What Meat Can Cats Eat? (and meat bad for cats)

best meat for cats

Most cat owners are often tempted to share what is on their plates with their cats. The problem with doing this is that not all foods are safe and healthy for your cats. So, what meat can cats eat?

By nature, cats are meat-eaters as meat forms an essential part of their diet. However, it would help to consider what meat cats can eat before offering your feline friend that morsel of meat.

What meat can I feed my cat?

Cats are carnivorous animals that thrive mainly on meats. The following meats are healthy and ideal for your cat.

1.      Chicken

Chicken is one of the world’s most consumed meat. If you are wondering what meats can cat eat? Chickens are one of them.

Though cats can eat chicken, it still has to be well prepared. Cats require a high protein diet to maintain their metabolic function and sustain an active and healthy lifestyle.

Chicken is very rich in animal protein and natural minerals, and vitamins.what meat can cats eat

Benefits of chicken to cats

The protein in chicken will help your cat to:

  • Develop muscle mass
  • Maintain healthy fur and skin

High-quality chicken cuts and organs, especially chicken livers, contain natural minerals and vitamins, including:

  • Selenium: It helps to reduce shedding and hairballs in cats. It also helps to enhance their immune system.
  • Phosphorus: Helps to maintain bone development and heart and liver function.
  • Vitamin B6: Helps prevent feline diabetes by enabling glucose release and improves kidney function.

How to feed your cat chicken

Some of the most common parts of the chicken that is ideal for your cat are:

  • Main parts: These pats are tender and nutritious. They include the breasts, wings, and drumsticks. The best way to feed your cat chicken is to gently boil the meat cuts and remove all the skin containing unhealthy fat.
  • Giblets: The giblets include chicken liver rich in protein and vitamin A.

 How much chicken should I give my cat?

As a rule of thumb, it is best to keep chicken to less than 10% of your cat’s total daily calorie intake.

Also, ensure that all the bones have been removed as they can cause severe internal damage to your cat’s stomach. Chicken should not be regularly used as a primary nutrition source for your cat.

2.      Beef

can cats eat any meatBeef is a top contender for the most consumed meat worldwide.

If you are a pet owner and still thinking about what meat a cat can eat, consider adding beef to your cat’s diet.  Cats can digest beef meat without any problem.

Beef is typically the flesh of cow, bull, or ox, consumed as food by man and animal. Beef meat can be cut into steaks, short ribs, or roasts.

Health benefits of beef for your cats

  • Beef contains minerals such as iron, manganese, zinc, and selenium, which help nourish and keep your cat healthy.\
  • Beef is also rich in Vitamin A, C, and B complex.
  • Cats require a lot of taurines, and beef is a decent taurine source.

How safe is beef for cats?

Beef is safe for cats, especially if it is cooked to at least 145 F. If you consider feeding your cats beef, look out for ground beef as it is less expensive and easy to prepare.

How much beef should I give my cat?

Beef is a healthy meat source for cats. However, it should not be included in your cat’s regular diet. This is because your cat may be unable to digest a high portion of beef, resulting in side effects and gastrointestinal issues.

You must note that some cats could be allergic or too sensitive to beef. Such cats may experience vomiting and diarrhea issues after consuming beef. You should avoid feeding your cat beef if you notice such problems.

3.      Pork

Many cat owners wonder what meat cats can eat, with pork being a subject of debate. The truth is that cats can eat pork but only in moderation.

Health benefits of pork for your cat

Some of the benefits of feeding pork to your cat include:

  • Source of high-quality protein: Cats require a high protein intake and pork meat is rich in protein, a vital nutrient for cats.
  • Sources of vitamins and minerals: Pork contains essential vitamins, including B1, B2, B6, and B12. Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) is vital to cats for the proper function of their nervous system, immune system, and digestive tract.
  • It also contains vital minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, niacin, selenium, and zinc.

Are there any dangers of pork for my cat?

Pork is high-fat and sodium-containing meat.

These nutrients can threaten your cat’s health when consumed in large quantities. Problems such as fats and weight gain, which may cause obesity and block arteries, may arise if consumed frequently.

Similarly, excess sodium can cause thirst and additional stress on your cat’s kidney, heart, and liver. Avoid ham and bacon as they have high sodium content, which can contain sulfites that are bad for cats.

How To Safely Feed Pork To Your Cat

Although pork is safe for your cats, you must take measures to feed pork to your cat safely. They include:

  • Remove all bones: Carefully separate bones from pork and cut them into small-sized pieces.
  • Cook adequately: Ensure you cook thoroughly to an internal temperature of 140 F. Thorough cooking helps prevent any live parasites from causing disease in the meat.
  • Feed your cats in moderate portions: Feed your cat not more than 10% of your cat’s daily calorie intake.

