✔ This article was reviewed for accuracy by a licensed veterinarian.
Cats love to eat almost anything they can get their paws on. At least mine do. When cooking, my cats are always over my shoulder trying to get a sample of the latest menu and enjoy their favorite snack: human foods.
Many cats don’t seem overly interested in vegetables and other items carnivores don’t generally eat. Well, they don’t seem interested in eating them at least, but they always want an intimate sniff. My cats don’t seem overly interested in peas, but we’ve seen some people ask about them. So, let’s answer the question: Can cats eat peas?
Yes, cats can eat peas. However, many people use butter and salt to improve the taste of peas, and you want to be sure your cat isn’t consuming too much of either of those ingredients. Butter is fine in limited quantities, but salt can be poisonous if your cat has too much.
Our team has performed extensive research on the feline diet in recent months. We’ve been coordinating with our staff vet, reading peer-reviewed research, and speaking with specialists in the field. This due diligence has enabled us to share answers to your pressing questions about cat dietary restrictions!
We cover the following items in this post:
- What Is a Pea?
- Are Peas Dangerous For Cats?
- Can I Feed My Cat Peas?
- How To Feed Them Peas Safely
- Final Thoughts: Can Cats Eat Peas?
What Is a Pea?
The word ‘pea’ is often an umbrella term for different varieties of plants. This can include but isn’t limited to green garden peas, peas in a pod, snow peas, sugar snap peas, green beans, and almost anything with a spherical ‘pea’ inside it. There are many types of peas, but we commonly eat English peas, Snow peas, and Sugar Snap peas.
Many peas simply refer to any edible seeds from the Fabaceae family, which can cover a whole bunch of different bits of veggies (legumes), such as beans, chickpeas, and soybeans.
It’s also worth mentioning that this includes any peas: peas outside a pod, peas inside a pod, as well as any other form of frozen or dried peas.
Are Peas Dangerous For Cats?
Peas are not harmful to cats. If your cat eats one pea, this is no cause for concern. But should you be feeding your cat a bowl of peas for its dinner? The answer is no. Cats are obligate carnivores and need animal protein in their diet to maintain a healthy lifestyle and promote muscle growth and recovery. They also need minerals and vitamins.
So, just like humans, cats need a balanced diet tailored to their digestive system. Eating only peas could cause constipation or diarrhea, as cats’ gastrointestinal tract is not designed to process a lot of plant material. Your cat’s digestive system is made to consume meat more than anything else.
Don’t let them get their hands on peas in a pod. While they can chew them, younger kittens may struggle to bite the hard plant material that makes up the casing. Moreover, for any cat, the pod can be a choking hazard, which we don’t want.
If your cat has eaten peas from your plate and they are dipped in garlic butter or other toxic ingredients for cats, or high amounts of salt, this could be a cause for concern.
But peas on their own are nothing worth worrying about unless your cat has eaten a whole bag of frozen green peas.
Can I Feed My Cat Peas?
It may interest some cat owners to hear that peas, in combination with a meat-based diet and other essential nutrients, can be used to nourish these little animals. So, your cat’s diet can include peas. But keep in mind that they are pretty high in carbohydrates, and cats do not need them in their diet.
The benefits of peas to cats are multiple. They are relatively low in calories and won’t make your cat fat. But remember, they are obligate carnivores, and meat should always be the first ingredient in any diet you choose (unless your cat has a health problem).
Many of the health benefits to humans from peas can also apply to cats. Peas are not toxic and contain lots of healthy nutrients: vitamin A, vitamin B1 and B12, vitamin K, vitamin C, iron, potassium, magnesium, antioxidants, and others.
Peas are also high in fiber, which is beneficial for constipated cats. But feeding your cat too many peas can lead to diarrhea and possibly impact your cat’s health in unwanted ways.
For example, if your cat has bowel problems such as diarrhea, providing extra fiber in its diet will naturally help the stool to firm up. Dogs eat grass for the same reasons.
How To Feed Them Peas Safely
You should only use fresh or thawed frozen peas in your cat’s food. Canned peas often have a high amount of sodium to help with preservation. Salt is toxic to cats if consumed in excess, so pay attention to this aspect.
With this in mind, don’t feed your cat peas from your plate. Feeding them peas covered in butter or any other seasoning can be a problem because some ingredients are toxic to cats.
As we already mentioned, avoid peas in a pod, as cats (especially kittens) can easily choke on them as babies would. While some cats are able to digest them with strain, peas in a pod could suffocate smaller cats by getting stuck in their airways.
Moreover, feed them meat alongside peas. Consider even blending it all up because they might be turned off by a straight-up plate of peas and won’t eat it.
Final Thoughts: Can Cats Eat Peas?
So there you have it: peas are totally fine for cats to eat! Peas can be a healthy part of your cat’s diet if you add them in moderation. Moderation is an important word, as many cats are overweight and you don’t want to overfeed your feline friend! Obesity can lead to ancillary unwanted health issues in your cat, and extra carbs should be limited. Work with your vet if you’re going to make any permanent changes to your cat’s diet.
If you insist on feeding your cat peas, make sure to blend them in with lots of meat, or they won’t enjoy it. Also, ensure your cat has a balanced diet, as peas alone are not healthy for cats.
Avoid feeding them peas pods because they can cause choking. Also, avoid offering them peas covered in salt, pepper, butter, garlic, or onions because they can make your cat sick. Even a small amount of these preservatives and additives can lead to an upset stomach for your cat.