Chickpeas are great protein sources and have been used by humans for almost 7500 years. But can cats eat chickpeas? Are chickpeas harmful to cats?
Who doesn’t like a well-made humus or a falafel wrap with tahini sauce? Well, without chickpeas they would not exist because the main ingredient in both dishes is chickpeas. Legumes are healthy in general and chickpeas are no exception but what is good for us is not always good for our cats. So, can cats eat chickpeas?
Can cats eat chickpeas?
Chickpeas do not contain anything toxic to cats therefore there is no harm in giving a few well cooked chickpeas to your cat however they are not exactly beneficial for your cat either. Cats can eat chickpeas but the question is “should they”.
It is true that chickpeas contain lots of proteins and they are very good for human consumption. What you should keep in mind is that cats are obligate carnivores which means that they need meat and animal protein to survive. Their digestion system is not evolved to process plants or plant based proteins.
Cats do consume plants based food because they ingest whatever in their prey’s stomach so they can digest very small amount of plants, too. Since their main prey is small rodents and birds, it is no surprise that they evolved to benefit even a little from plants such as cucumber, blackberries or lettuce.
Are chickpeas good for cats?
The main benefit of chickpeas for cats is the rich fiber content they contain. Fiber helps your cat’s digestion system especially if it has constipation issues but it also means that chickpeas are hard to digest so more than only a few chickpeas can cause diarrhea or indigestion.
Also the protein content in the chickpeas can not be completely absorbed by your kitty’s intestines so you can ignore it, as well. All things considered, the benefits of chickpeas are so little that they can be ignored.
To be honest, most cats don’t even turn their heads to look at chickpeas. Chickpeas don’t interest cats. Of course there are always oddballs who like them but in general chickpeas or garbanzo beans are not something your cat would kill for.
Are chickpeas dangerous to cats?
Can cats eat chickpeas? Yes, they can. However this doesn’t mean that they are not dangerous. Uncooked chickpeas are hard as rock to break a tooth and small enough to be choking hazards. Kitties can even chock on cooked chickpeas due to their size so extra attention is needed.
In addition to risk of choking, chickpeas contain a substance called oxalic acid which itching and rashes especially in cats with sensitive skin and stomachs. This substance doesn’t pose a life threatening threat but it can be annoying or sometimes painful for your little friend.
Can my cat eat humus?
Although chickpeas themselves are not dangerous to cats especially when they are smashed like they are in humus, one of the main ingredients of humus is: garlic! Garlic is toxic to cats and can poison them. It can even cause death if consumed in high amounts.
The symptoms of garlic poisoning are:
- vomiting and diarrhea,
- pale, yellow, or “muddy” colored gums,
- rapid breathing,
- and an elevated heart rate.
Conclusion – Can cats eat chickpeas?
Cats can eat chickpeas in small amounts but it is really unnecessary since there are a lot of substitutes that can provide the same or most probably more benefits to your kitty.
If your little friend steals some chickpeas, don’t panic. A few chickpeas won’t hurt it unless it shows allergic reactions. In such a case, call your veterinarian immediately and act according to the veterinarian’s advice.
Unlike humans, cats are obligate carnivores so they need animal protein to survive. Don’t ever try to replace animal protein with plant based proteins.