Can cats eat lentils? Do you have to cook lentils before giving them to a cat? Is lentil soup better?
If you like eating lentils and cook with them I can understand you want to know if it’s safe for cats to eat lentils.
Owning a cat is almost like having a baby or small child around the house sometimes, isn’t it? Nothing is safe, and you have to know what innocent foods/objects are potentially hazardous.
I know if I leave even a scrap of tuna, ham, cheese, or some other foods I eat regularly my cat will snatch them up!
I found this question an interesting one, so I’ve done some pretty in-depth research for you to help your mind at ease.
What Exactly Are Lentils?
So I know that we’re all on the same page and to possibly help you learn that one new thing today that we should all strive to do (I know I learned something here), here is some background on lentils.
First of all, it came as a surprise to me that there is actually at least 12 different varieties of lentil.
I’m most familiar with the red/orange lentils. These are the ones most commonly found in lentil soups in my experience. I know I’ve used black lentils too, but I think that’s about it.
Nutritionally, they are packed with goodness for us. They are a great source of fiber, carbohydrates, and iron to mention just a few key things.
But, as I will explain in more detail throughout the article, all the stuff that’s great for us isn’t so good for cats.
Cats have very different dietary requirements from us. Which shouldn’t come as a surprise when you know your cat is much happier eating meat and formulated cat foods than whatever you’re eating for tea each night.
Can Cats Eat Lentils?
I spoke with some friends in a kitty group and pretty much everyone said that if they’ve ever made lentils available to their cats, they’ve happily eaten them.
So, this is pretty conclusive evidence that most cats like lentils and most cats will eat lentils.
The problem, however, is that lentils are not good for cats from a nutritional standpoint. So, anyone who reads this blog regularly will know that I tend to err on the side of caution.
I wouldn’t give my cat lentils, no. I recommend you don’t either. I’m sure a few here and there isn’t going to cause any problems, but I just don’t see it necessary to feed lentils to a cat on purpose.
Being high in carbohydrates is a problem. A cat’s diet in the wild, or a balanced diet indoors for that matter, should only consist of around 2% carbohydrates.
The same goes for the fiber content of lentils. Cats need very little fiber in their diets, eating lentils will surely push this over their requirement and could lead to problems.
I’ve never seen my cat eat more than a couple of lentils at a time, and this small amount didn’t cause any issues.
Any more however and I wouldn’t be surprised if a cat had all the signs of an upset tummy. Bloating, gas, diarrhea, discomfort, and so on. All a bit unnecessary just for a few lentils, right?
So, my advice is to keep eating lentils yourself, they’re super healthy. But keep them away from your cat and vice versa.
Can Kittens Eat Lentils?
Nope, it’s not advisable for all the same reasons as to why cats shouldn’t be eating lentils as I discussed above.
You have to be even more cautious what kittens eat as their stomachs are still developing and are nowhere as robust as an older cat.
When uncooked lentils are hard too. I can imagine this poses an additional risk for kittens as they can get stuck in their throats and digestive systems.
Can Cats Eat Lentil Soup?
I know what you’re thinking. If cats can’t eat lentils either raw or cooked on their own, can you share some of your lentil soup with them?
I’m sorry, it’s still not a good idea. I’m sure it’s not going to do any harm if they lick the bowl after (if that’s not gross enough), but I wouldn’t give your cat any more than a lick.
The bottom line is that if cats can eat lentils (or snap peas) in small amounts without experiencing any issues.
But, lentils do not provide the kind of nutrition a cat needs. Sure, I’ve read arguments that in small amounts there is some benefit, but I don’t see it as worth it when you could just be feeding your cat some quality cat food.
I hope you found this article, ‘can cats eat lentils?’ helpful. Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions or want to add any feedback.