The short answer: It depends.
From the Great Northern beans of Mexico to the garbanzo beans of the Middle East, there are many kinds of beans harvested from various parts of the globe. Lentils, peas, soybeans, and peanuts are also considered as members of the bean family.
Free from gluten and low in calories, beans are filled with protein, folate, calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamins A and C, as well as soluble and insoluble fiber. Though they are packed with vitamins and minerals, cats do not need to eat them since their digestive systems have evolved to eat only meat. If desired, you can feed beans to your feline pet occasionally, but only in small amounts and depending on how it is prepared.
Raw beans should never be fed to your cat because they may block your cat’s intestines or give her bacteria such as Staphylococcus and E.coli. Cooked beans, which are combined with herbs, spices, and sauces, are dangerous for your cat depending on what ingredients are added in the mix. Canned baked beans are also a big no-no since they usually contain high levels of salt, another human food that’s toxic for cats.
Ask your veterinarian what kind of beans your cat can eat, and how many pieces she can safely consume once in a while. When cooking fresh beans for your cat, the safest way to do so would be to soak them in cold water for about 6 hours before cooking. Bring the beans gently to a boil for about 1 to 2 hours without adding any spices. Make sure they are tender enough before serving them to your cat.
What to do if your cat accidentally eats beans: Observe your cat for symptoms such as excess gas, irritable bowel syndrome, digestive distress, intestinal discomfort, and stomach pain. If she exhibits any of these salt poisoning symptoms (diarrhea, vomiting, decreased appetite, lethargy, and excessive thirst), call your veterinarian immediately.
In summary: Cats can occasionally be fed fresh beans, but these should be washed properly and cooked without any additional flavours. Be wary about feeding beans to cats with existing skin conditions or musculoskeletal diseases as some of these may be aggravated by consuming beans.