Can Cats Eat Chickpeas & Hummus?

can cats eat chickpeas and hummus

If you are making your own hummus, you might wonder if your cat can have a little bit or if it can eat the chickpeas that are used to make the hummus. The answer to this is unfortunately not as cut and dry as a fact like cats not being able to eat chocolate. 

To better understand what both chickpeas and hummus can do to a cat, you first have to understand what a cat’s standard diet is and why it is the way it is. 

Understanding a Cat’s Diet

Most people believe that cats fall somewhere between the line of being omnivores and being carnivores. The truth is that, by nature, cats (both domesticated and wild) are considered obligate carnivores

An animal who is an obligate carnivore is an animal that does not have a digestive system that can handle plants and plant matter. It also means that the obligate carnivore can only get certain nutrients from the meat of other animals. 

Being on a vegetarian diet is completely unsustainable, and even then, you should try to include minimal plant matter in your cat’s food. 

Obligate carnivores, because they are “obligated” to eat meat and only meat, do not have the digestive enzymes and gut flora to break down most types of plant matter. This means that the plant matter will pass through the cat’s digestive system completely unabsorbed, and depending on what type of plant matter it was, this can be accompanied with pain, constipation, or watery stools. 

In a sense, cats were not built to eat and digest plant matter of just about any sort, and there are even some types of plant matter that can cause far more than an upset stomach for several hours. 

Some types of plant matter can be lethal to your cat, even in small amounts. 

Are Chickpeas Suitable for Cats?

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Now that you have a better understanding of your cat’s digestive system and what your cat can and cannot eat, you might imagine that chickpeas do not sit well with cats. Because chickpeas are entirely plant matter, your cat will not be able to digest chickpeas. 

As for an answer to the question of can cats eat chickpeas, your cats are capable of consuming them without lethal consequence. However, your cat should not try to eat chickpeas. 

They would not be found eating chickpeas in the wild, so there is no reason why you should tempt your cat to eat chickpeas in your house. 

In short, chickpeas are notably hard for your cat to digest and they provide zero nutrients in the process. 

They are not toxic, but some chickpeas may have a higher content of oxalic acid, which can cause rashes, itching, and skin problems. If your cat decides that it wants to try one or two chickpeas, you can let it do this simply so that it can learn that chickpeas are not something that your cat is missing out on. 

What About Hummus? 

So what about hummus? With all of the different flavors that hummus can come in, there’s a chance that your cat may be attracted to it and may want to try and snatch a bite of it. Considering that hummus is (primarily) made from chickpeas, you can extrapolate off the fact that cats shouldn’t eat chickpeas and assume that cats cannot eat hummus either. 

In fact, hummus is quite a bit worse for your cat, and you may want to take the measures necessary to keep your cat away from your hummus. 

Hummus, traditionally, is made from chickpeas. Some people will use other forms of beans to create the bulk of the hummus, but the outcome is the same. Hummus remains a dip that people use that is primarily made with beans and may be flavored with just about anything that you can add to it. 

Considering that cats should not be eating beans or chickpeas in the first place, your cat should absolutely not eat hummus either. It is not a natural part of an obligate carnivore’s diet, meaning that your cat should be kept away from open containers of hummus and you should discourage your cat from getting too interested in it. 

In fact, depending on what is in the hummus, it may pose a bigger threat to your cat than just chickpeas. 

Hummus, more often than not, is flavored with various additional ingredients. Some common ingredients that people choose to flavor their hummus with include garlic and onions, occasionally both. 

Both garlic and onion are toxic to cats and eating too much of it can quickly become lethal. If you know for a fact that your hummus contains garlic, onion, or their powdered forms, then you will want to make sure that your cat does not have an opportunity to try the hummus. 

When all is said and done, can cats eat hummus? No, they should not. 

Hummus (without garlic or onion in it) is not inherently dangerous. If your cat happens to ingest a small amount of it, it may have some digestive distress, but this will pass as your cat processes the hummus and eventually passes it. 

If you know your cat has ingested the hummus, you may want to keep an eye on the cat to ensure that any other ingredients in the hummus won’t affect it. If the hummus has onion or garlic in it, it should be treated as a toxin to your cat because that is exactly what it is. 

If your cat ingests this type of hummus, you may want to consider taking your cat to the vet where there will be proper resources to treat the cat.

Editorial Team

When we aren't scooping up droppings to ensure a luxurious litter box experience for our fur babies, we are writing all sorts of stuff about cats for your enjoyment and knowledge.

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