So, can cats eat Natto? Natto is a food made from fermented soybeans and it is traditional to the Japanese. It has generated some buzz for its unique flavor and health benefits as it is rich in nutrients such as Vitamin K2 and beneficial bacteria(probiotics) which can positively impact your felines’ intestinal bacterial balance. Natto also boasts of a lot of benefits which we will be discussing soon.
Hands-on pet owners like me are usually curious about the impact of any food we tend to give our furbabies, and that is why this article has been put together to determine if Natto is safe for your cat to eat, and we will also discuss the mode of introducing it to your cat’s diet.
Table of Contents
- Nutritional Benefits of Natto To Cats
- Potential Risks of Feeding Cat Natto
- Can Cats Eat Natto?
- How To Introduce Natto To Your Cat’s Diet
- Alternatives to Natto For Cats
- Is Natto Safe For Cats? -Final thoughts
Nutritional Benefits of Natto To Cats
Before we determine if you should give your cat some natto, let us briefly walk you through the possible benefits your cat could get from consuming some natto:
Vitamin K2 content
Natto has significant amounts of vitamin K2(menaquinone), which aids biological processes like blood clotting, bone metabolism, and heart health. Cats, however, can synthesize vitamin K2 from other forms of vitamin K in their body, but supplementing their diets from time to time with a rich source like natto could prove to be beneficial.
One of the primary reasons people consume natto is because of its inherent beneficial bacteria which is called the bacillus subtilis.
These bacteria are popular for their roles in promoting gut health and aiding digestion, but we have limited research to determine the effect on cats, but introducing a diet that is rich in probiotics to a cat will support a healthy gut microbiome. It is essential to consult your vet before integrating any new source of probiotics into your cat’s diet.
Protein and other nutrients
Natto contains approximately 18 grams of protein per 100g, making it a good source of plant-based protein. It is no news that cats require a high-protein diet, with most of their protein intake derived from animal-based sources.
While you might be excited at the prospect of the protein contained in natto, it is essential to note that plant-based proteins don’t contain all the essential amino acids needed to properly function the cat’s entire body system.
Also, natto has a negligible amount of minerals such as calcium, iron, and magnesium which can contribute to a cat’s overall nutrient intake. However, these nutrients are found in cat Quality Foods in the appropriate amount.
In as much as natto offers nutritional benefits that could be advantageous to your cats, it is important to remember that cats are obligate carnivores which means their primary source of nutrients should come from animal-based proteins, as animal-based protein sources such as poultry and beef could offer a good amount of taurine and other beneficial amino acids that would help your cat’s immune system heart and other body parts function very well.
Potential Risks of Feeding Cat Natto
Let us take a look at ways natto could pose some risk to your cats below:
The fermentation process and potential toxicity
Various compounds and byproducts are produced during the fermentation process, and some of these compounds and byproducts could be harmful to your cats. Biogenic amines such as tyramine and histamine can be produced during fermentation.
So, ingesting a huge amount of these amines could lead to your furry friend vomiting, diarrhea, and even experiencing severe allergic reactions. Although the level of these compounds is low in natto, it’s important to consider this factor when introducing natto to your cat’s meal.
Soy as an allergen for cats
Soy is the primary ingredient in natto and can be an allergen for some cats, causing skin irritations, gastrointestinal problems, or other allergic reactions. Soy allergies are quite rare in felines, but it is still necessary to observe your cat for any strange reactions when natto is introduced the first time. Discontinue natto for cats that show signs of allergic reactions.
High sodium content
When natto is prepared, salts are added and this can significantly increase its sodium content. If your kitty ingests lots of sodium, it can be harmful to them, causing hypertension, heart issues, and kidney problems. Cats require low sodium in their daily food intake(200 mg/kg body weight per day for an adult cat), so it’s important to monitor their diets to avoid exceeding their sodium cap. Opting for a low-sodium version, or rinsing the natto thoroughly can mitigate the sodium impact.
Can Cats Eat Natto?
Yes, cats can eat natto as treat, as it could provide them with probiotics, Vitamin K2, and plant-based protein. However, cats require animal-based protein as it’s rich with all the amino acids they need to function properly and will certainly get all the nutrients they need from quality commercial cat food.
Can constipated cats eat natto? In humans, the dietary fiber contained in natto has proven to be effective in resolving constipation, but there is limited research on if the same effect will take place in a cat. Me, I have used natto for my ragdoll cat, and it worked, but that doesn’t mean it will work well for your cat.
How To Introduce Natto To Your Cat’s Diet
Start with small quantities: if you have decided to share some natto with your furbaby after consulting your vet, it is paramount to start incorporating natto bit by bit into your cats’ diet.
Taking a gradual approach gives your cat the time to get accustomed to the new food on its menu, and it will also allow you to observe the cat for any funny reactions.
Start with a small spoonful of natto, either by itself as a treat to get your cat to like you more(winks) or mix the natto into your cat’s food; then you could gradually increase the amount over the weeks if your cat is tolerating the new diet on board.
Observe your cat’s reaction
Monitor your cat closely to see if there is a change in behavior, appetite, and overall well-being after introducing natto to their diet. Pay attention to signs of GI distress such as bloating, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Also, you can observe the cat for allergic reaction symptoms such as itching, skin irritations, or issues with the respiratory system. Discontinue feeding your cat with natto if you notice any of these signs and consult your vet.
Mixing natto with other cat-friendly foods
To make natto more enjoyable for your feline friend, mix it with other cats friendly foods like mitten morsels, pickins, or cooked unseasoned meat. This will not only mask the unfamiliar taste but also ensure that your cat receives its ideal animal-based protein. Remember natto can be graded as a supplement, and should not replace your cat’s regular food.
Finding a balance
Natto has wonderful benefits no doubt, but it should not comprise more than 10% of your cat’s daily food intake; in combination with other treats. Then, the other 90% should consist of high-quality animal-based protein that will provide your cat with all the essential amino acids it requires.
Periodic reassessment and adjustments
Particularly as they grow older or experience changes in their health, it is crucial to periodically reevaluate your cat’s nutritional requirements and make any necessary adjustments.
Discuss your cat’s diet with your vet frequently to see if natto is still a good supplement.
Always be prepared to alter your cat’s diet to their specific requirements and the expert counsel of your veterinarian.
Alternatives to Natto For Cats
For a properly functioning heart and immune system, your cat will require essential amino acids such as taurine from the darker parts of poultry meats, such as the thigh, heart, and liver.
Also, the neck of a turkey(uncooked) can prove to be effective for cleaning the teeth of a cat who doesn’t like its teeth to be brushed. Ensure not to give cooked bone as they splinter into shards that could be lodged in your furbaby’s throat.
Freeze-dried liver treats
One sort of food that is gaining popularity among pet owners is freeze-dried beef liver. This treat is prepared from real cow liver that has been ground into a fine powder after being freeze-dried. The bland but nutritious pet treat is made by rehydrating the beef liver powder with water.
The snacks can give your pet a nutritious snack and are easy on the digestive system thanks to their excellent digestibility. Your pet will undoubtedly like these because they are also wonderfully delectable. They are also a fantastic source of protein and other necessary elements, making them a tasty treat for your pet that is both healthy and nutritious.
Is Natto Safe For Cats? -Final thoughts
In deciding if natto is safe for your cat, you should take into consideration; the cat’s health status, and age. Natto can be cat friendly if prepared with lesser salt, but you should remember it’s a treat and should be given moderately from time to time.