Can cats eat raw meat? Absolutely. Cats are obligate carnivores. So it is understandable when feline lovers stick to a raw diet for their cats.
However, many experts believe that placing your cat on a raw diet causes a significant health risk for you and your pet.
In recent times, there has been a growing resentment toward commercial pet food by many feline lovers.
As a result, more cat owners are turning to homemade diets to feed their cats. If you decide to try raw feeding, it is best to discuss it with your veterinarian first.
Your vet would help ensure that the diet is complete and balanced and address the health and hygiene risks associated with a raw diet.
What is a raw food diet?
A raw food diet for cats entails feeding them uncooked animal products, meat, and sometimes raw offal and bones.
Raw food diets are usually homemade, as many cat owners prefer to know the ingredients that make up their cat’s food.
However, commercial forms are available in many pet stores. Commercial raw food diet typically comes in complete and complementary diets.
A complete diet will contain the proper balance of nutrients your cat requires to survive on this diet.
On the other hand, a complementary diet will be given to your cat in combination with another diet. Many animal nutritionists do not recommend a homemade raw diet for cats.
The reason is that homemade diets can be very inconsistent regarding whether they sufficiently meet your cat’s nutritional requirements.
As a result, a homemade diet should only be fed under expert guidance and might require additional supplementation to avoid deficiencies.
Can cats eat raw meat? What are the benefits for your cat?
Cats depend on animal food products to thrive. However, cats are mainly carnivores, unlike dogs, so they can only tolerate plant-based products in low quantities.
Cats require a diet that is high in animal protein and moisture. In addition, raw meat comprises of amino acids such as taurine, fatty acids, and other vital minerals and vitamins.
Advocates of raw food diets believe that cooking meat can change or reduce these critical substances cats need to function optimally.
The idea for many raw food adherents is to create a biologically appropriate diet similar to what a cat would eat in the wild.
While these benefits are not disputed, there are genuine concerns about the safety of raw diets for cats.
Is raw meat safe for cats?
Before deciding on feeding your cats raw meat, you must look at the safety risks, which include:
1. Parasites and bacteria
Raw meat may contain parasites and bacteria that pose a severe health risk to your cat and yourself. Your cat can pass to you by shedding them all over the home.
While cats may not have a problem digesting raw meat, the presence of pathogens in them could cause life-threatening infections. Therefore, the essence of cooking food is to eliminate most of the pathogens in raw meat.
2. Bone pieces could be dangerous
A raw diet for cats may contain bone offal. The implication is that small bone fragments can get stuck in your cat’s digestive tract.
Bones can also cause teeth damage and airway obstructions in cats.
3. Raw meat diet may be nutritionally deficient
Although cats thrive on animal-based products, raw meat diet may not have the complete and balanced nutrients required by your cat.
An incomplete diet can cause a severe health risk for your cat in the long run. The biggest challenge in preparing a homemade raw diet is ensuring it has complete and balanced quantities of nutrients.
Inconsistency in the properties of nutrients in a homemade raw diet increases the risk of nutrient deficiency which may affect your cat’s health.
Wild cats will consume small animals in their entirety (bones, organs, skin, fur, feathers etc). By doing so they are are digesting a range of nutrients; nutrients that may not be available if only eating raw meat on its own.
How to prepare a raw meat diet for your cat
It would help if you found a professional to assist you in developing a complete and balanced diet that would be helpful for your cat.
Your veterinarian recommends special supplements to ensure your cat gets the nutrients needed to stay healthy.
The following ingredients can be used in a raw food diet;
- Raw meat from muscles or organs (you should include meat from poultry, rabbit, and fish)
- Raw bones
You would need equipment and supplies such as meat grinders, a cutting board, glass mixing bowls, disposable gloves, and a refrigerator or freezer for storage.
Raw Meat Patties
Introducing your feline to meat patties is another way to help them stabilize their innate composition as obligate carnivores. If formulated appropriately, they are a terrific high protein meat cat food that can be integrated with commercial wet and dry cat food, adding variety to a cat’s diet.
We have a whole article dedicated to cat patties HERE. It includes several excellent cat patty recipes that you can make at home, as well as reviews of commercially available patties for cats.
Safety tips for feeding your cat raw meat
The following guidelines are helpful to help you avoid the risk of getting an infection from your cat or the raw food:
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
- Disinfect everything that comes in contact with raw cat meat, such as utensils, bowels, and surfaces.
- Separate natural cat food in the freezer or refrigerator from other food.
- Use different prep areas for cat food and human food.
- Ensure to wash your hands thoroughly after you pet your cat.
Can cats eat raw bacon?
Although cats can consume raw bacon, it does not benefit their health.
Bacon is not toxic to cats but is high in salt and fat, so it is best to use it as a treat rather than a regular part of your cat’s diet. Make sure the bacon is fresh.
Can cats eat raw pork?
Cats can eat raw meat consisting of pork. However, be wary that consuming raw pork risks parasites. If your cat must be fed raw pork, ensure it is fresh and seasoning free.
Can cats eat raw beef?
Raw beef is not harmful to cats. So yes, cats can eat raw meat, but it must be in limited amounts.
You must know that raw beef can cause food poisoning. As a result, you must ensure that it is fresh and free of any seasoning that could harm your cat’s health.
For our viewers who reside in Australia, kangaroo meat is a popular raw meat fed to cats and it is readily available in supermarkets across Australia. It is a quality lean meat product, high in protein and delicious to cats. Fed in combination with other cat foods is recommended. Ensure it is kept fresh in a sealed container in the fridge.
Can cats eat raw meat? Certainly.
Cats require a high protein content to meet their nutrient requirements. So feeding them raw meat might seem to be a good idea. However, discussing this with your vet before placing your cat on a raw meat diet is best.
You may be interested in an our article ‘What Meats Can Cats Eat?‘.