats don't like bananas, so they'll be less inclined to steal a bite from your plate. Instead, cats prefer meat, so they may not be as interested in your healthy human snacks as your dog. 

Should I Give My Cat Banana?

We've just answered the question, "Can cats eat bananas," but just because they can doesn't mean they should. Always talk to a vet before giving your cat any new food or treats, especially if they have a diagnosed health condition. Once you get approval from your vet, you should only feed your cat small amounts of bananas every once in a while—they should not be a regular treat for your cat. Remember, they have a high sugar content, which can lead to diabetes and other health problems.  

If you want to give your cat a small piece of banana, always remove the peel because it can't be digested by cats and is a choking hazard. If your cat eats banana peel, they may experience severe digestive issues. In addition, you should be mindful of how much banana you're feeding your cat. There's no reason to give them too much banana, because it won't benefit them in any way. Additionally, overfeeding your cat regularly can cause digestive problems, weight gain, obesity, and diabetes. 

How to safely feed your cat banana 

Stick to the 10% rule when feeding your cat anything other than their regular canned food or kibble, including regular cat treats and human foods like bananas. The 10% rule states that treats should not exceed 10% of your cat's daily caloric intake.2 Of course, some foods should be avoided completely, especially those that can cause allergic reactions or GI issues. 

Additionally, you should always monitor your cat after feeding them something new because there's no way of predicting how they'll react to new foods, especially fruits like bananas. Since cats are carnivores, their bodies may not process new non-meat foods easily, leading to GI issues. Additionally, some cats can be allergic to bananas. While banana allergy in cats is rare, it can happen, so monitoring your cat will ensure they don't have a potentially dangerous reaction. 

Ultimately, you shouldn't give your cat bananas because they don't provide any nutritional benefits. Even though they're non-toxic and sharing a small slice of banana with your cat every once in a while shouldn't cause severe side effects, there's no reason to risk it because your cat could get uncomfortable GI issues. 

FAQs

What happens if a cat eats a banana? 

If a cat eats an entire banana, contact your vet immediately for guidance. While a small piece of banana is not harmful to cats when given in moderation and every once in a while, eating a full banana can cause blood sugar spikes that can be dangerous for some cats, especially those suffering from diabetes or weight issues. Eating too much banana can also result in vomiting and diarrhea because your cat's body can't process fruits as easily as it does meat. 

Luckily, healthy cats should be fine after eating a tiny bite of banana, but every cat is different, so some may not be able to tolerate any amount of banana. In any case, you should always monitor your cat for signs of illness or food allergies after they consume a new food. 

Which fruits are poisonous to cats?

While bananas are considered non-toxic to cats, not all fruits are safe. Some fruits poisonous to cats include: 

  • Grapes and Raisins: Grapes and raisins can lead to digestive issues, lethargy, and acute kidney failure in cats. Therefore, you should never feed them a grape or raisin as a snack.3
  • Citrus Fruits: Citrus fruits are also dangerous for cats because they contain oils that can cause digestive problems and central nervous system depression.3
  • Apples: Apples are toxic to cats because the stems, leaves, and seeds contain trace amounts of cyanide.4 Of course, feeding your cat the flesh is generally fine, but there's no reason to risk it. 
  • Plum: Plum may also be toxic to cats for the same reasons as apples; The stems, leaves, and seeds contain trace amounts of cyanide.5

If your cat consumes any amount of these fruits, consult a vet immediately for guidance. Depending on how much they consumed, your vet may ask to see your pet immediately or suggest that you monitor them for signs of toxicity, which include: 

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Twitching
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Skin inflammation or swelling
  • Depression 
  • Coma
  • Changes in appetite6

Of course, vomiting and diarrhea are also mild side effects of GI upset in cats, which can occur even when your cat isn't having an allergic reaction. Always monitor your pet for signs of illness and know when it's time to take them to an emergency veterinary clinic.

Whether you're wondering, "Can cats eat carrots" or looking into new pet food, you should always check with your veterinarian to ensure everything your cat eats can support their health and won't cause dangerous side effects. 

Why does my cat love bananas?

Most cats don't like bananas because their bodies need animal products to thrive, but some cats become interested in human foods like bananas for various reasons. Bananas have a strong scent, which cats may like, but they don't have a taste for sugar. Most cats may show interest in bananas because you're eating them. They see their favorite person enjoying a tasty treat and want to join the fun.

Of course, even though your cat may seem to enjoy the taste of bananas, it doesn't mean they should eat some every time you do. While sharing a few nibbles of banana with your feline friend shouldn't cause any adverse reactions, it's not healthy for them. Additionally, if you share food with them every time you eat, they may start to beg for your food or try to steal food every time you eat because you've inadvertently trained them to. 

Cat playing with a crocheted banana 

Final Notes

So, can cats have bananas? Although bananas are considered relatively safe for cats, they're not the healthiest snack or treat for them. If your healthy cat has a few small bites of banana every now and then, they may not experience any side effects. However, cats with medical conditions like obesity and diabetes should avoid bananas. Even though bananas are a healthy snack for humans, they don't provide cats with any additional nutrition; your cat should already be getting the vitamins and minerals they need through their regular diets. Additionally, some cats may have bad reactions to even small amounts of bananas. While side effects like vomiting and diarrhea should subside on their own, there's no reason to put your cat through the pain or discomfort of GI upset. 

Wondering how to feed a cat or want to learn more about cat nutrition? Try Dutch today. Our vets can teach you how to find the best wet cat food or provide guidelines for the types of foods to feed your cat to support their overall health. 

References

  1. Media, Clicky. "What Human Food Can Cats Eat?: Answered by Vets." Animal Trust, 14 Jan. 2022, https://www.animaltrust.org.uk/blog/what-can-cats-eat/.

  2. "Feeding Your Cat." Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, 20 July 2018, https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/cornell-feline-health-center/health-information/feline-health-topics/feeding-your-cat.

  3. "Which Fruits Can Cats Eat?" PetMD, https://www.petmd.com/cat/which-fruits-can-cats-eat.

  4. "Apple." ASPCA, https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/apple.

  5. "Plum." ASPCA, https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/plum.

  6. "Cat Poisoning Symptoms and How to Spot It." Cats Protection, https://www.cats.org.uk/help-and-advice/home-and-environment/poisoning.