Can Cats Eat Chickpeas? Here Are The Top 6 Must-Knows

My kid was watching cute kitty videos yesterday while I was opening a can of chickpeas. That got me wondering, can cats eat chickpeas?!

Chickpeas, commonly known as Garbanzo beans, are no doubt some of the most nutritious beans that help the human body in so many areas.

The question is, if it is healthy for humans, is it good for cats as well? Are beans good for cats? How about edamame, can cats eat edamame?

The short answer is yes, cats can eat chickpeas too. However, there are few things you need to know when feeding them this type of beans as it might also eventually pose a risk to them.  

What are Chickpeas?

Chickpeas are classified as legumes. They are rich in protein and fiber. They are known to be the earliest vegetable to be cultivated in history.

Chickpeas are considered a superfood. It contains all nine amino acids that help the body to function properly. It also has vitamins and minerals, specifically choline that is very important for the brain and the nervous system to run smoothly. 

Chickpeas are jam-packed with nutritious components. This is why it brings so many health benefits to us humans.

Do Cats Enjoy Chickpeas?

Cats enjoy chickpeas as much as we do, because of their itty-bitty size, their plump shape and their earthy taste.

bowl of chickpeas

However, chickpeas should still be given to our furry friends at a minimum. What about condiments such as ketchup? Can cats have ketchup? Yes they can, but also in small amounts only.

Cats are obligate carnivores. So, their body requires nutrients and proteins from meat sources. Although chickpeas are rich in protein, the protein that it produces doesn’t match the kind of protein needed by the cat’s body. 

While it is normal for us to see cats have an appetite for fruits, grains and vegetables, it doesn’t mean that we should just let them have these foods all the time. Learn species-appropriate food for your cats and stop feeding them foods that do not healthily benefit them.

Chickpeas’ Health Benefits for Cats

As established, chickpeas are a great source of protein, vitamins and minerals. It has a lot of benefits to the human body such as the following:

  • It consists of dietary fiber.
  • It is rich in iron and calcium.
  • It has potassium.
  • It is rich in B vitamins.
  • It has nutrients that act as antioxidants.
  • It is beneficial to the nervous system.
  • Has vitamins E and K that controls the binding of calcium to the bones and tissues.
  • It has zinc and copper.

While the list shows tempting reasons to give chickpeas to your cat, it is important that you know and understand the ideal cat diet. Since cats are obligate carnivores, they will forever have their hunter instinct that feeds on meat. 

This makes handling plant food difficult for them. Meaning, no matter how healthy chickpeas and other vegetables are, your cat’s body will not be able to process them properly.

A carnivore’s body will only be able to process the nutrients they get from other animal’s meat.

Risk of Giving Chickpeas to Your Cats

Feeding your cats with chickpeas is not entirely wrong as chickpeas are not toxic to them. However, it should not be given to them on a regular basis or as their main source of nutrients. You can give your cats chickpeas as an occasional treat or a reward instead. 

The following are few of the issues your cat may encounter when you feed them chickpeas:

1 – Chickpeas Are Difficult To Digest

Can chickpeas cause diarrhea? Are chickpeas hard to digest? Ask yourself these questions first if you plan to feed your cat with chickpeas. 

garbanzo beans

As discussed, your cat’s digestive system is meant to process meat from animals. Thus, providing them with vegetables including chickpeas may affect their gut flora as these foods are not easy to break down. 

2 – Provides Not Enough Nutrients to Your Cat’s Body

This is why it is important that cat owners are aware of the ideal diet that their cats must follow. You may be feeding them with so much food only to find out that they are still not getting enough nutrients to live and function properly. 

3 – It Might Cause Allergic Reactions

Chickpeas are also rich in oxalic acid which is known to result in rashes and itching to most animals.

How Many Chickpeas Can My Cat Consume?

Your cat must not have more than just a couple of chickpeas at once. Always remember that chickpeas are not needed in any way for a cat’s diet as it only adds a bit of helpful nutrients in its body. So, treat it as nothing more than just a treat. 

Chickpeas must not be in any way your main food for your cat. They are not the best food to give your cats if you want them to get the nutrition that they need to live healthily. 

How Should You Feed Chickpeas to Your Cats?