What other meat can cats eat?

If you are still speculating on what meat can cats eat, consider:

  • Lamb and veal
  • Turkey
  • Duck
  • Rabbit

5 Raw Meat Cat Food Options

ProductSTAR RatingFeaturesPrice on AMAZONPrice on CHEWY
Instinct Raw meals for cats freeze dried chicken recipe smInstinct Raw Meals Cat Food- Cage Free Chicken4.6 STARSHigh protein
100% balance meal
Less processed
Grain free
Made in USA

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Instinct Limited Ingredient Cat food Rabbit Meat smInstinct Limited Ingredient Diet Rabbit Meat Canned cat food4.2 STARSGrain Free
Rabbit meat
No fillers
Balanced nutrition
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Instinct raw Rabbit cat food Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Cat Food Rabbit4.5 STARSGrain free
Rabbit meal
Raw coated kibble
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Stella and Chewy's Freeze dried cat food chickenStella and Chewy’s Freeze Dried Raw cat food chicken4.3 STARSCage free chicken meat
Made in USA
High protein
Minimally processed
100% complete meal
Offer meat recipes offered
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Meow Free Dried Cat food Wild Venison Meow Freeze-dried Wild Venison and lamb4.3 STARSNew Zealand product
Enzymes & nutrients
High protein
Cage free duck meat
Complete meal
Grain free
Chewy Buy Cat Food


What about fish meat?

Despite popular belief, fish is not an acceptable food for feeding daily to cats. It is common for some cats to develop allergies when fed fish.

There are many cat foods that include fish in their menus, and we do review many fish products on our website. Fish is tasty and this entices cat owners to offer it as food. But fish can create health problems in cats.

Oily fish such as tuna contain high levels of fatty acids. This can lead to a vitamin E deficiency in cats, resulting in painful conditions.

Heavy metals have been known to accumulate in larger pelagic fish. Cat food products labelled with having ‘ocean whitefish’ can be high in PCBs and mercury.

Although not common, heavy metal toxicity in cats can lead to the development of neurological problems and kidney damage.

If feeding cat food containing fish, read the label to see if the company tests for heavy metals in their products, and if evident, that it guarantees these levels to be safe for cats.

Some cats may also have allergen reaction to the protein in fish.

We recommend that fish is fed in moderation. Always read the product information to see where the fish is sourced. Be vigilant with your cat and take note of any changes or reactions when fish is fed.

We have discussed whether cats can eat canned tuna in this article, and have expanded our discussion on fish allergies in cats in this article.

Can cats eat raw meat?

Generally, it is best to conduct extensive research and consult your veterinarian before your cat is fed raw meat.

Some risks of feeding your cat raw meat include parasitic infestation, nutritional deficiency, and the dangers of bone materials in raw meat.

To learn more, read our article answering ‘Can Cats Eat Raw Meat’ question in depth.

A tip when selecting a cat food.

Abbatoir byproducts for processingWe recommend reading the ingredients list on any commercial cat food. ‘Real Meat’ should always be the first ingredient listed. Cheaper pet foods will list meat as ‘meat by-product’ or ‘meat-meal’. Although, meat-meal can be eaten by cats, it is a rendered ingredient and doesn’t depict the ‘meat’ the company may be claiming to have in the recipe. Pet food manufacturers are not required to report exactly what is in their ‘meat’ meal.

Meat by-product can be anything from fat, bones, floor waste and offal. It is heated to a very high temperature destroying enzymes and nutrition, and dried into a powder to be added to pet foods.

It is used because it is cheap and because it preserves better than real meat, requiring no refrigeration.

What meat can cats eat? Final Thoughts

What meat can cats eat can be a worrying thought for many feline lovers. However, this article has given you an insight into selecting healthy and nutritious meats for your cat.


Why Do Cats Need Taurine? (Deficiency Explained)

Taurine is an amino acid essential for the health of cats

Most cat lovers are likely familiar with taurine as an ingredient in cat food. So, you might wonder why do cats need taurine? Taurine is an amino acid that aids your cat to stay healthy by preventing many major health problems.

Taurine occurs freely in many body cells, tissues, and bile. To understand why cats need taurine, let’s briefly examine amino acids and their function in the cat’s body.

What functions do amino acids serve?

why do cats need taurine

Amino acids assist the body cell in the production of protein required for the proper functioning of all parts of the human and cat’s body. The acid helps with the metabolic process and play a crucial role in the transportation of nutrient and storage.

When proteins are broken down, amino acids are left. The cat’s body utilizes amino to grow and repair body tissues. Therefore, the cat’s body produces a significant number of amino acids.

However, it needs to obtain others from food.

