Beans are a staple in my house, so naturally when I was new to pet parenting, I often wondered Can cats eat black beans?
It is but natural that our pets want to share our foods. However, you must know which human food is okay and which isn’t okay to share with a cat. After all, many human foods can be downright toxic to our feline friends.
Like all cat parents, I want to give the best to my cat.
Beans are rich source of protein but knowing my cat and its sensitive digestion, I am wary of giving her anything I am not 100% sure of. Thankfully, my vet confirmed that it is okay to feed cooked beans to cats from time to time.
In this post, I will discuss ‘can cats eat black beans’ in detail and especially focus on different varieties of beans as well as some dos and don’ts about the topic.
Can Cats Eat Black Beans?
When you pop open a can of beans does your cat come running? Mine does for sure!
Canned beans often contain many harmful ingredients which can cause indigestion in your pet.
Also, there are hundreds of different varieties of beans: lima beans, navy beans, broad beans, cannellini beans, fava beans, red beans, black beans, pinto beans, etc. Not all beans are okay for cats.
Yes, you will find hundreds of recipes for these different bean varieties. But before you start cooking, please confirm with your vet – Can your cat eat all these bean varieties? Or are there restrictions?
Here’s what I learned:
Say NO to canned black beans
Cats can eat most variety of beans provided you do not feed them the canned versions.
Canned beans contain a lot of salt which can be detrimental to your cat’s health. In extreme cases, too much salt can even cause salt toxicity in your cat.
Canned beans also contain preservatives which can cause digestive upset in some cats. Many varieties of cats contain tomatoes, onions, and garlic, which can be difficult to digest for your feline.
Home-cooked black beans are best
Therefore the answer to the question: can cats eat black beans is yes.
Cats can eat black beans but you must cook them yourself and not feed your pet the canned version. Secondly, you must cook the beans properly using cat-friendly ingredients to ensure that your pet can easily digest them.
Also Read: Can Cats Eat Bell Peppers
Are Black Beans Bad for Cats to Eat
Black bean recipes are not bad for cats to eat provided you do not use canned beans. Also, the recipe should avoid onions, garlic, tomatoes, too much salt, and herbs and seasonings which can cause digestive upset in your cat.
Secondly, if you only plan on feeding black beans to your cat and nothing else, then it can be harmful as well.
While beans are an excellent vegetarian source of protein, they cannot be the sole protein to feed your cat. After all, cats are carnivores and they need animal protein for sustenance.
Therefore, the answer to the question: are black beans bad for cats depends on what you add to the beans recipe and also what else your pet eats to meet its nutritional needs.
Most bean recipes made using a bit of salt, chicken, and a few teaspoons of olives oil may be fine for cats to digest.
However, if you add human foods like garlic, tomatoes, onions, etc. – which is what most of the conventional bean recipes contain – then these could be bad for your pet.
Also Read: 31 Most Toxic Foods for Cats
What Nutrients in Black Beans Can Cats Benefit From?
Beans are a great source of protein and dietary fiber for cats and humans. They are also readily available the world over and easy to find in grocery stores.
You can easily stock up on beans as they last a long time making it a great replacement for meat for vegetarians and vegans.
Beans can also have a number of health benefits for cats including roughage to reduce constipation, protein for lean muscle maintenance, and also decreasing blood sugar levels.
Here is a table showing the nutritional content in 1 cup or 175 g of cooked black beans
|Vitamin B9||64% of human RDI|
|Iron||28% of RDI|
|Magnesium||30% of RDI|
Can Cats Eat Kidney Beans?
Yes, kidney bean is packed with nutrition and cats can safely eat kidney bean recipes provided they do not contain other toxic ingredients.
As stated earlier, do make sure that kidney beans aren’t the only thing you feed your pet. Make sure it also gets high-quality, easy to digest meat.
Also: never feed canned kidney beans and use home-cooked recipes as far as possible. Do avoid raw kidney beans as they are terribly hard on your cat’s digestion.
Also Read: Can Cats Eat Cooked Shrimp
Can Cats Eat Pinto Beans?
Like all other beans described above, pinto beans make an excellent source of protein for your cat.
As stated before, only feed cooked pinto beans – avoid feeding them raw as that can cause upset stomach in your pet. Also, cook the pinto beans yourself instead of using the canned varieties.
Please note that pinto beans are quite bland compared to other bean varieties – but, you must not give in to the temptation of seasoning them too much, since many seasonings and herbs are toxic to cats.
Also Read: Can Cats Eat Sunflower Seeds
Can Cats Eat Refried Beans?
No. I would strongly recommend not to feed your cat refried beans.
Refried beans contain a lot of salt. Too much salt can cause an electrolytic imbalance in your cat and can even cause salt toxicity or salt poisoning in cats.
Symptoms of salt toxicity are vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, reduced appetite, incoordination, confusion, and excess urination.
So, please keep refried beans out of your cat’s diet.
Also read: Can Cats Eat Ginger
Can Cats Eat Baked Beans?
No, like refried and canned beans, your pet can suffer from immediate health complications after eating baked beans.
Even baked beans from top brands like Heinz contain a ton of salt, tomatoes, spice extracts, herb extracts, spirit vinegar, and corn flour.
