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Can Cats Eat Chickpeas? Vet-Reviewed Info to Know

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

By Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Can Cats Eat chickpeas

Vet approved

Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Also referred to as garbanzo beans, chickpeas are legumes full of protein and fiber. Garbanzo beans pack a punch when it comes to flavor, and they can be used in a variety of different recipes to create meals inspired by places all around the world, including India. Chickpeas contain plenty of nutrition in the form of folate, butyrate, saponins, and B vitamins.1

This legume is also known to help humans by keeping blood sugar levels stable, enhancing gut health, and even keeping cholesterol levels low. 2 So, if chickpeas are so healthy for humans to consume, are they good for cats too?  Are chickpeas a danger to them? The short answer is that yes, cats can eat chickpeas, but the longer answer is that they shouldn’t. Let’s explore more on this topic.

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Cats Can Eat Chickpeas, But …

The first thing to keep in mind when answering the question as to whether cats can eat chickpeas is that these animals are obligate carnivores, which means that they require animal protein to get the nutrition that they need for survival. Therefore, cats do not require nutrition intake from plant foods like chickpeas.

However, eating a couple of chickpeas now and again is not the worst thing that your cat could do. In fact, some commercial cat food recipes include chickpeas as part of their ingredients to increase the protein content and overall nutritional value. So, while chickpeas are not an ideal food for your cat, they are not poisonous and should not harm your cat when consumed in moderation.

Why Your Cat Should Not Eat Too Many Chickpeas

While chickpeas are not inherently poisonous to cats, they can pose a danger if too many are consumed regularly. First, chickpeas are high in carbohydrates and fiber, which is something that your cat does not need much of. Consuming too many chickpeas can result in an upset digestive system, excessive gas, constipation, and diarrhea. Second, eating too many chickpeas makes less room for their complete and balanced cat food, which is designed to meet all your cat’s nutritional needs, not just some of them.

If your cat is eating things like chickpeas in place of cat food, a nutritional imbalance or deficiency will eventually develop.

Chickpeas
Image Credit: Appel-und-n-Ei, Pixabay

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How Many Chickpeas Are Too Many for Your Cat?

In short, your cat should not be consuming more than just a couple of chickpeas at a time and only occasionally. If your cat is eating chickpeas daily, unless they are a small part of their food ingredients, they are likely eating too many. Remember, your cat does not need to eat chickpeas at all. So, any that are offered should be thought of as nothing more than treats.

Don’t rely on chickpeas to provide your cat with all the nutrition that they need to thrive.

How Should Chickpeas Be Fed to Your Cats?

If you do decide to feed chickpeas to your cat, it is important to make sure that they are not seasoned with onion or garlic. They should be offered up plain as they are, even if they are cooked. Your cat can eat chickpeas right out of the can or pot, and they can eat them baked or boiled plain.

Use chickpeas as treats during training time, add a couple to feed at mealtime, or mash a few up, and use the mash to cover up pills that your cat may need to take.

Alternatives to Consider Feeding Your Cat

You likely won’t find an alternative that your cat will like if they are a fan of chickpeas. However, some “human” foods are better for cats than chickpeas are, if for no other reason than that they are easier for kitties to digest. If you want to treat your cat to a snack now and then but want to stay away from chickpeas, here are a few options to consider:

Again, your cat needs none of these foods to stay healthy. However, they may enjoy munching on some occasionally for variety.

cat eating out of food bowl
Image Credit: PxFuel

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Conclusion

Since cats are carnivores, they don’t need to eat chickpeas or other plant foods. This doesn’t mean that they can’t do so, though. You can feel good about offering your cat a chickpea or two if they show interest. You also don’t have to feel guilty if you decide not to let your cat eat chickpeas.


Featured Image Credit: alexdante, Pixabay

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