Can Cats Eat Raw Meat? (Or Is It Bad For Them?)

Posted in: Cat Health - Last Updated: November 15, 2022 - Author: Mayurii Rajvanshi
Posted in Cat Health 
Last Updated: November 15, 2022  
Author:  Mayurii Rajvanshi

Raw meat is referred to any dead animal products that haven’t been cooked. Humans have raw meat in some cuisines, but some safety concerns should be kept in mind. There is always the chance of getting ill from diseases present in uncooked pet food meat. 

Raw meat would have bacteria or viruses that would typically get killed during the cooking process.

With us humans, eating raw meat means you would also likely be ingesting these toxins. If that happens, you would generally suffer food poisoning. 

can cats eat raw meat

Types of meat ingredients include raw chicken, raw fish, raw beef, raw steak tartare, raw pork, and raw ground beef.

But what about your cat? How do they respond to eating this type of raw meat?

Can Cats Eat Raw Meat? 

The short answer is yes, as long as all hygiene precautions are taken. Cats are obligate carnivores. This means they like to have their protein from animal meat. Giving them raw meat would make the diet as close to the food that wild cats would have to eat. 

Your cat doesn’t need the vegetables and carbohydrates that you would include in your own diet. Cats need the high-moisture diets that you get from animal meat, which are packed with important amino acids as well as required vitamins and minerals. 

People who vouch for the BARF diet say cooking meat alters these vital nutrients and doesn’t give your cat enough.

Cats also have an acidic and short stomach, which is useful in consuming raw meat. 

what raw meat can cats eat

What Raw Meats Can Cats Eat?

For cats, a raw food diet would include kidneys, muscle meat, liver, and bones. This is usually called a BARF diet, which expands to Bones And Raw Food. It’s also sometimes referred to as Biologically-Appropriate Raw Food. 

Raw food diet can either be prepared at home or chosen from commercially available products. There are two types of diets – complete and complementary. 

If you choose a complete diet, your cat should get all the nutrients it needs if it is to be given only this kind of food. A complementary diet would be in addition to a separate feeding plan for your cat. 

For pet parents who choose to give their feline friends a raw diet, they must consult the vet so that their cat gets a balanced nutritional fix. Preparing a diet without consultation may end up making your cat prone to health issues, especially if it’s not getting all the nutrients it needs. 

Is Raw Meat For Cats Safe?

There are a few risks associated with giving your cat raw meat, especially when it comes to cross-contamination. Raw food is likely to have pathogens such as salmonella and E.coli. 

If your cat eats food that has these pathogens, it can lead to serious illness. Although a cat’s stomach being short and acidic means the bacteria can simply pass through without causing any harm, felines that have health issues may not be able to tolerate them and would require cooked food. 

When you give your cat raw food, you also run the risk of ingesting these pathogens in yourself and the rest of the household due to cross-contamination. These pathogens tend to stay on surfaces on which the cat’s food has been prepared. 

They can also stay on the surface of your cat, like the face after it completes going through the food. When they come up to snuggle their human, you run the risk of contamination. If your household has any family members whose immunity is compromised, then you should not give your cat raw meat. 

Households that have children and elderly people should also stick to giving cooked food to their feline friends to avoid cross-contamination.

Bones in a raw diet can be a choking hazard. 

Most of the raw meat that you might give your cat is likely to have small bits of bones. It is possible they can dislodge inside your cat’s throat or even in the stomach and intestines. If the bone is sharp, it could even pierce the intestine, causing major health issues. 

Cats can also get sick as a result of parasites and bacteria living in raw meat which can contaminate raw diets. This can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

raw meat for cats

Preparing Raw Meat For Cats

The first step is to make sure the meat you’re using is fresh and kept in a well-maintained refrigerator. 

Raw meats include beef, lamb, duck, turkey, ham, and even fish sources such as salmon or tuna.

Never try to speed up thawing meat out at room temperature or microwaving it.

In some stores, meat is specifically marked for pets as well.

Such meat would have additional nutrients and is also processed to reduce the chances of harmful bacteria being around. When you cut the meat, do it on a clean surface and with a clean knife. 

If there are any bones in the meat you’re serving, such as in the case of chicken, remove them. 

When you give your cat the meat, don’t store the leftovers for later use. If there is meat left, you’ll need to throw it away. 

Raw meat does not have any preservatives, so it would go bad quickly if it’s not stored in cold temperatures. Once your cat completes eating, make sure you completely wash the food bowl with hot water and soap before it’s used again. 

After the preparation is completed, make sure you completely wipe all the surfaces on which the meat was placed. This would be helpful in reducing the risk of cross-contamination.

Ensure that you disinfect all surfaces, and wash chopping boards, surfaces, knives, and bowls to make sure there are no germs. Alternatively, you can run used items through the dishwasher

You should also avoid seasoning the meat with onion, garlic, salt, and similar products as they are harmful to your cat.

is raw meat good for cats

Can Cats Eat Raw Meat? Summary

Homemade meals seem nice, especially if it’s for your cat, but they are time-consuming. It’s not a simple case of preparing and giving your cat the food. 

A lot of cleaning also needs to be done before and after the meal, if you want to stay away from cross-contamination. You would also need to be aware at all times of how much nutrients your cat is getting and if they are being fed a balanced diet. 

Before switching to a raw diet, you need to check with your vet so that there is no health-related issue with your feline friend. Indoor cats are not the same as wild cats and so may need a separate diet plan and begin with only small amounts of raw meat. 

However, we repeat, it is always a safer bet to discuss portion size, nutrition, and potential nutritional deficiencies with your veterinarian.

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About the author

Mayurii Rajvanshi takes pride in being a content ninja, who is an avid animal lover. She has fostered numerous cats and developed in-depth knowledge of feline facts so she can write about cat health and cat care to help dispel myths with authentic information. Her aim is to encourage responsible pet parenting and cat adoption.