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02.04.2022

Beanz meanz proteinz, but can cats eat beans?

Whether on toast, in your chilli con carne, or as part of your healthy salad, beans are a staple for humans looking for a nutritious, tasty element in their diet.

Cats have vastly different nutritional requirements, and trying to foist human food on cats may not always be the best idea.

Can cats eat beans? As obligate carnivores, cats can’t necessarily get what they need by eating what humans consider healthy. Beans are a perfect example of this. 

Read on and find out how to keep your feline’s nutrition as close to nature as possible. 

What is in a bean?

Beans of all types have a reputation as superfoods for humans.

Rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals, beans are an excellent way for the human body to take nutrients on board and are a suitable alternative to meat for those who favour a vegetarian or vegan diet.

A typical bean will contain nutrients in the following proportions:

Nutrient group

Percentage in beans

Protein 

9%

Fat 

1%

Carbohydrates 

26%

Fibre from carbs 

9%

In addition to these values, beans offer, on average, high percentages of the human daily requirement for several minerals, notably:

Mineral

Percentage of human daily requirement per cup of beans (171 g)

Iron

20%

Calcium 

8%

Magnesium

21%

Phosphorous

25%

Potassium

21%

The keyword to remember in this table, though, is “human.” Cats’ needs are very different.

Most beans may be ok in moderation, but these definitely aren’t!

Source: Pixabay

Are beans good for cats?

However good a source of nutrition beans may be for humans, cats are not like us.

Most beans—except coffee and cacao varieties—are non-toxic and unlikely to cause allergic reactions, but this doesn’t make them good.

There are lots of things in beans that may cause health issues for your feline, the most notable of which being:

  1. Mineral content
  2. Carbohydrate amounts
  3. Protein level and quality

What’s with the mineral content in most beans?

While beans are full of minerals, your cat may be getting either too much or too little of certain substances.

The two most common health problems cats experience as a result of excess minerals are:

  1. Hyperkalaemia (excess potassium)
  2. Hypernatremia (too much sodium)

What is hyperkalaemia?

Hyperkalaemia is a condition caused by too much potassium and is linked to urinary tract infections (UTIs) in cats, such as cystitis and bladder stones.

The symptoms of hyperkalaemia in cats are:

  • Muscle weakness or degeneration
  • Depression
  • Heart arrhythmia with the possibility of seizures or coronary failure

How can hypernatraemia affect cats?

Too much sodium in your feline’s diet can lead to:

How many carbs do cats need?

Cats and carbs don’t mix. Cats can’t process carbohydrates easily, and the results of your feline getting calories from carbs are:

  1. Blood sugar issues
  2. Weight gain

Blood sugar issues

Carbs such as fibre and starch are broken down into sugar after being eaten, meaning that your cat’s bloodstream is flooded with sugar that has to be managed.

To regulate the blood sugar level, cats release insulin that is produced in the pancreas.

Over time, a cat’s pancreas can lose efficiency, leading to:

  • Lethargy as your cat experiences a sugar rush and subsequent crash
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the overworked organ)
  • Diabetes (the inability to produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugar)

Diabetes is a life sentence and, while not fatal, condemns your cat to a special diet and daily insulin injections.

Weight gain

Carbs deliver fast-release energy, but any unused calories are stored for future use as fatty cells.

The result is weight gain, but the process will be so gradual that you may not notice it until your kitty is morbidly obese.

The only recourse at this point is a diet before more serious health problems set in.

The worst consequences of allowing a cat to remain overweight can be:

  • Heart disease
  • Hyperthyroidism and other metabolic conditions
  • Reduced mobility

“Leave me alone, I LIKE beans!”

Source: Leila Meins

Do beans deliver healthy protein?

Beans are relatively protein-rich, but cats can’t benefit much from the amino acids they contain.

Cats need animal protein to get the full spectrum of amino acids—such as taurine—that they need to be healthy.

Even the best plant protein doesn’t cover a cat’s requirements, and this can be seen by comparing the biological values (BVs) of common protein sources.

The BV measures the metabolisable percentage of each protein source, and meat and fish clearly outclass vegetable protein for cats:

Protein type

BV

Animal protein, including:

88%–98%

Vegetable protein, such as:

45%–68%

As an addition to this, cats need a lot of animal protein to cover their requirements.

The ideal balance between the nutrient groups in good cat food is:

Nutrient type

Ideal percentage

Animal protein

Over 50%

Fat

Up to 20%

Carbs/fibre

Maximum 3%

If you compare these values to the percentages in most beans, as shown above, you will see that beans are nowhere near sufficient to keep felines healthy. 

As a snack or complementary food, beans may be acceptable if your cat enjoys eating them, but the idea of a vegan or vegetarian diet based on beans is a non-starter.

The better alternative to plant protein!

Image (c) Untamed

What should cats eat?

Cats need meat, meat, and more meat.

The ideal cat food should stick to the ingredients that cats would naturally eat in the wild. Cats in their natural hunting environment feed on:

Good cat food tries to replicate the nutrients that these foods contain, meaning that it should contain:

  • Animal protein
  • Animal fat
  • No carbs, grains, artificial additives, or supplements

You can check what’s in any cat food by referring to the:

  1. Product description
  2. Ingredients list
  3. Guaranteed analysis

Product description

The name of cat food can tell you a lot about its quality.

