If you own a pet cat, you may be wondering whether or not you can feed them raw meat. Larger cats in the wild actively do so on a daily basis but can a domesticated pet cat do the same? Are there any differences or considerations in which you should be aware? Answering these questions is the objective here today. After doing some research around the topic, here is what I have been able to find.
So, can cats eat raw meat? Yes, cats can eat raw meat as long as the meat is fresh and unprocessed. In fact, it is healthy for them to do so and it also promotes natural feeding behaviors. Even the best-fed cats hunt and eat live prey, including birds and rodents. However if you want to switch your cat to an exclusive raw meat diet, you should do so gradually. You’ll also need to provide them with a combination of muscle meat, organ meats and bones to ensure they are getting all the nutrition they need.
All felines, big and small, are obligate carnivores. They require some amount of meat in their diet, and an exclusive plant-based diet just is not enough for them to obtain the nutrition they need.
Well cared for domestic cats enjoy a complete diet which consists of canned and dried food, which will have these considerations taken into account.
Cats let outside will also like to explore their neighborhoods, and if someone offers them food, they will be there every day, expecting the same high standard. Its is their instincts and its a survival trait that even domesticated cats still posses.
Let us now take a closer look at raw meat eating by cats. We will be looking at whether it is okay to give cats raw meat, what will happen if they eat it and some other considerations like if getting worms is a possibility.
Is It Okay To Give Cats Raw Meat?
Yes, it is okay to offer your cat raw meat. In fact there are many benefits in doing so.
Cats are fully adapted to consuming raw meat; they have done so for generations long before the invention of food from cans, pouches and dry food sachets. They have a digestive system and tract that is able and capable of breaking down raw meat and extracting the nutrients that it can provide.
In fact, if you was to observe your cat outside, you would soon observe them hunting for mice, rodents and birds.
While this behavior is for the thrill of the hunt, it is partly due to the reward of food which presents itself at the end of the chase.
However, if you decide to do so, you will need to consider the type of meat that you offer and how it is to be acquired and served.
Any raw meat you offer to cats must always be fresh, human-grade raw meat. You’ll need to consider how you purchase it, how old it is and how it has been stored.
Be aware that certain raw meat products advertised as pet food, often contains additives to keep them looking fresh and lasting longer. Unfortunately a lot of these additives can adversely affect your cat’s health. One of the main ones to watch out for is salt – which can prove fatal if given in too high a quantity or dose.
If you currently feed your cat a diet consisting of commercialized canned or dried cat food, and you want to switch your cat’s diet to raw meat entirely, it is best to make the switch slowly. You’ll want to offer small pieces of raw meat each day in addition to your cat’s current diet.
You’ll also want to introduce your cat to a varied range and selection of meats; this should include not only the muscle meat but organs and bones too.
This will not only give you an idea of what your cat likes and dislikes, but it will also ensure that they consume an adequate and nutritionally complete diet. The truth is, an appropriate raw food diet must be based on a carefully designed recipe.
If you choose to feed your pet raw meat diet, it must be approved balanced and complete by a veterinary nutritionist. If a cat is fed an incomplete diet, you run the risk of having a cat with health issues.
The importance of this cannot be underestimates. Wild cats do not just eat their prey’s muscle meat, they also consume offal as part of the catch including the heart, liver and lungs, alongside the bones and fur which provide calcium and fiber.
What Happens If A Cat Eats Raw Meat?
If a cat eats fresh raw meat that is of high quality, your cat will be more than okay. A raw meat diet, if fed correctly, can be beneficial to your kitty’s health, not to mention it encourages natural feeding habits.
However, there is a downside to feeding raw meat to your pet feline.
Raw food often contains harmful pathogens like listeria monocytogenes and salmonella, and be carrying worm eggs, which can make your cats very sick.
While cooking food does break down some nutrients, it makes food safer to consume, especially meat, by killing bacteria that often causes diseases in felines and humans.
It is reassuring to learn that a cat’s stomach acid is potent, can is able to defend against many pathogens. However, younger, older or sick cats are more susceptible of illness from consuming rotten raw meat.
One other thing to consider is that if you are feeding your cat meat that was intended for human consumption, it will have been examined for diseases and parasites during a control check. While the risk is never eradicated, it is diminished.
Ultimately, there should be nothing to worry about feeding your cat raw meat, if sourced correctly and stored appropriately. But, its important to consider and remember that there is risk involved – especially in younger/elder and sick cats.
Feeding your cat a raw-food diet is a big responsibility as an owner. You’ll need to educate yourself, be able to source quality raw meat and carefully prepare them.Being in close contact with a vet who can advise you is also strongly recommended.
This is part;y the reason in why, read-made cat food is widely used. It is the easiest, versatile and safest option.
That being said, if you have the time, or want to pursue raw meat feeding in your cat, its definitely possible and in some ways, preferable.
Can Cats Get Worms By Eating Raw Meat?
