Chickpeas are also known as a garbanzo bean make a fantastic addition to salads, soups, and many other dishes. It is also a key ingredient in the popular and yummy hummus. Packed with protein, chickpea is a favorite for many and its mild flavor and texture make it even more so. Yes, we all love chickpeas and even better hummus but what about our felines? Do they get the same value from chickpea as we do? Can cats eat chickpeas? We’ll find out soon!
Is It A Good Idea To Feed Your Cat Chickpeas?
Feeding your cat chickpeas may not be a good idea as they can be difficult to digest for your pet and are also low on nutritional elements your cat requires for optimal health.
Because your cat’s body is evolved to primarily process meat and meat-based foods, giving them a significant amount of beans may cause digestive problems like bloating or diarrhea. They offer minimal value in the way of nutrition and could also contribute unwanted calories to your pet’s diet which may result in metabolic issues like weight gain and diabetes. If your cat is already obese, then you should avoid feeding it starchy plant food entirely.
Nutritional Value of Chickpeas
Protein is a coveted nutrient for growth and development and chickpeas contain ample amounts of it.
Lecithin is another key nutrient in chickpea. It is essential for cell production and potassium all highly needed for organ protection. Magnesium, copper, and folate are also some of the nutrients required for general well-being.
Vitamins A and B are also contained in chickpeas and they are essential for fighting free radicals and lowering the risk of cancers.
Nutritional Benefits Of Chickpeas For Cats
Many pet experts agree that cats should not be fed chickpeas but they, however, maintain that chickpeas may hold a few health benefits though quite minimal for cats.
For one, chickpeas are rich in protein- the same reason you add it to salads. The high amount of protein contained in chickpeas is needed to build and maintain strong muscles, healthy skin and hair. For cats though, the protein contained in chickpeas may not offer many benefits as they are obligate carnivores adapted to live almost exclusively on animal flesh, unlike people or dogs. Meat supplies most of your cat’s nutritional requirement and that includes their protein needs.
Also, the proteins in chickpeas do not contain the required amino acids for your feline’s diet. Nutrients like taurine are vital for your cat’s health are non-existent in a plant-based diet. For optimal health, it may be best to stick to specially formulated cat food diet for your cat. A diet that consists largely of human foods for a cat will not meet its needs.
Can Chickpeas Benefit Cats?
Chickpeas also contain dietary fiber which can be helpful to your cat in small amounts. While your cat would not feed on plants in the wild. The fact remains that your cat does not live in the wild. With dry cat food, your cat may sometimes suffer from digestive problems that can be helped by supplementing their meals with minimal amounts of plant fiber.
Fiber from chickpeas can help combat constipation in two major ways; add bulk to stool and introduce fluid into the intestine. This explains why just a small amount of plant food may help enhance your cat’s bowel movement. Despite these health benefits; chickpeas should only be used occasionally as a treat.
If you are only looking to introduce fiber to your feline’s diet to curb constipation; there are other efficient options available. Low-calorie and low-starch plants like carrots, cucumbers, and apples may make better options for cats as they do not lead to bloating, diarrhea and indigestion.
Possible Problems Of Feeding Chickpeas To Cats
Oxalic acid is present in chickpeas. If your pet is predisposed to allergies like itching, rashes or any other skin problem. It might be a good idea to avoid plant foods like chickpeas which are rich in oxalic. If you are considering having a vegetarian cat, then you may need to nip the thought in the bud. You will only end up with a mal-nourished cat with some health issues on the side.
Apart from oxalic acids which may directly cause allergies to your cat, there aren’t exactly any actual components in chickpeas that have been found to be poisonous. The main concern is more in the fact that plant-like chickpeas should not be a substitute for a cat’s regular diet.
Final Thoughts On Cats And Chickpeas
All said, your cat would be better off avoiding chickpeas or any other bean altogether. High in empty calories and low in vital amino acids, they contain difficult-to-digest starches for cats. For a cat with an unexplained fondness for chickpeas, you may toss it a couple as a treat. But this should not become a habit. Even though they are deemed non-toxic to cats; “non-toxic” doesn’t necessarily imply that it is nutritious. If you intend sharing chickpeas with your feline, you should opt for fresh or frozen chickpeas as the canned beans are extremely high in salt and may cause hyperglycemia.