Can Cats Eat Chickpeas?

 

Who doesn’t love cats? Their warm cuddles and therapeutic purring is something that can melt away all our problems. However, cats are also notorious for their sassy attitude and for the fact that they are extremely picky eaters. You probably have had to spend a whole lot of money on various flavors of cat food that went to waste before finding the one flavor that your cat is willing to eat. Your worst nightmare is the possibility that their flavor is called back, and you’re left with a very hungry and very angst-ridden feline. Sometimes your cat simply gets bored of their favorite food, and you are left scratching your head about what to do.

This explains why cat owners are willing to experiment with different kinds of foods. You want to add variety to their meals to keep them from getting bored and refusing to eat. It will also ensure that you will have a backup in case your cat decides to show some “cattitude.” You can simply add these foods to their meals to make them more appealing to them.

However, any responsible pet owner should know that you can’t judge what is safe or healthy for your cat with the same standard you would use on yourself. Cats and humans are programmed much differently, and so their nutritional requirements and tolerance to certain foods vary a great deal. So you need to have proper information about whether the food you plan to give them is cat friendly.

It’s not just the toxic food that you have to watch out for. Toxic food is fatal to your cat and, if eaten, can’t end up in tragedy. Foods labeled as non-healthy also play a negative role in your cat’s diet. These are the kind of foods that won’t cause your feline to end up in the ER but certainly aren’t doing any favors for your cat health-wise. All they do is add empty calories and can even become an underlying cause for health issues such as obesity.

Today we are going to explore the possibility of adding chickpeas to your cat’s meals. Are chickpeas safe to be given to our cats? Read on to find the answer to all your questions.

What do cats usually eat?

Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they derive all their nutritional needs from animal or meat protein. Out in the wild, felines are hunters, and they catch their prey. They usually eat smaller mammals such as rodents as well as birds and fish. They also eat insects; although insects don’t do much for them nutrition-wise, they just hunt them for fun.

Cats are surprisingly lactose intolerant. This means they are not able to digest dairy products such as cheese and yogurt, and even milk! 

Although cats are carnivores, they don’t mind eating grains and vegetables. This food group doesn’t make up a major part of their meal and is, at best, to be treated as an occasional meal.

So, where do chickpeas fit in?

Chickpeas:

Chickpeas are also known as garbanzo beans and are a popular food choice, especially for healthy eating. The beans are rich in protein and the necessary carbs and are also very filling. They have a pleasant texture and can be added to a variety of food such as salads and soups. They are also what is used to make hummus! Hence making them a common household item.

Can cats eat chickpeas:

There is no doubt that chickpeas make for a great addition to our food and are healthy too, but that applies to us humans. What about our cats? Can our cats eat chickpeas?

Technically, yes, cats can eat chickpeas. Chickpeas are considered nontoxic foods for our felines, which means they don’t contain any harmful substances that might cause health concerns for our felines. But the real question that we should be asking is should we feed our cats chickpeas? Just because a food isn’t toxic, it doesn’t mean that it is nutritious. What are the possible benefits and the possible harms of feeding our cat’s chickpeas?  

Health benefits of chickpeas for cats:

While it isn’t suggested to add chickpeas to your cat’s regular meals, if your cat shows an interest in these beans and happily eat them, you can add them in as an occasional treat. Chickpeas do have a limited number of health benefits that make them pass as a treat. These include:

  • The most obvious reason why we would want to include chickpeas in our cat’s diet is that they are rich in protein. Protein is important to build healthy and strong muscles, for healthy skin and hair. They also help develop a strong immune system in our cats.
  • Chickpeas contain a variety of ingredients, which play an important role in maintaining your cat’s overall health. Lecithin, which is present in these beans, is known to improve cell production in your cat’s system. Chickpeas also contain potassium, which is vital for your cat’s organs. Copper is needed to store and produce iron, and folate is needed for the overall health of your cat. 
  • Chickpeas have a unique texture, which helps with preventing constipation and easing digestion for your feline.
  • These beans contain vitamin A and B complex as well as antioxidants, and these all work towards improving your cat’s eyesight, immunity, and fight of cancer as well as aiding the cells live longer.

Drawbacks of feeding your cat chickpeas:

So while it is natural to make the connection that since chickpeas are rich in protein and cats depend on protein to live a healthy life, this is a great food to offer them. Not quite so. The proteins that are present in chickpeas aren’t the same proteins that your cat needs. Your cat needs the protein that comes from animal flesh. The proteins present in chickpeas don’t have the required amino acids that your cat needs to survive, such as taurine. It’s not just from chickpeas that this amino acid is missing; it doesn’t exist in any plant-based food. So if you replace the animal protein with this plant-based protein, your cat will have nutritional deficiencies and will not live to its fullest.

Chickpeas do contain dietary fiber, which is especially needed if your cat is suffering from digestive issues. Plant fiber can be used as a supplement, which will help ease constipation by either increasing the fluid in your cat’s intestine or by bulking up their stool. As a result, your cat will have healthier and more regular bowel movements. However, if you do want to add plant fiber to your cat’s diet, there are many other healthier options to offer to your cat. These foods will be more efficient and will add to their nutrition. Cucumbers, apples, and carrots are great options since they are lower in starch content as well as lower in their calorie count.

Chickpeas also contain a substance known as oxalic acid. If your cat is already prone to allergies, rashes, excessive itching, and other skin problems, then oxalic acid will only aggravate them further.

Another problem associated with chickpeas is that they are difficult for cats to digest, and so they have to be cooked very carefully before being given to your cat. Otherwise, your cat will suffer from bloating, indigestion, and diarrhea. Chickpeas also have calories, and too many chickpeas in your cat’s diet will result in an unnecessary addition of empty calories, which in turn leads to diabetes, insulin resistance, and obesity, which in turn can also cause heart problems.

Conclusion:

There aren’t any elements in chickpeas that can be classified as toxic. There is so denying the fact that they do serve some health benefits to your cats.

These garbanzo beans will only be considered a health risk if you choose to replace the meat protein in your cat’s diet with chickpea protein. Chickpeas don’t contain the necessary nutritional elements that are present in meat, and so while they do offer some health benefits, those are secondary. If you plan on making your cat a vegetarian, we would strongly advise against it. If you deprive your cat of meat, they will become extremely malnourished and will end up with a long list of health issues. 

If you do feel the need to add chickpeas to your cat’s diet, the way to introduce this plant is to do so as an occasional treat. You will have to exercise the art of moderation when it comes to feeding your cat chickpeas and include only small amounts. Too much of this plant can lead to health issues.

We can’t rely on the limited number of health benefits that chickpeas have to offer as enough for them to be made a staple part of your cat’s diet, nor can they replace the health benefits cats get from meat protein. If you do want to include plants, there are healthier plants that you can offer your cat to add variety to their meals than chickpeas.

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