Chili beans are not, in themselves, a type of bean. Instead, they are simply beans that are used in the making of chili, usually kidney, pinto, and sometimes black and/or white beans, depending on your recipe. Sometimes navy beans!
But chili beans are also combined with things like tomato sauce, spices like cumin, salt, black pepper, chili powder, and chipotle powder (or other spices) and sometimes even made from scratch stewed with things like ham. Canned chili beans are made with seasonings and tomatoes.
Chili beans are really useful for us humans. They let us more quickly put together chili, or they can be eaten on their own. You can make them from scratch (Which takes a long time, but it’s worth it) or buy them in a store. And while they have benefits for us humans, are they also good for cats?
Can cats eat chili beans?
Cats can eat (in small amounts, once in a while) the beans that make up chili beans, particularly kidney beans and black beans which are quite good for cats in occasional small amounts.
But chili beans are almost always made with ingredients that range from being very uncomfortable for cats to eat to downright toxic (like onions and garlic). We would strongly discourage you from letting your cat eat chili beans.
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Do Cats Like Chili Beans?
Fortunately, while some cats will eat plain beans, most cats tend to ignore them. Beans aren’t part of a cat’s natural diet – they may contain protein, but it’s not animal protein and they certainly don’t contain the taurine that cats need.
You might get a cat that will be curious about licking beans or nibbling on them, but they don’t tend to beg for them. And when it comes to chili beans, your cat is probably more interested in the meat that might be in there, not the beans.
Still, cats are all individual animals, and you may find that you have a cat who really wants to eat beans.
If this is your cat, make sure that the beans they eat are plain, thoroughly cooked, only served as a very small, very occasional treat, and monitor them afterward to make sure they aren’t having digestive issues (gassiness, vomiting, diarrhea).
Do Cats Hate Chili Beans?
In my experience, most cats don’t hate chili beans, but they don’t really see the point of eating them. Beans aren’t something cats are naturally drawn towards, so a bunch of beans stewed in a bunch of other vegetables and spices won’t hold much appeal.
And honestly, this is really for the best. Chili beans have far too much sodium and sugars in them (canned ones), and even homemade ones have spices that will make your cat very unhappy. Most cats know when there’s food that won’t be much good for them to eat, so they avoid them. (Most cats…)
Can Eating Chili Beans Kill My Cat?
This depends on how much you feed your cat and what other ingredients are in the chili beans.
Plain, thoroughly cooked beans will not kill your cat, so long as you only give it to them once in a while. In fact, beans like kidney and black beans can be beneficial to cats – they have lots of protein, iron, water, and carbs in them, and black beans have phosphorus and other compounds that are good for the heart.
However, you should only give your cat beans once in a while as they are hard on a cat’s digestive system, and you should change it up regularly so that they get more well-rounded nutrients.
Canned beans often have a lot of extra salt and a cat’s tolerance for salt is extremely low, so it’s best to avoid canned beans altogether.
Cats should only have a very tiny amount of sodium in their diet and that is going to come from their regular food. If you’re going to let your cat have beans, they should just be the dried or fresh ones because those are much safer.
Chili beans on the other hand are far more problematic. They are often made with spices that can be hard on your cat’s stomach (on top of the beans themselves being hard to digest).
Homemade chili beans are often made with garlic and onion, both of which are toxic, while canned ones usually have far too much sodium and sugars and may also have garlic and onion in them.
The other spices found in chili beans are also hard on a cat’s system and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, gassiness, bloating, and other issues.
If your cat gets into some of them, it’s extremely important to monitor your cat afterward and look for signs of illness. Depending on how much they ate, they may need to be taken to the vet as quickly as possible.
How Many Chili Beans Can I Feed My Cat?
It is best not to let your cat have any chili beans at all, not even homemade ones. There are far too many things in them that are toxic (or at least uncomfortable) and while beans do have some nutritional benefit, there is no added benefit to chili beans.
Instead, properly cook dried or fresh beans until they are soft, and then let your cat have a very small amount. They should be completely unseasoned and make sure your cat gets some of the bean water too as there is some nutrition in there too. This should not replace your cat’s usual food (there’s no such thing as a vegetarian cat!), but it can be used as an occasional snack.
A small amount really does mean small; no more than a few beans once in a while! Any more than that and your cat will struggle to digest them anyway and be very uncomfortable.
Chili beans though are something that is best left for humans to enjoy. And cats won’t miss anything by avoiding them other than a lot of discomfort and the chance of getting poisoned by onions!
Pam is a self-confessed cat lover and has experience of working with cats and owning cats for as long as she can remember. This website is where she gets to share her knowledge and interact with other cat lovers.