Your cat cannot digest these ingredients because it does not have the necessary enzymes needed for digesting them.
Even a small quantity of baked beans can cause gas, indigestion, vomiting, and other painful symptoms in your cat.
So please avoid adding canned baked beans to cat food.
Also Read: Best Cat Food for Diarrhea
Are Lima Bean and Green Bean Recipes okay to Feed Cats?
The short answer is that cats can eat lima beans provided you have cooked them using cat-friendly ingredients and feed it only in moderation.
As far as green beans are concerned, it is a safe vegetable to feed cats. Green beans can even slim down obese cats as their fiber content can keep a cat full longer.
The ASPCA also recommends green beans in the safe-for-cats-to-eat vegetable list. However, you must practice moderation as too many green beans can cause gas in your pet.
Also read: Best Cat Food for Gassy Cats
Can Cats Eat Raw Beans?
Never let your cat eat raw beans because raw beans and dried beans are extremely hard to digest. They can cause abdominal pain in your cat and can also make your pet extremely gassy.
Moreover, raw beans contain lectins which are a potentially toxic lycoprotein for cats.
Symptoms of lectin toxicity can vary from cat to cat but mostly it induces upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal pain, digestive distress, and in extreme cases, even hemorrhagic gastroenteritis.
(Even dairy products contain lectin which is why you must avoid feeding dairy to your cat.)
Almost all varieties of raw beans contain lectins in large amounts but kidney beans are known to have the highest lectin content. Therefore, you must avoid feeding raw kidney beans to your feline friend.
Cooking reduces this lectin content making it much safer and easier for your cat to digest.
To reiterate: only feed cooked beans to your cat, that too ensuring there are no other ingredients like tomatoes, onions, garlic, or too much salt in it.
Also Read: Can Cats Eat Raspberries
Can I Feed Chickpeas to my Cat?
No, please never feed chickpea or garbanzo beans to your cat.
Chickpeas are a great source of protein in human food, but for cats, they do not add any nutritional value.
Moreover, chickpeas can be hard to digest and could cause upset stomach, gas, flatulence, bloating, and other painful symptoms in your feline companion.
Can Cats Eat Lentils?
Avoid feeding lentil to your cat since cats do not gain much in the way of nutrition from it.
Also, lentils contain plenty of carbohydrates and if your cat is on a low carb, high protein diet, then lentils can impact those macros.
Also Read: Best High Protein Low Carb Canned Cat Food
Can Cats Eat Coffee Beans?
Cats cannot digest caffeine and even a moderate amount of caffeine can be toxic and could cause life-threatening effects in cats.
Also Read: Can Cats Drink Orange Juice?
Can I Feed My Cat Rice and Beans?
A little bit of rice won’t harm your cat. Most cats can safely and easily digest rice and many commercial cat foods (kibble and canned cat food both) often contain rice.
Similarly, beans are good source of protein for your cat in lieu of meat. So, you can feed a bit of rice and beans to your cat once in a while.
However, cats are primarily carnivores and they need meat. That is why you must not entirely depend on a diet of rice and beans to meet your cat’s nutritional needs.
What this means is: rice and beans are not a balanced diet for cats. Every once in a while, a little bit of rice mixed with some home cooked beans can constitute a healthy treat for your pet.
Try adding some chicken/lamb to the combination to meet your pet’s protein needs and also satisfy its craving for animal meat.
Please work with your vet to develop a balanced and healthy diet plan for your cat.
FAQs on Can Cats Eat Black Beans
1. Are beans toxic to cats and kittens?
No. Beans are not toxic to cats and kittens. In fact, in lieu of animal protein, beans make a good source of protein as well as fiber for your cat.
However, beans are not a balanced source of nutrition and your carnivorous pet needs meat to maintain muscles. So, do not rely on beans alone to meet your cat’s nutritional needs.
2. Can cats eat red beans and rice?
In moderate quantity, red beans and rice constitutes a healthy occasion treat for cats. You can feed your cat home-cooked red beans with rice once in a while, but make sure you mix it up with some animal meat too. This is necessary to meet your cat’s protein needs.
Make sure not to use canned red beans. These contain high amount of salt and sometimes other toxic ingredients to cats – preservatives, tomato pulp, chemicals, flavors, etc.
3. What is salt toxicity in cats?
High amounts of salt or sodium can cause symptoms of salt toxicity such as vomiting, diarrhea, digestive distress, etc. In extreme cases, cats can even experience seizures and if left untreated, some even die.
4. What should I feed a cat when I am out of cat food?
If you are out of cat food, feed your cat some boiled chicken/beef/turkey/lamb/pork without salt and seasonings. Mix it up with some plain, boiled rice. Please avoid feeding raw meat and raw eggs – these can cause salmonella poisoning in your pet.
Can cats eat black beans?
Yes, cats can eat cooked black beans in moderation – not the canned ones but the home-made black bean recipes only. Avoid seasoning the beans too much – especially the use of onion, tomatoes, and garlic.
Lastly, do not rely on black beans alone to meet your cat’s nutritional needs as your carnivorous pet needs high-quality, easily digestible animal protein as well.