While there is no right or wrong way to feed your cat with chickpeas, it is still important that you do not season them with salt or herbs. Salt can cause poisoning to your cats.

Herbs and spices such as garlic and onions are known to be toxic to your cats and may even cause them serious health conditions that lead to death. 

So, let your cats have a small amount of  plain chickpeas. No added salt or herbs. You can serve it to your cat baked, fried, mashed or right out of the can.

Healthier Chickpeas Substitutions

To be honest, there is really no need to add chickpeas to your cat’s diet as it does not provide any special nutrients that other vegetables don’t have. Here are better chickpeas substitutions that can truly benefit your cat:

1. Carrots

Carrots are a great source of vitamins and potassium. It also has fiber. However, the best thing about eating carrots even for cats is it is a great source of Beta Carotene. 

Beta Carotene is a great help in the cat’s night vision. It is also one of the nutrients promoting great skin and coat for your little kittens. 

2. Blueberry

Blueberries have a decent level of fiber and contain a lot of moisture. So, this is very helpful to your cats as sometimes it can be difficult to get them to drink water. Blueberries are recommended for your cat especially if you are feeding them with dry kibble or any dry food.


3. Squash

Squash is one of the vegetables that bring so many benefits to your cats. For one, it has a lot of dietary fiber that is important in the reduction of hairballs, preventing an upset stomach and making your cat feel full while containing few calories. 

Keep in mind, however, that squash needs to be boiled and peeled when fed to cats. This way, your cats will find it easier to eat and digest it. 

4. Peas

Peas are very common in dry cat food. They are a great replacement for grains and maintain the shape and structure of kibble which is also a common cat food. 

Peas are high in fiber but low in calories. They are packed with vitamins and minerals that make them the best ingredient for most home-prepared and commercial pet food. 

5. Spinach

Spinach is a great source of vitamins for cats. It is rich in potassium, calcium and magnesium. Spinach is recommended for cats due to its high fiber nature and low calorie count.

Spinach also contains omega 3 fatty acids which are an ideal healthy element for your cats to stay in shape. However, you have to be careful in feeding your cat spinach especially when it’s diagnosed with urinary or kidney problems.

FAQs: The Purrr-fect Answers

Can Cats Eat Chickpea Flour?

Cats cannot eat chickpea flour. Chickpea flour is still chickpea. So, no matter what form it is served to cats, it is still not healthy and beneficial to your cat.

While a lot of cat owners often feel like it is okay as dog foods are usually added with chickpea flour, you have to consider  that dogs are considered omnivore to some extent.

This means they can eat vegetable or any plant-based food like chickpeas in a limited amount. Unfortunately, cats cannot eat similar food with dogs. 

Are Beans Toxic to Cats?

No. Beans are not toxic for cats. However, although they are considered a protein powerhouse food for humans, it is not the same for cats. Cats require a different type of protein which they can only get from eating meat from animals. 

cat eating in a food bowl

Why Are Chickpeas in Cat Food?

Chickpeas are often in cat food because it is rich in binding properties.

Although it does not provide so many health benefits to cats, manufacturers still include them as they balance the nutrients in the recipe well and act as a great binding ingredient. 


Chickpeas may be known for its various health benefits to humans. However, the same benefits cannot be applied to cats as they require different nutrients and process various  food types differently. 

So, chickpeas may be a great nutrient source as it is but not for your cats. The cat’s body is created and meant to eat meat from animals, not from any plant-based food. 

Most of the time, we feed our cats with food which we think are good for them just because they are good for humans. With this, we are unintentionally threatening their health and well-being.

In order to fully understand what food  to feed your cat, it is best that you take the time to learn its body type and its ideal diet.

This way, you will have an idea what food your cat will most likely enjoy without sacrificing the nutritional value they will get from it. 

The good news is, we are here to provide you with tips to help you better understand your pets, especially your cats. We also provide the best guides to feed them and take care of them.

Photo of author

Lovelia Horn

I’m a certified crazy dog mom, a physical therapist (for hoomans), writer, animal rescuer, and foster home provider. Together with my hubby Ryan, I’ve fostered and helped look for forever homes for over a hundred shelter dogs in the Southern Illinois area. I mostly work with Puppy Rescue 911, Inc., a certified animal rescue organization based out of Chester, IL (home of Popeye!)

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