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Can Cats Eat Lima Beans? Vet-Approved Facts & FAQ

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Can Cats Eat Lima Beans

Vet approved

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lauren Demos

DVM (Veterinarian)

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

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It’s common for many cat owners to witness their kitty sniffing around at their leftovers, and although most cats won’t be interested unless it’s meat, some of them are happy to try anything. If you are an owner of a curious cat, perhaps this time it was lima beans that your cat nibbled on from your plate, and naturally, it will leave you wondering if cats can eat lima beans.

Your cat can eat lima beans but only in moderation and not as a replacement for any part of their current balanced diet. They provide some nutrients, but there are facts you need to be aware of before serving lima beans to your cat.


Can Cats Eat Lima Beans?

Lima beans are a type of legume also known as butter, wax, and double beans. They are packed with protein and highly nutritious to humans, but is it the same for our feline friends? Although cats can eat lima beans occasionally, it’s best if they don’t. While lima beans are high in protein, the best protein source for cats is high-quality meat since they are obligate carnivores.

If your cat eats lima beans, they should only do so in moderation. However, while a small portion of lima beans is considered okay, your cat’s digestive system may have difficulty breaking down carbohydrates. If your cat has a sensitive stomach or has digestive issues, you should keep lima beans off the menu.

Are Lima Beans Safe for Cats?

Although lima beans are not poisonous to cats, their ability to cause stomach issues makes them potentially dangerous. The digestive system of cats and humans are not the same.

a cat that feels sick and seems to vomit
Photo Credit: chie hidaka, Shutterstock

Uncooked Lima Beans

If your cat eats a bean or two, there is likely no reason to worry, but large portions served regularly can be harmful. It’s also vital to remember that lima beans contain compounds that are poisonous to cats when consumed raw.

Lectin in Lima Beans

Lima beans that are uncooked or undercooked contain a substance called lectin, which is toxic. Soaking legumes before cooking is the best approach to avoid this compound as it breaks them down, making it safer for cats to consume.

Additional Ingredients

Another factor to consider is that lima beans are often prepared with other ingredients that may not be safe for cats. These include ingredients such as garlic or onions, which are considered toxic to cats. Human diets often include too much salt and pepper and other ingredients that are difficult for cats to digest.

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Healthy Alternatives to Lima Beans

lima beans in the brown pot
Photo Credit: Niranjan Gaikwad, Shutterstock

While lima beans can be fine in small amounts, there are many healthier alternatives that your cat can enjoy, and it’s most likely that they won’t miss lima beans from their diet. If you want to feed them something different, or a fun and healthy treat, you can serve these foods safely along with a complete and well-balanced diet:

  • Cooked meats such as beef, chicken, and turkey
  • Cooked fish with bones removed
  • Cooked eggs occasionally
  • Cooked pumpkin
  • Blueberries
  • Banana

Before adding anything new to your cat’s diet, check with your veterinarian to ensure it’s okay.



Below we’ll answer some of the most commonly asked questions about cats eating lima beans.

Can Cats Eat Canned Lima Beans?

It is generally not recommended to feed your cat any type of food from a can unless it is cat food. This includes canned lima beans because most canned food contains high amounts of sodium to improve the taste and preserve the quality. If cats eat too much salt, it can lead to salt poisoning, which is a very serious condition that can be fatal in some cases.

What If My Cat Ate a Lot of Lima Beans?

If you noticed that your cat ate a large amount of beans, estimate how many were eaten and keep a close eye on your cat to look out for any signs of gastrointestinal upset. Never try to induce vomiting but call your veterinarian; they can help guide you through the next steps and decide if you should bring your cat in for an assessment or treatment.

vet checking bengal cat
Image Credit: Pressmaster, Shutterstock

Will Lima Beans Make My Cat Flatulent?

We all know the gassy consequences of enjoying lima beans, but can they have the same effect on your feline? They indeed can, and it may be worse as their digestive system battles to digest them. Therefore, if your cat already has digestive issues, they should stay from lima beans altogether, and if you decide to give your cat lima beans, consider breaking out the air freshener!

Remember that flatulence is a sign of an upset stomach, so not only is feeding your cat lima beans unpleasant for your nose, but it’s also unpleasant for them.

Can Cats Eat Any Type of Bean?

Although beans are generally safe for cats, they should not be part of a cat’s diet. In particular, cats should not consume red kidney beans since they may be toxic. Although they’re not legumes,  cocoa beans and coffee beans are also toxic to cats and should be stored securely.

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Cats can enjoy a few lima beans in moderation. However, while lima beans aren’t toxic to cats, it’s best to be safe and stick to food for felines. If your cat stole a bean or two off your plate, there is no need to worry, but feeding your cat lima beans as a part of their regular diet is dangerous. It is always best to consult your veterinarian if you want to add variety to their diet or healthy snacks.


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