Types of amino acids

Amino acids are classified into three groups.

  • Essential amino acids:Essential amino acids cannot be produced by the cat’s body. As a result, they must come from food.
  • Nonessential amino acids: They can be produced by the cat’s body even though their bodies can make them
  • Conditional amino acids: These acids are only essential in times of illness and stress.

Can cats synthesize taurine from other amino acids?

Taurine is an essential amino acid in cats. That means they are required in large amounts in the cat’s diet. However, while omnivores like humans and dogs can synthesize enough taurine from other amino acids, cats can barely do the same.

Although cats can have some taurine, the enzyme required to synthesize it from cysteine to taurine is lacking. Therefore, cats need reasonable amounts of essential amino acids in their food; otherwise, their health may begin to deteriorate.

Causes of taurine deficiency in cats

Taurine Powder Cat Supplement
Taurine Powder Cat Supplement

Taurine deficiency occurs when you feed your cat food on a commercial or raw diet that does not contain taurine. Similarly, your cat may risk developing taurine deficiency if she enjoys sampling dog food.

Since dogs can create their taurine, their food does not contain taurine. So, a steady dog diet for your cat could lead to taurine deficiency.

Effects of taurine deficiency in cats

Taurine deficiency in cats can cause some severe health issues for cats. Here is a look at some of them:

1.      Blindness

One of the earliest known diseases of taurine deficiency is central retina degeneration (CRD).

Taurine plays a vital role in the structure of rods and cones within the retina. A lack of taurine can make these structures degrade, leading to vision loss.

Unfortunately, these cells can not be regained once they are lost. However, early treatment with taurine supplementation can slow the progression of the disease.

2.      Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Dilated Cardiomyopathy affects the heart and causes it to enlarge, affecting its ability to pump blood effectively.

Taurine within the heart muscles helps maintain suitable calcium levels and other charged particles on either side of the cell membrane.

Taurine deficiency prevents the heart from contracting normally, leading to congestive heart failure. Cats suffering from this condition may also experience congestive heart failure due to pumping problems.

3.      Reproductive failure

A taurine deficiency can lead to reproductive failure in cats. As a result, affected cats would not be able to produce kittens.

4.      Tooth decay

One crucial reason cats need taurine is that it keeps their teeth strong and healthy. A lack of taurine would cause cavities in the teeth, thereby leading to decay.

5.      Gastrointestinal issues

Taurine aids the cat’s body in producing bile salts required for fat digestion. A lack of taurine would see your cat to develop gastrointestinal issues, including diarrhea and indigestion.

6.      Immune system disorders

The immune system helps your cat ward off disease-causing organisms. However, a taurine deficiency could give rise to a range of immune system disorders in your cat, making them experience frequent illnesses.

7.      Diabetes

Taurine helps the cat’s body to regulate blood sugar concentration. Your cat may develop diabetes due to a lack of taurine in her diet.

Diagnosis of taurine deficiency in cats

Cats get taurine from raw meat

Diagnosing taurine deficiency is quite a difficult task. To begin, your veterinarian would need a comprehensive medical history and a recounting of the progression of any symptoms.

You must provide your veterinarian with a documented record of your cat’s diet ingredients. Subsequently, your veterinarian will perform a complete blood panel and urinalysis by taking a blood sample from your cat.

Because taurine level does not always result in elevated levels, these tests may help rule out diseases that may manifest related symptoms. In addition, your veterinarian may conduct other tests based on your cat’s symptoms.

These tests may include an eye examination to check for retinal degeneration.

Chest X-rays or ultrasounds can also help rule out any severe heart defect. Your veterinarian may also want to conduct an electrocardiogram which helps monitor the electrical functioning of your cat’s heart for normal rhythm.

Treatment of taurine deficiency in cats

The primary treatment for taurine deficiency in cats is the supplementation of taurine.

Given the severity of the symptoms and the length of time the cat has suffered, ongoing supplementation may be required to correct a taurine deficiency.

Your veterinarian may also suggest the inclusion of synthetic taurine in your cat’s diet.

This is necessary because dietary taurine alone cannot resolve the situation, especially when a taurine deficiency has progressed significantly.

Including meat in your cat’s regular diet can also help increase their taurine intake.

Note that taurine is naturally found in uncooked meat, and cooking food could degrade or destroy taurine.

Cats that depend solely on homemade food or a vegan diet are at more risk of developing severe health challenges associated with taurine deficiency.

Why Do Cats Need Taurine? Final Comments

Taurine is a type of amino acid considered the building block of all proteins. Taurine is essential for heart muscle function, good vision, and digestion.

Feline lovers must endeavor to provide their cats with a diet that supports taurine supplementation to keep them healthy.