Plantains are a thick fruit that is closely related to the banana. Grown mainly in southeast Asia, they are a popular fruit to cook with, often found fried, in desserts, and in many meals. They are also commonly seen in grocery stores, though aren’t always as popular as bananas.
When ripe, they are black (which probably off-putting enough to explain why they aren’t as popular even though they are sweet at that stage) and when unripe, they are green and can still be cooked and eaten, though are harder to peel.
So, can cats eat Plantains?
Plantains are generally starchy and rather bland when unripe and sweet when they are ripe. It’s unlikely that cats will go after plantains per se, though they might try a nibble if they are curious about what you are eating.
Plantains may not be as commonly seen as bananas, but depending on what you enjoy cooking, you may still have them around and that means your cat may come into contact with them. Is this something that should be avoided? Can cats eat plantains?
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Do Cats Like Plantains?
Remember that plantains are fruit, so they aren’t something which cats, as obligate carnivores, are evolved to really be interested in. However, you just never quite know with cats, and a cat that likes bananas is more likely to enjoy plantains.
I’ve never had plantains myself, so I cannot say whether my cats would like them! They turn their noses up at bananas though, so it’s unlikely they’d care much for plantains.
Do Cats Hate Plantains?
There are probably plenty of cats who will simply turn up their nose if you try to offer them some plantain. There’s nothing wrong with that – while you may enjoy this fruit, for cats, there’s really nothing there which helps them to stay healthy and in fact, too much of the fruit sugar can make them gain weight and put them at risk for diabetes.
Can Plantains Kill My Cat?
If your cat does enjoy sneaking a bite of plantain, you’ll be glad to know that they are considered entirely non-toxic for cats (as well as dogs).
Just like bananas are non-toxic, the worst you usually have to worry about from plantain is that your cat might have some watery stool after eating them because their digestive system isn’t used to handling fruit.
Your cat may also get a stomachache if they eat too much of it! But beyond that, you really don’t have to worry if your cat nibbles on some of your plantains.
This is a marked difference from the plantain lily which is a different plant entirely. While plantain lilies also won’t kill your cat (until it eats a massive amount of them), it will cause poisoning which will require treatment.
Plantain lilies contain saponins that irritate the cat’s stomach. They will exhibit symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and depression soon after eating the plant. The more of the plant the cat eats, the worse the symptoms will be, which in itself can cause severe health problems such as dehydration.
In order to treat it, vets usually have to induce vomiting and sometimes use activated charcoal or do a stomach wash. Thankfully, most cats recover well from the event and just need to be monitored for signs of dehydration.
But plantain fruit is entirely safe for cats to eat, though I wouldn’t recommend letting your cat eat too much as it may give them tummy problems, and the fruit sugar in the plant can contribute to obesity.
How Many Plantains are Safe for My Cat to Eat?
Although plantains are safe for cats to eat, it is still not something they should eat very much of. Plantains are high in carbohydrates which is good for us, but not much use for cats since they don’t need many carbs and get it all from their regular food.
They also have plant sugars and fiber which again, won’t hurt your cat (and the fiber is a good thing), but can lead to weight gain. About a half cup of cooked plantains has about 80 calories, which is really low calorie for us humans, but for a cat, that represents over 30% of their daily intake!
All in all, it’s definitely fruit you want to make sure cats only eat a small amount of.
That being said, a bite or two every few days is probably going to be perfectly fine for your cat, assuming it doesn’t have any bad reactions to it. Your cat, for example, may be allergic to plantains. Allergy symptoms generally manifest as:
- Excessive itching
- Head shaking
If you notice your cat scratching a lot after eating plantain, don’t let it eat anymore as the allergic reaction will just make your pet uncomfortable. You may also notice that your cat has watery stool after consuming plantains for the first or second time.
This is common because the cat’s body isn’t used to the fruit, so there may be some digestive discomfort. If it persists or is accompanied by other symptoms such as lethargy, talk to your vet.
And of course, your cat should not have the skin of plantain. The skin is even thicker and tougher than the skin of a banana, making it a fairly serious choking hazard for cats.
It could also cause blockages in your cat’s digestive system. Even raw plantain could cause problems for your cat in terms of choking, not to mention making cats and humans feel sick, so make sure that any plantain is cooked (plain cooked, not fried or seasoned) and served in bite-size portions.
Plantains are a popular fruit in many parts of the world and even in Canada, the US, and Europe, they can be found in larger grocery stores and are used in a lot of cooking and baking. They are absolutely safe to serve to your cat, as long as they are cooked, plain, and cut up properly, and some cats may even enjoy them.
They definitely fall into the category of ‘treat’ though and should only be served occasionally as part of an overall healthy diet. But if your cat enjoys eating plantains, you have nothing to worry about so far as their health is concerned, as long as they don’t eat too much.
Does your cat go after plantains?
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.