Have you heard that cats are carnivores that might benefit from eating offal? Are you considering tripe as a way to add meat to your cat’s diet? If so, you’ll want to be sure you know the ins and outs before you do so. Here is everything you will want to consider.
So, can cats eat tripe? Cats can eat tripe as a treat, supplement, or as the meat portion of a homemade cat food diet. Tripe, specifically green tripe, is a good source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and probiotics that can help boost a cat’s digestive health and immune system. Tripe should be fed as part of a varied diet alongside other food items.
But of course, there are several different types of tripe to consider, and then there is the means of knowing how to serve it (and when), too.
Let’s delve into those topics in the next few sections so that by the end, you’ll be in a position to offer this offal to your cat, should you wish.
What Tripe Can Cats Eat?
Cats can eat any kind of tripe, but the nutritional value will fluctuate with the type.
Tripe is considered an organ meat product that is from the lining of ruminant animal stomachs. Stomach linings of cows, sheep, goats, and pigs are butchered as tripe.
Depending on the part of the stomach the tripe is harvested from, the tripe may have a smoother or rougher texture, but both are safe for cats to eat.
Tripe comes in two main forms, white tripe, and green tripe. Let’s look at each a bit more closely.
Green tripe is raw, unprocessed tripe that is available directly from butchers. It is often more of a brownish-green color than true green.
The term green is used because it has not been treated or changed from its original state. This tripe is ugly but loaded with nutrients for your cat.
Green tripe is not commonly eaten by humans, but cats can eat it raw or cooked. Because it
has not been heated, cleaned, or processed in any way it maintains all of the fatty acids, proteins, and probiotics that make tripe so healthy.
Green tripe is not pretty to look at, but it is the preferred tripe for supplementing a cat’s diet.
White tripe is the type of tripe you will often find in local grocery stores and is the kind of tripe that tends to be used in cooking for humans.
White tripe has been treated or “bleached” to remove impurities that humans may be sensitive to and to improve its visual appearance.
This processing of the tripe makes it more appealing to look at but significantly lowers the nutritional content.
One perk of white tripe is that it can often be found in local grocery stores. If you do not have direct access to a butcher, then white tripe might be easier to purchase for your pet.
Your cat can eat and enjoy white tripe without being harmed but know that it will have a significantly lower nutritional value when compared to green tripe.
In this case, it would be more of a tasty treat than a nutritional boost.
How Much Tripe Can Cats Eat?
As a guideline, most cats can benefit from eating 2-3% of their body weight in tripe per week. Some owners may choose to feed this in 1-2 two tripe-based meals each week, while others may spread it out as a treat throughout the week.
As an example, the average ten-pound cat can benefit from eating around 4 ounces (¼ pound) of tripe each week as part of a well-rounded diet.
A larger cat may benefit from eating more, while younger or smaller cats will need less.
There are a few reasons why even though tripe is healthy, it should be served in limited quantities.
Tripe has a lot of vitamins, minerals, and proteins, but while it is rich in nutrition also calorie-dense. Eating too much could lead to unwanted and unhealthy weight gain.
Also, the same probiotics and other nutrients that make tripe good at supporting digestive health can cause some cats to have loose stools if they eat too much.
Feeding too much tripe could make your cat feel overly full and prevent them from eating the other items in their diet that help round out their nutritional needs.
Once you know the best amount of tripe for your cat, you’ll want to decide how you will feed it to them.
How To Feed Your Cat Tripe
In terms of preparation, tripe is usually served raw. Raw tripe is safe for cats to eat, and cooking tripe will cause it to lose some of its nutritional value.
Tripe is usually served as a stand-alone meal, as a part of a blended meal, or as a smaller treat.
Tripe Fed As A Meal
Tripe is safe to feed to your cat as a stand-alone meal. To do this, you would typically replace two of your cat’s weekly meals with tripe.
