Responsible cat parenting involves constantly providing for your pet through nourishment, shelter, entertainment, and care. As your cat grows, her needs change, and so must her diet. Kittens cannot be expected to eat the same food as adult and senior cats, nor should they have the exact calorie intake. In general, full-grown cats should consume complete and balanced food packed with four nutrients: protein, fat, fiber, and moisture. However, they may eat human-grade meat as a part of their meals or given as treats. In this Waldo’s Friends article, we discuss:
- Why do cats need meat in their diet?
- Which supermarket meats can your cat eat?
- Should cats be allowed to eat raw meat?
- Can cats eat deli meat?
Why do cats need meat in their diet?
Meat is flesh from domesticated animals such as chicken, pig, cattle, and sheep. Low in fiber and carbohydrates, this edible muscle tissue is a great source of protein, water, fat, and other essential nutrients. As obligate carnivores, cats can only function at their optimum level if they consume meat. This is because animal-derived protein provides them with countless nutrients their bodies cannot produce on their own. Retinol, niacin, arginine, taurine, felinine, and arachidonic acid are examples of essential vitamins and amino acids found in meat, which cats need to function on a cellular level.
Though you can give certain fruits and vegetables to your cat, it is not advisable to serve them purely vegan or vegetarian meals. Aside from containing the wrong nutrients, their short digestive systems cannot process plant-derived meals correctly.
Which supermarket meats can your cat eat?
Learn which human-grade meats your cat can consume by looking through this list. Remember that the meat you feed your cat should always be thoroughly cooked without unnecessary seasonings, oils, or sauces. It should be devoid of skin, fat, and bones, and then sliced into smaller pieces your cat can chew and swallow.
Before offering new food to your cat, remember to consult with your veterinarian as some cats may be allergic or intolerant to certain meats. The type and amount you can give will also depend on your cat’s age, size, weight, activity levels, and existing health conditions.
Loaded with sodium and fat, bacon is a type of pork that may be given to your cat as an occasional treat. Some owners give bacon to hide their cat’s medication or as a reward after a visit to the vet.
Sourced from cattle, beef can be good for your cat as long as she is served the lean portion. Ground beef is the best and most affordable meat option, while organ meat should be fed sparingly. Steak can be given in limited amounts as long as it is prepared properly.
A kind of poultry, cooked chicken meat can be enjoyed by your cat on a regular basis. It is known for being a common ingredient in many commercially sold dry and wet cat food. However, refrain for feeding her chicken nuggets as these are deep fried and packed with breading.
A pricey poultry option, duck may be given to cats once in a while since it is high in fat.
Low in fat and high in protein and nutrients, kangaroo meat is a viable alternative for cats with allergies and sensitivities.
Derived from young sheep, lamb can only be eaten by cats occasionally due to its high fat and cholesterol content.
Because it is packed with sodium and fat, pig-derived meat should only be fed to cats occasionally and in limited amounts. Spam, which is made using pork shoulder and leg meat, is not recommended for cats because of the salt, sugar, modified potato starch, and sodium nitrate found in the processed meat.
Your cat can enjoy lean cuts of turkey such as the breast. The skin should be removed as it contains the most calories.
Should cats be allowed to eat raw meat?
From finely minced pork or beef to chopped pieces of raw bacon, lamb, or kangaroo meat, feeding raw meat to your cat is not advisable. These uncooked servings may be contaminated with potential pathogens (salmonella, listeria, and E. coli) and parasites (roundworms or tapeworms). Cats who have eaten spoiled or contaminated raw meat may display symptoms such as vomiting, abdominal pain, watery diarrhea with blood or mucus, gastritis, decrease in appetite, weight loss, and gas.
If you are adamant about including raw meat in your cat’s diet, consult with your veterinarian about the risks it may involve. Remember to obtain meat from reputable sources, and follow strict storage and handling guidelines to decrease the risk of foodborne infection.
Can cats eat deli meat?
Technically speaking, cats can eat deli meat. This depends on the type of meat and how it is prepared. But since most pre-sliced lunch meats are cured using salt and other potentially harmful preservatives, it is best for your cat not to get used to eating them. As such, it’s advisable to refrain from giving her:
Stuffed in a cylindrical tube made from animal intestines, sausage is made of meat, fat, and spices. Chili pepper and wine are two harmful ingredients for cats. It may also contain sulfites, nitrates, and other preservatives to extend its shelf life.
Aside from all the aforementioned supermarket meats, find out which seafood options your cats can safely consume on our blog. Better yet, discover which human food cats can eat by exploring our growing “can cats eat” and “cat feeding” categories.