Hummus is a very popular middle eastern food that is often used as a dip or a spread, though it can also be blended into other foods, usually for the extra kick of protein.
If you serve it regularly and you have a cat, it may well be that your cat has given it some curious glances or even tried to outright steal it. Can you share your hummus with your cat, or should you be shooing it out of the kitchen? Can cats eat hummus?
Short answer: No. While a few licks won’t seem to do any harm to a cat, over the long term, hummus can do a lot of harm. And depending on what other ingredients are in the spread, you may notice the harm a lot sooner than later. It’s best to simply avoid feeding your cat hummus altogether, particularly if you didn’t make it yourself.
Do Cats Like Hummus?
Cats may well be very curious about hummus. They see you eating it and, depending on the temperament, what to try it as well. The main ingredient of hummus, chickpeas, also has a lot of protein which may entice some cats to give it a nibble.
Some cats probably will like hummus or at least nibble at it. It’s one of those foods which is in a grey zone for attracting cats or not.
Do Cats Hate Hummus?
While some cats may try to steal a bite or two, other cats will probably not care about it. The occasional times we have hummus at my house, my cats have completely ignored it. It’s unlikely that a cat will hate hummus per se, but many of them will simply ignore it.
Can Hummus Kill My Cat?
Hummus is a little tricky in the cat diet world. It has some benefits, but the things which have some benefits can also cause cats problems, depending on the cat. The hummus itself makes a difference too because of the other ingredients found in it.
Basically, hummus probably won’t kill your cat right away (although even that is not one hundred percent correct). However, it can cause a lot of long-term problems that may shorten the lifespan of your feline friend.
Hummus is largely made up of chickpeas and chickpeas are not generally a part of a cat’s carnivorous diet. Chickpeas are hard to digest and are high in carbohydrates. While being harder for the body to digest can be a bit of a benefit for cats who are overweight, the high carbs content obliterates that particular benefit.
Cats only need a very low level of carbs to stay healthy – eating too much will cause weight gain which in turn can lead to joint problems and diabetes.
Chickpeas also contain oxalic acid which can cause an allergic reaction and in senior cats (over 12 years old) and cats with kidney problems, it should be completely avoided as this acid can contribute to kidney disease. Fortunately, the levels of this acid are low enough that a small amount once in a while is unlikely to harm your cat.
Chickpeas do contain a lot of protein, but they aren’t complete enough for a cat to live on since they are missing taurine which is a critical amino acid in the health of your cat and is only found in animal flesh.
Chickpeas can be problematic enough, but it’s the other ingredients found in hummus that push it into the ‘do not feed’ zone.
Hummus tends to contain a lot of garlic and may also have onions in it. Garlic and onions both are very toxic to cats and the amount in hummus is quite concentrated.
Both garlic and onions damage a cat’s red blood cells which makes them less able to carry oxygen around the body and can lead to anemia, breathlessness, lethargy, and even death in the longer term.
Less than half a clove of garlic is enough to make a cat sick and a serving of hummus often has up to one full clove used which is more than enough to badly poison your cat. And the smaller the cat, the less it takes.
Tahini is another popular ingredient in hummus. It’s high in fat and oils, which can cause your cat’s stomach to be upset, and can raise the body temperature of a cat too, meaning it should never be fed to a pregnant cat.
Tahini does contain a lot of omega-6 fats which are good for cats, as well as protein and antioxidants, but like chickpeas, the amount that they’d have to eat to get that benefit is also going to be enough to make them feel ill!
Hummus may also contain things like hot sauce, which will upset your cat’s stomach, and salt, which can cause sodium poisoning in cats since they really don’t need very much of it.
Taken all together and there really aren’t many benefits to cats who eat hummus. It probably won’t kill your cat right away, unless it was absolutely loaded with garlic, but it also won’t do much for their health in the long term and can cause issues like anemia, vitamin deficiency, weight gain, and other issues. It can even cause an allergic reaction! This is one health food that is definitely not a healthy food for cats.
How Much Hummus Is Safe to Feed My Cat?
Really, you shouldn’t be feeding your cat any hummus since the bad things outweigh the benefits. But if your cat snuck a few licks in, you probably don’t have anything to worry about.
Keep an eye on your cat after the exposure for vomiting, lethargy, appetite loss, or any other behaviors which seem out of the ordinary, and talk to your vet if you are concerned.
Hummus should definitely not become a habit for cats and particularly senior or pregnant cats shouldn’t have it at all. If you do let your cat eat hummus, make sure it’s made with just chickpeas and no garlic, salt, or hot sauce, and don’t let them have too much or the chickpeas can cause problems like indigestion and diarrhea.
Hummus may be amazingly healthy for humans, but for cats, it’s mostly empty calories and a quick route to a stomachache. In the long term, or with the wrong ingredients, it can cause all sorts of other health problems as well such as weight gain, anemia, and even garlic or salt poisoning.
It’s best to leave the hummus for the humans to enjoy and give your cat treats and food which is actually meant for it to eat. There are plenty of cat treats with lots of protein and cat-friendly flavors that won’t lead to health problems in the long term, so encourage your cat to eat those instead.
Does your cat eat hummus?