Cat food names are subject to strict regulation, and flavour descriptions depend on how much of the stated ingredient is in the product:

Flavour description

Percentage of the named meat in the product

“Flavoured with”

Up to 4%

“With”

4%–14%

“Rich in”

14%–26%

“XYZ”, for example, Chocka Chicken, Tuck-In Tuna, or Full-On Fishy

Over 26%

Ingredients list

By law, ingredients have to be listed in order of volume in the product.

Meat should always be the first ingredient on the cat food you choose, but you should also be aware of a couple of tricks manufacturers use to circumvent the rules:

  • Ingredient splitting—Manufacturers sometimes split up single ingredients by the way they are processed. Each ingredient then makes up a smaller volume, meaning that meat remains in the first place. An example would be splitting corn into corn gluten, cornmeal, and ground yellow corn
  • Catch-all meat descriptions—Terms such as “meat and animal byproducts” may be hiding a multitude of sins as you can never be sure what has gone into each tin. Such ingredients allow manufacturers to alter the formulation at will. If your cat is fussy, has a sensitive stomach, or is prone to gastrointestinal disorders, you are best sticking with a food that is upfront about its exact ingredients
  • Complicated, scientific mumbo-jumbo—Too many complex-sounding additives towards the end of the ingredients list could be a warning sign that the basic ingredients in your cat food aren’t up to the job and require boosting

Guaranteed analysis

The guaranteed analysis tells you the minimum percentage of each food group that is in the product.

On its own, the analysis doesn’t give you much information, but when compared with the ingredients list and the product name, you should get an idea of the quality of the food.

The best cat foods have the following labelling characteristics:

  • Name indicating more than 26% of the specified meat
  • Short, concise ingredients list
  • Guaranteed analysis that verifies the first two points

A box of Untamed goodness!

Image (c) Untamed

Full of beans without beans from Untamed!

Untamed ticks all the boxes when it comes to giving cats exactly what they need and love.

We are committed to making your feline healthy and happy by providing the best possible nutrition, and every tin of Untamed will give your cat:

  1. High levels of exclusively animal protein
  2. Vet-formulated recipes
  3. Human-grade ingredients

High levels of exclusively animal protein

Every Untamed recipe is packed full of meat.

With no vegetable protein, artificial additives, or preservatives, you can rest assured that your cat will be getting the best nutrition possible.

Whether you choose our recipes in gravy or jelly, twice the amount of protein than you normally find in cat food also means that Untamed can have a beneficial effect on:

The best news is that Untamed tastes great, so switching from your cat’s previous food—whether it was wet, semi-moist, dry, or raw—should be greeted with enthusiasm.

Vet-formulated recipes

Although they began life as homemade meals, our vets have honed each of our products to perfection.

They contain no known allergens and can be fed to cats in any life stage and condition, including:

Human-grade ingredients

Everything that goes into each tin of Untamed is the best of the best.

At Untamed, we believe that your cat’s food should be:

  • Made with the highest-quality ingredients
  • Ethically sound
  • Sustainable, in recyclable packaging, and 100% carbon neutral

With all this goodness, who needs to snack on beans? Try Untamed today and get both healthy and tasty meals for your kitty!

The key to your cat’s health and happiness from Untamed.

Image (c) Untamed

Getting Untamed delivered to your door

Getting tailor-made Untamed food for your cat couldn’t be easier!

All you need to do to secure your uninterrupted supply of healthy cat food is:

  1. Tell us all about your cat
  2. Choose a meal plan
  3. Order your first trial pack

You enjoy free shipping on all our online cat food orders. As soon as your trial pack arrives, you and your kitty can start discovering the Untamed taste sensations.

Our happy Untamed cat parents report that you could notice:

Timeline

What Untamed can achieve

Within a week

  • More energy
  • Less mess in the litter tray

After two months

  • Reduced tendency to snack
  • Better muscle build

Within four months

  • A shinier coat
  • Exuberance and playfulness

For life

  • Natural weight control
  • Fewer health niggles

What about specific kinds of beans? Are they ok as a snack?

If your cat likes the taste of beans, you should be safe to offer them as a snack, but here are some tips on specific bean varieties.

Can cats eat baked beans?

Baked beans contain a lot of salt and should only be fed in small quantities.

You should avoid any of the spicy flavour variants available.

Can cats eat kidney beans?

As long as they are cooked, red kidney beans are acceptable.

Bear in mind that uncooked red kidney beans can be highly toxic to both cats and humans.

Can cats eat black beans?

Similarly to kidney beans, black beans should be cooked before they are offered to your cat.

All bean varieties in cans should also be rinsed before serving, as the juice often contains large amounts of salt.

Check out our other guides to what cats can or cannot eat:

Sausage

Ice cream

Moths

Frogs

Peppermint oil

Cake

Liver

Mayo

Baby food

Broccoli

Almond milk

Sugar

Cucumber

Sweet potato

Honey

Peanuts

Porridge

Coconut

Raw chicken

Eggs

Bananas

Nuts

Blueberries

Crisps

Rice

Peanut butter

Pasta

Bones

Garlic

Potatoes

Carrots

Vegetables

Raspberries

Pineapple

Onions

Oranges

Chicken

Pork

Raw meat

Apples

Soy milk

Mushrooms

Pumpkin

Slugs

Turkey

Mango

Birds

Peas

Chocolate

Cheese

Bacon

Grapes

Bread

Lactose-free milk

Adult cat food

Sweetcorn

Avocado

Tomatoes

Strawberries

Catnip

Ham

Popcorn

Olive oil