Bananas have many nutrients including vitamins, fiber, and proteins. They are also a good source of natural sugars, and they taste good. They are thus a nutritious snack for humans.
Are bananas good for cats?
According to Emily Parker, the content manager of “Catalogical,” the answer is “no.” While bananas aren’t toxic to a cat, they contain a lot of sugar, and cats have only a limited ability to metabolize sugar. In fact, cats can’t even taste sugar, as their taste buds don’t have receptors for sweet tastes.
While the occasional nibble won’t hurt a cat, eating bananas frequently could cause a cat to become obese, develop diabetes, or both.
A cat’s dietary needs are somewhat different from those of a human. Cats need a diet that provides them with Vitamin A, Vitamin C, taurine, various amino acids, protein, and fats. While bananas provide a lot of those, they also contain a lot of sugar. Bananas also provide fiber – but cats need significantly less fiber than do humans or dogs.
A cat probably won’t want a banana, anyway. As bananas ripen, they give off the smell of ethyl acetate, and cats find the scent repulsive.
Kelly Roper, a cat fancier and editor for “LoveToKnow,” adds that bananas have a lot of potassium in them, and cats can also smell the potassium.
Some medications for cats are made with potassium chloride, and no self-respecting cat enjoys being given medicine. To cats, a banana will thus have an unpleasant and medicine smell. Some people actually take advantage of that revulsion by rubbing bananas on furniture to keep their cats away from it.
Why are cats afraid of bananas?
Several Youtube videos, like the one below, depict cats recoiling or freaking out when confronted with a banana. There are a couple of reasons for this. As already mentioned, bananas smell bad to cats.
In addition, cats are small enough to be prey to larger animals. They are thus instinctively wary and fearful of anything unfamiliar.
What nutrients do cats need?
The Cornell Feline Health Center, which is part of Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, describes cats as “obligate carnivores.” That means they depend on animal products for all of their nutrients.
Cats evolved as predators, and their prey provides them with lots of protein, some fats, and minimal carbohydrates. A healthy diet for cats will maintain those proportions.
Other nutrients that cats need include minerals, fatty acids, vitamins, and amino acids.
Kymythy R. Schulze, a writer for the Feline Nutrition Foundation, goes into more detail about a cat’s nutritional needs.
They point out that eggs, meat, fish, and poultry are all “complete proteins,” which means they contain all of the essential amino acids a cat needs to stay healthy.
While cats can make some amino acids through various physical processes, an essential amino acid, by definition, can only come from their food.
Similarly, essential fatty acids are those that cats can only get through their diet. The different essential fatty acids help a cat’s body transport and use other nutrients.
Among the most important fatty acids are the omega-6 fatty acids and the omega-3 fatty acids. Examples of omega-6 fatty acids include arachidonic acid, conjugated linoleic acid, gamma-linolenic acid, and linoleic acid.
Examples of omega-3 fatty acids include alpha-linolenic acid, docosahexaenoic acid, and eicosapentaenoic acid. Cats can only get the fatty acids they need by eating meat since they can’t fully digest or metabolize plants.
In fact, cats need to get all of their nutrients from animal products. Like humans, cats do need Vitamin A. Humans often get their Vitamin A by eating carrots, which are a good source of beta-carotene.
While cats also need beta-carotene that their bodies can convert into Vitamin A, they need to get it from a meat source. A cat can’t get beta-carotene by eating carrots or any other plant.
Are there any plants a cat can have?
According to Modi Ramos, a writer for “IHeartCats,” there are some plants that cats may safely enjoy. For example, wheatgrass, which is also known as “cat grass,” provides the fiber that can help a cat’s digestion and helps remove indigestible substances like hairballs.
Catnip is well-known for giving cats a euphoric sensation. It works only on adult cats and has no effect on kittens.
The spider plant can also get a cat high, and cats will enjoy batting at the dangling leaves. Cats may also like lemongrass, parsley, rosemary, mint, and thyme. Ramos recommends growing thyme outside. While cats enjoy the smell of thyme, some humans find it repugnant. Rosemary has an attractive scent reminiscent of pine trees, and it has the added benefit of repelling fleas.
Are there any human foods that cats can eat?
Yes. A staff writer for “WebMD” lists human foods that cats can eat. Not surprisingly, meat, eggs, and fish are all on the list – providing they’re all fresh and have been cooked.
Raw or spoiled meat can make a cat sick, just as it would make a human sick. Raw meat can contain bacteria like E. coli or Salmonella, both of which will make a cat ill. The writer comments, “If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t give it to your pet.”
Not only do cats often like fish, but it is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which helps protect a cat’s eyesight and can help treat kidney disease, heart problems, and arthritis.
More surprisingly, cats can eat whole grains. Oats, for example, contain a lot of protein. Cats tend to prefer smaller grains like couscous, but they can eat larger grains like corn providing they have been ground up first. Cats can only fully digest grains after they have been cooked. They can also eat breadcrumbs.
Cats generally don’t like fruits or vegetables, but they can eat asparagus, steamed broccoli, cantaloupe, and cucumbers. Some cats will also eat veggie burgers.
In the latter case, however, the owner should make very certain that the burger doesn’t contain garlic or onions, for both are dangerously toxic to cats.
Shayna Meliker, a writer for “Vetstreet,” considers fruits and vegetables to be treats. As such, they should not make up any more than 10 percent of a cat’s diet.
She suggests cooked winter squash, steamed broccoli, steamed green beans, and steamed asparagus. Cats can also eat melons like cantaloupe, but their owner should thoroughly wash the melon and remove the seeds and rind before giving it to their cat.
Cheese can be given to cats in small amounts – maybe. Many cats are lactose-intolerant and thus can’t digest dairy products. In addition, cheese contains fewer of the nutrients that cats need than do eggs or meat.
The following foods are poisonous to cats and thus should never be given to them:
- Raisins and grapes
- Macadamia Nuts
- Bread dough
Xylitol, for the record, is an artificial sweetener used in sugar-free candy and gum.
Cats also generally dislike frozen or cold food, and they will refuse to eat it.
How much should a cat eat?
According to Terri D’Arrigo, a writer for “WebMD,” the answer will depend on a cat’s size, age, and activity level.
Generally speaking, though, the average cat needs about 200 calories a day. Different foods have different calorie counts, and the owner will have to check. Many cat foods provide daily suggested serving sizes for cats of specific weights.
The owner should also check the package for a statement from the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). It will say that the food is complete and balanced and that it was formulated to meet the nutritional requirements of cats.
It may also say that a clinical trial was conducted to prove the food’s nutritional value. If the cat food comes with such a statement, it will meet all of the cat’s nutritional requirements, and it will not be necessary to give the cat supplements.
Given that, D’Arrigo states that a good commercial cat food will be suitable for most felines. Anybody who wants to try to make their own cat food should consult a veterinary nutritionist to make certain their cat food incorporates all of the nutrients that a cat will need.