Another option is to serve your cat smaller meals spread throughout the day to make room for a tripe meal a couple of times per week.
An average cat can enjoy 2 oz of tripe per meal, with two meals per week being straight tripe.
Any amount smaller than 2 oz is likely better served as a meal supplement or topper mixed with other ingredients.
Tripe As A Meal Supplement
Tripe can be served to supplement a meal by being mixed into or placed on top of other meal ingredients.
This is a great option for those who want to spread out smaller amounts of tripe over the course of each week.
Tripe as a meal topper or mix-in is also useful if you have a cat that is weary of trying new foods.
The mix of new and familiar can help a hesitant cat give tripe a try.
Adding tripe to the meals your cat already eats keeps your cat on their normal eating routine and gives you a way to slowly introduce this superfood without risking an upset stomach.
Tripe As A Special Treat
If you have a cat that enjoys eating treats, is being trained to do a task, or if you only have access to tripe from time to time, it can be served as a treat.
Tripe can be cut into very small pieces and served from your hand or placed in your cat’s dish.
Tripe is quite smelly, so some people prefer to use utensils to hold and serve it to their cats to avoid having the scent linger on their skin.
If you are using tripe as a treat, remember that small amounts can have a big impact while protecting your cat’s stomach.
Any large changes in a cat’s diet can cause stomach trouble.
Where someone who feeds tripe as a regular part of a cat’s meals may feed 2-4 oz of tripe; when used as a treat, you will want to consider using only 1-2 ounces.
When To Feed Your Cat Tripe
Any time that you would normally feed your cat meals or treats is an acceptable time to feed your cat tripe. Tripe can be safely fed daily or a couple of times a week.
Even if you are not adding tripe to your cat’s regular diet, there are some times it may be beneficial to add it to their diet temporarily.
If you have noticed your cat straining when using the litter box, adding some tripe to their diet can help improve their digestive health.
Tripe is high in fatty acids and probiotics that can help keep a digestive system moving along.
If your veterinarian has suggested that your cat may need to gain weight, ask them about tripe as an option for adding protein-packed calories to your cat’s diet.
For some cats, the noticeable smell of tripe can be appealing. If your cat is showing limited interest in their usual food options, you can try adding a bit of tripe to see if the scent draws them in!
Other Considerations When Feeding Your Cat Tripe
Safely Store Tripe
As a raw animal by-product, it is important to keep raw green tripe refrigerated or frozen.
If let out at room temperature, bacteria can grow on the tripe, making it unsafe for your cat.
You can store tripe in the refrigerator for 2-3 days in an airtight container.
To store tripe in the freezer, it is suggested that you cut the tripe into smaller pieces and wrap it tightly with butcher paper or other freezer-safe packaging.
Stored in the freezer, tripe can maintain its quality for 3-4 months.
Tripe Is Smelly
It wouldn’t be fair to talk about tripe without mentioning the smell. If you have a sensitive nose, you will want to give tripe a sniff before bringing it home.
Tripe will leave its scent on things it touches, including your hands.
As for cats, some love the smell of tripe, while others do not seem as pleased with it.
This is why I suggest purchasing and offering a very small amount at first to see how you and your cat feel about tripe’s scent.
Making Major Diet Changes? Check In With Your Vet.
It’s certainly okay to feed your cat small mounts of tripe without a visit to the vet but if you plan to make major permanent changes to your cat’s meal plan, it’s always smart to let your veterinarian know.
Your vet can help you figure out the exact amount of tripe that would benefit your specific cat and help you monitor for any troubles your cat might have adjusting to a new food item.
Tripe is certainly a great option to consider when looking to add extra nutrition to your cat’s diet.
The protein, probiotics, and other digestive enzymes in tripe are hard to find all together in any other food item.
Select raw green tripe when possible and introduce it slowly to help your cat adjust to this new superfood.
Considering serving other offal to your cat? then my other guides may be of interest:
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.