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Posted in: Cats

Can Cats Eat Edamame?

Edamame beans are very popular in East Asian cuisines as they are delicious, crunchy, and very healthy. They can be eaten raw or thermally prepared in many different ways, from cooking, frying, baking, and more. Since these beans are so healthy, it is very easy to assume that they are beneficial to cats. However, cats have different nutritional requirements than humans, hence the question, “can cats eat edamame?”. So before feeding your cat edamame, make sure you understand the health benefits and possible risks. Let’s explore!

Can Cats Eat Edamame? – Short Answer

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In general, it is okay to feed your cat edamame and soybeans without worrying about your cat getting toxified. Nevertheless, just because these beans are harmless, it does not mean that they are commendable. If you decide to give your cat edamame beans, you should keep the intake at a minimum. The taste and soft texture of cooked edamame might get your cat hooked. Therefore as a pet owner, you should restrict the amount of edamame you feed your cat.

What Is Edamame?

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Not everyone is familiar with edamame, as it is not a popular fresh produce in all cultures. And sometimes, these beans are named differently in countries around the world. Edamame, however, is none-other than soybeans, soybeans that have not ripened yet.

These immature soybeans, aka edamame, are green in color and sold in their shells. They are packed with nutrients and can be eaten cooked, baked, fried and sometimes raw in small amounts.

The Good And The Bad Of Cats Eating Edamame

We can easily refer to edamame as a superfood. It is labeled as a whole protein which consists of nine amino acids that are excellent for your cats’ growth. Edamame is not high in glucose, yet the high protein content will ensure that your cat obtains his energy. Furthermore, edamame is enriched with minerals such as iron, calcium, and magnesium.

Why Do Cats Need Magnesium?

This mineral is crucial for cats because it helps their bodies on a cellular level. It assists in the secretion of hormones, improves enzyme function, and builds bones and teeth.

Why Do Cats Need Iron?

Since most cats have a high protein diet, iron deficiency is rare in cats.(1) However, if your cat suffers from specific health problems, iron-rich food such as edamame can boost his red blood cells.

Why Do Cats Need Calcium?

Categorized as an electrolyte, calcium regulates the fluid concentrations in a cats’ cells. It also helps to conduct energetic impulses within the body of a cat. In other words, your cat needs calcium for sending signals, contracting muscles, and functioning neurotransmitters.

As you can see edamame beans contain plenty of nutritional value for cats. Therefore giving your cat edamame beans in small amounts will do them more good than harm.

Nevertheless, before you feed your cat edamame beans, you should make sure you do it right. Keep in mind that not all cats are the same, as some cats are allergic to certain foods. And some cats may have a sensitive stomach while others don’t.

When it comes to the question,”can cats eat edamame” there is no cause for alarm if it is given in small amounts.

Nonetheless, plants can not provide all the nutritional requirements cats need. If you want your cat to live a long and healthy life, you need to ensure proper nutrition through cat food.

While edamame offers plenty of valuable nutrients, it should not make up the most significant part of your cat’s diet. Edamame should thus only be given as an additional supplement rather than a “main course.”

Since cats are carnivores, they rely on nutrients found in animal products. Therefore your cat is already getting all the valuable nutrients from his regular cat food. Yet, human food like edamame can be given as a treat. Fresh edamame beans can make a great snack in between meal times. Therefore, instead of giving your cat some unhealthy snack made for humans, rather, give edamame or two.

There are certain instances when edamame can add some extra value to your cats’ diet. Let’s say your cat is having digestive problems; edamame can help to clear things up. Since edamame is high in fiber, a small amount can help to solve the problem. On the other hand, too much edamame can also cause bloating and diarrhea in cats. Therefore it is always important to keep portions small.

Edamame is very low in calories, but this does not mean it does not provide energy. Because these beans are high in protein, they will give your cat an energy boost. This can be a good thing if needed, but something decreasing a cats’ activity level can lead to other complications. So, like mentioned before, it is best not to give your cat an excessive amount of edamame.