While many cats enjoy eating raw meat, they can end up getting internal parasites like tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, coccidia, and trichinella.
Aside from getting worms, they can also be exposed to bacteria and viruses.
Worms don’t seek to harm their hosts, but instead, want a symbiotic relationship with their host. However, these parasites do cause harm to the animals they inhabit.
Kittens or cats with weak immune systems may experience the adverse side effects of a parasite infection.
This is why it is so important as a cat owner to source high quality and safe raw meat products. It is your responsibility, if feeding raw meat, that you minimize the risk and exposure to potential pathogens.
It is mostly cats that feed on whole and wild prey that are most susceptible to acquire an infection. Infection can also occur indirectly through fleas, ticks, and mosquitos.
Plus, cats can quickly ingest feces and contaminated water when outside.
So when you think about it, there are other ways that a cat can become sick from their environment. These are real dangers to be aware of and watch out for.
Instead, consumption of raw meat from captive-raised prey animals carries a minimal risk of parasite infection.
How Do You Prepare Raw Meat For Cats?
You can opt to make your own cat food if you wish; be prepared that making your own cat food is highly time-consuming.
You must know what you are doing to achieve the right balance of nutrition that include the optimal amount of vitamins and minerals.
Knowing how to store the food correctly is also vital for a healthy, happy cat.
If you decide to go raw with your cat, you must find a supportive vet who can provide you with more detailed information, advice and recommendations.
While some may be opposed to the raw meat diet for housecats, there is little scientific evidence for or opposed to a cooked food diet for domestic cats.
As strict carnivores, cats require mostly proteins, amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and water. Carbohydrates in moderate amounts are okay but not as necessary for a cat’s nutrition.
Some of the best raw meats to feed a cat include:
- Chicken (Whole Thighs)
- Turkey (Whole Thighs).
While rabbits are more of a challenge to source, Chicken and Turkey thighs can often be found in local supermarkets.
The following raw meat diet was developed by a veterinarian in Lomita, California, called Lisa Pierson. It is nutrient dense and complete. For more information, visit www.catinfo.org:
- 3 lbs of rabbit or whole fowl, including skin, organs, and bones
- 1 cup of water
- Two eggs ( use raw yolks and lightly cooked whited
- 200 mg of wild salmon oil
- 100mg vitamin B-complex ( begin with a smaller amount when starting a raw meat diet )
- 400 IU of vitamin E (powdered vitamin E in capsule form is suitable)
- 2000 mg of taurine in powdered form
- 3/4 tsp of lite salt with iodine ( when using chicken parts )
- Liver ( add 4 oz if the meat doesn’t include the organs )
- Psyllium ( add this when you first introduce raw meat to your cat )
One of the most significant risks associated with handling and feeding raw meat is cross-contamination.
Feeding raw meat to your cat can expose you and others in your home to harmful pathogens. Raw meat must not be fed to cats living in households with children or the elderly.
Make sure to prepare the food in one part of your home, clean and sanitize before and after preparing the food.
Wear gloves when preparing raw meat, making sure that your meat is traced to a reliable source.
Feed your cat in an area with no carpeting or upholstery close by.
Sanitize food bowls straight after feeding, then rinse and dry bowls.
Be careful with bones as small bones can cause gastrointestinal blockages, airway obstructions, and oral injuries.
Make sure to ground-up bones well, before feeding them to your cat.
Yes, cats can certainly eat raw meat.
All felines, even your adorable house cat, will eat hunt and eat whole prey like birds and rodents. Its in their biology; its what they have been doing for centuries.
If you own a cat, whether or not you feed a raw meat diet is up to you. But if you decide to do so, you must exercise caution.
Never feed dated or any random meat to your cat; make sure it is fresh without any preservatives and that you know exactly where it has come from.
Also, be sure to talk to your vet about it; discover the kind of meats that will be best for your cat and how they would go about doing so.
For the most part, Rabbit, Chicken, and Turkey thighs are a good place to start, but again, you’ll need to conduct your research on how to prepare them.
Raw meat does pose the risk of cross-contamination so, you must allocate a part of your home to prepare the raw diet, cleaning, and sanitizing before and after.
Rabbit and poultry are some of the best raw meats that you can feed to a cat. You’ll also want to provide the bones, that cats require to acquire all of the nutrients which they need. Therefore the thighs tend to work particularly well. You can also offer fish, which cats enjoy and are also nutrient-dense.
Cats can eat raw chicken so long as it is served fresh and not processed in any way. Organic is preferable. Fresh raw chicken is a perfectly balanced protein. However, raw chicken must be thrown away once it has reached room temperature for more than a couple of minutes. It also must be handled minimally and carefully to prevent salmonella poisoning in the human owner.
Cats can eat canned tuna. But, they should do so only in moderation. Too much tuna can be dangerous to a cat; it can lead to malnutrition and too much exposure to mercury which can cause poisoning.
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.