Did your parents ever tell you to eat your beans when you were a kid? Yes, I know that ‘eat your greens’ was pretty much standard but my folks believed in the goodness of the common bean as well.
There is more to beans than just your popular baked beans. Black beans have been touted to have many health benefits these days which might sway some cat owners into giving their cats some as a dietary supplement.
But can cats eat black beans?
Cats can eat some black beans as they aren’t known to be toxic to cats. A few beans every now and then won’t be much of an issue for your cat. But cats should not eat beans on a regular basis as they do not have the ability to digest plant matter efficiently which can result in digestive problems.
In this article, we will be taking a more detailed look into what black beans are and whether should you be feeding your cat any black beans at all.
What Are Black Beans?
Black beans, also known as turtle beans, are part of the legumes family that consists of other more well-known beans like pinto beans, green beans, kidney beans, etc.
Black beans are very recognizable due to their satin black color but they are white on the inside. They aren’t big beans, measuring only about 1/2 inch in length.
These beans taste creamy and mild which makes them a good candidate as a side dish or part of the dish.
They have a few known health benefits as well:
- Managing diabetes
- Preventing cancer
- Weight loss
- Promotes better digestion
- Helps to lower blood pressure
As great as these health benefits might be, they are more geared toward humans as no studies have been conducted on cats to date.
Are Black Beans Poisonous To Cats?
Black beans are not poisonous to cats but that doesn’t mean that cat owners should start making their cats eat beans. Even though cats are mammals like us, their digestive systems and dietary requirements are very different from ours.
First of all, cats are obligate carnivores. The word ‘obligate’ means compel to undertake or restricted to a particular function.
That puts cats one notch above dogs that are classified as carnivores.
An obligate carnivore requires meat from animal protein to survive. The important word here is ‘survive’. Whereas a carnivore requires meat to thrive.
So there is a great difference between the two.
Regardless of how beneficial black beans or vegetables are in general, cats do not benefit from eating any plant matter at all.
In fact, too much plant matter or carbohydrates can be bad for your cat’s digestive system, which brings me to my second point.
Cats do not have the ability to digest carbs at all. So don’t expect your cat to eat a mochi and feel good after that.
Your cat lacks the necessary enzymes to break down the ingested carbohydrates into energy. This means your cat’s digestive system has to work extra hard to try and digest the carbs. It can cause symptoms like diarrhea, flatulence, vomiting and bloating.
Can Cats Eat Bean And Cheese?
There are some pet owners who think that by adding cheese to an unhealthy snack, it automatically makes the dish healthier for the cat.
I ain’t making this stuff up.
I have spoken to pet owners who actually have this train of thought for some reason. I love cheese but it isn’t some divine ingredient that makes everything better.
In fact, letting your cat eat cheese can make things a lot worse. This is because cats are lactose intolerant which means that they can’t digest dairy products.
Cats lost the ability to digest dairy stuff after kittenhood. Their bodies no longer produced the enzyme to break down the sugar or lactose in milk.
Excess dairy in your cat’s diet can lead to:
- Loss of appetite
I tell everyone that my cat is half-Italian because my cat goes crazy when he smells parmesan cheese. He only gets one tiny piece for the week and not a piece more despite all the pestering.
Can Cats Eat Fermented Black Beans?
Fermented black beans aren’t exactly black beans but are made from black soybeans. These black soybeans have been fermented for a long time to give them their signature pungent yet Unami taste.
It is widely used in Asian cooking for flavoring which is able to cut through many heavy-tasting sauces and ingredients.
Please do not give your cat any fermented black beans as it is very salty. Cats only need about 20-41mg of sodium daily. And one tablespoon of fermented black beans has close to 600mg of sodium.
Too much salt in your cat’s diet can lead to salt poisoning that causes:
- Excessive thirst
Besides the high salt content, fermented black beans can also contain artificial flavoring and preservatives that can be toxic to cats.
What Kind Of Beans Can Cats Eat?
Even though black beans are not the most ideal type of snack to be giving your cat, it is ok to give some to your cat if it likes the smell and taste of black beans.
The best way to prepare beans for your cat is to only feed it cooked beans and not raw beans. Raw beans are very hard and can be hard to chew for your cat.
Furthermore, if you are feeding it to a kitten or an elderly cat, it might cause them to choke.
Even with cooked beans, I would suggest that you mash it down to a soft paste before feeding it to your fat. Do not feed a whole pot of cooked beans just a few pieces to satisfy its craving.
You do not have to add any salt or seasoning to make the black beans taste better. Your cat doesn’t need it. Just serve it plain.
What Kind Of Beans Are Toxic To Cats?
Although cats can eat beans from the legumes family, do not feed your cat any coffee beans or cocoa beans.
Even though coffee can be a great ‘perk me up’ drink for us, it is very toxic to cats due to the presence of caffeine.
Coffee beans contain a lot of caffeine which can have an adverse effect on your cat in less than 30 minutes and last for 12 hours.
- Excess meowing
Kittens and older cats are more at risk of experiencing more severe side effects.
Cacao beans are what’s used to make our chocolate which is also very toxic to our feline friends. This is due to the chemical compound called theobromine.
Due to the sensitive nature of cats, it doesn’t take much coffee or chocolate for them to experience some side effects.
If your cat has accidentally ingested coffee or chocolate, you need to get it to the vet for medical treatment as soon as possible.
The vet might try to induce vomiting in your cat if the incident happened less than an hour ago. This will help purge as much of the contents in your cat’s stomach.
An IV drip will also be given to rehydrate your cat as it needs fluids to stabilize the body.
The faster your cat gets treated, the better the chances of a full recovery. These substances can cause death in severe cases.