Be Aware of Food Allergies

You do not have to worry about edamame being toxic for cats, but you still need to keep an eye out for an allergic reaction. [2]

Just like any other food, your cat might be allergic to edamame. While edamame is low on the list of foods that cause allergic reactions in cats, caution should still be taken.

Signs that your cat might be allergic to edamame is:

  • Flatulence
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Inflamed or itchy skin
  • Hair loss and excessive scratching
  • Gurgling noises in their stomachs

Keep in mind that bloating and diarrhea can come forth when you overfeed your cat edamame as well. However, if you know your cat only ate one or two edamame, then the reason for diarrhea is most likely an allergic reaction. If your cat obtains adverse reactions, it is best to contact your veteran as soon as possible.

The best way to test whether your cat is allergic to edamame or not is by making a slow introduction. If there is no adverse reaction after the first couple of times of giving edamame, you can increase his intake.

Always consult your vet about the recommended amount when introducing your cat to new foods.

How to Feed Edamame Beans To Your Cat?

Edamame can be cooked in various ways, but when it comes to feeding them to your cat, less is more. One should avoid getting too creative, as this can do your cat harm. For example, do not feed your cat edamame you have prepared in the oven with other food. The flavorings from the other foods might have an adverse reaction on your cat.

Edamame beans are best given to cats without salt or any other flavoring. Too much salt is not suitable for cats!

When you choose edamame, it is best to opt for fresh produce. Often, edamame sold frozen may contain other ingredients such as salt or adjectives. Therefore, make sure the edamame you feed your cat is 100% natural.

In general, your cat will thrive with a well-balanced cat diet. Therefore, there is no need to replace your cat’s regular meal with edamame. Edamame should only be given as a snack on occasions. You can also top your cats’ food with cooked edamame or use it as an ingredient in homemade cat food.

A few cooked edamame beans taken out from the pods are good enough ones or twice a week. The pods/shells the edamame comes in is considered a choking hazard and can be too stubborn on a cat’s digestive system.

Whenever in doubt about giving your cat edamame or any other new foods, please consult with your veterinarian.

Are Soybeans Bad For Cats?

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One would think that if edamame is suitable for cats, then soybeans are as well, right? However, even though edamame is harvested from immature soybeans, the varieties are different.

While edamame beans are considered a green vegetable, soybeans are legumes. The two contain slightly different properties; therefore, each one will have a different effect on your cat.

Soy contains plenty of protein, dietary fiber, magnesium, vitamin B1, while edamame contains more vitamin C. Soybeans are also higher in calories and lower in potassium than edamame.

Unless your cat is allergic to soy, you can feed your cat soybeans in small amounts. Many cat foods also contain soy, but keep in mind that they are processed in a specific way, which means that your cat’s digestive system can easily break down the protein.

However, if you feed your cat raw soybeans, his digestive system might not be able to break down the proteins. [3]

Therefore, it is recommended to cook soybeans before feeding them to your cat.

Too many soybeans can be bad for cats as they can cause digestive problems just as edamame does. However, if you keep the intake at a minimum, they can be beneficial to your cat as well. They are rich in protein and abundant in isoflavone, which keeps the calcium in the bones.

Bottom Line

The answer to the question “can cat eat edamame?” is not as straightforward as it seems. While the answer is “yes, they can!” it does not necessarily mean edamame is the best treat for your cat. Sure, edamame has many health benefits, but plenty of other human foods can be more beneficial to you furball [4].

The thing is, a cat’s dietary pattern is far more complex in comparison to other animals. Therefore, it is best to stick to the formulated cat food he is already striving on at the end of the day. Most cat foods are designed in the most pleasing way to ensure your cat gets all the nutrients he needs.

If, however, you love cooking edamame a couple of times a month, there is no harm in tossing your cat a few along the way. But make sure to look out for allergic reactions and keep the portions at a minimum. Your cat might love his new veggie treat!