Pan-seared steak with garlic butter… Ribeye steak… Flank Steak with Chimichurri… Did your mouth just water? Well, a nicely cooked portion of beef is indeed delicious. But there’s someone else who probably shares the same thought. Your kitty!
Cats are known to have a penchant for stealing pieces of raw meat and, of course, mouthwatering steak. If your cat is the same, you might have wondered about the safety of letting your fur baby eat steak.
It’s good for humans if eaten in moderation and cooked healthily. But is that true for your cat as well? Can your cat eat steak? Is it good for a cat's health?
Let’s discuss it!
Can Cats Eat Steak? (In Short)
A well-prepared steak dinner is a savory meal not many can resist. Especially carnivores! And your cat is an obligate carnivore. So, it kind of makes sense for your kitty to jump up on the counter every time it sees a steak. Does this apply to your feline friend as well? The short and simple answer is yes, your cat can eat steak.
But a lot depends upon how much steak you should feed them and what else accompanies it.
Experts have warned against the dangers of eating too many steaks. Red meat can create health challenges for you including the increased risk of certain cancers and heart diseases.
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Is Red Meat Safe For Cats
You’ll be surprised to know red meat is one of the safest meats you can feed to your feline friend. Unlike fish, beef doesn’t contain heavy metal contaminants like mercury. Moreover, it is easily digestible for them.
In fact, there are several health benefits to feeding steak to your kitty as long as you do not transition them to a steak-only diet. This would create nutritional imbalances, which are going to prove dangerous to your cat in the long run.
Remember to feed lean cooked steak to your cat as it contains several nutrients like high-quality protein, niacin, iron, vitamin B12, selenium, and zinc. Meat munchers since ancient times, cats can easily absorb these nutrients from steak in comparison to getting these vitamins and minerals from plant-based meals.
Steak becomes especially good for cats as it gives them vitamin B12.
Can Cats Have Raw Steak?
Yes, it is fine. Raw meat contributes to the unsaturated fatty acids omega three and omega six, which is fundamental for good coat condition.
If you're wondering whether cats can consume all types of raw food such as raw steak, it's recommended that you opt for a diet from a trustworthy brand or one that has been designed by a veterinary nutritionist if you decide to feed your cat raw steak. It's important to ensure that the steak is prepared properly and that hygiene measures are always taken.
Vitamins in Steak
Green vegetables (spinach, lettuce, etc..) may be a great source of nutrients for omnivores like us "hoomans", but not so much for our feline friends' dietary needs.
However, steak, like other types of lean meat, is rich in nutrients such as iron, zinc, and phosphorus, as well as B vitamins like vitamins B6 and B12.
This particular vitamin is critical for your fur baby’s health as it helps boost their immunity, protect the nervous system, and help run it efficiently. It is good for their digestive system as well. Cats need to get their daily dose of vitamin B12 from their food because they don’t produce it in their body.
The vitamin B12 absorption process is a little complex, which is why sick and elderly cats might not be able to absorb this nutrient from their food. From the stomach and liver to the pancreas and small intestine, all play a crucial role in vitamin B12 absorption. If any of these organs aren’t working efficiently, vitamin B12 absorption gets impacted.
Cats need regular doses of vitamin B12 through food as they cannot store it for a long time. Healthy kitties may be able to retain B12 in their issues for about 13 days, while sick or elderly cats with gastrointestinal complications will retain it for five days or less.
If your cat is deficient in B12, you’ll see symptoms like lethargy, weight loss, diarrhea, or vomiting.
If your furry friend is unable to get enough B12, you can try supplements along with feeding plain lean cooked steak occasionally. Remember moderation is the key!
Please note: always include supplements in your kitty’s diet after a discussion with your vet.
Be Cautious of The Following
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Meats can contain high levels of salt (sodium). Especially pork and bacon. Too much sodium in your cat's diet can cause hypernatremia which can potentially lead to requiring medical treatment.
Onion & Garlic
Many portions of meat are prepared with onion and garlic. Remember, cats should never eat garlic or onion, so avoid gravies, sauces, or any preparation that involves these.
Raw eggs can harm your cat. They contain potentially harmful bacteria, and raw egg whites contain a protein that can harm a kitty’s ability to absorb nutrients. So keep these in a safe place if you are using them whilst preparing a meat dish.
How Much Steak Can A Cat Eat?
So far we know steak is good for your cat’s health. But there are other things you should know.
As discussed earlier, feed steak in moderation and never replace it with their normal cat food. You must also cook plain steak before feeding. Make sure there’s no fat or bones in the steak as it can be incredibly dangerous to your fur baby.
Cooked or uncooked- fat can result in a myriad of health challenges including intestinal upset, vomiting, and diarrhea. Fat trimmings can also lead to heart attack and high blood pressure in the long run. Bones are bad because your cat can choke on them. Cooked bones splinter, which can obstruct their gastrointestinal tract.
You also have to be conscious of your cat's calorie intake. Usually, cats need to consume around 300 calories per day. Steak as treat can easily exceed their daily calorie intake as just a single 3-ounce serving of steak (plain) contains around 180 calories.
If you’re not careful about the amount of steak your cat is eating, the calories can quickly add up. In the long run, it is going to lead to obesity, which is a major health challenge for your kitty.
Obesity increases the risk of cancer, diabetes, and arthritis.
You must have noticed I kept mentioning ‘cooked’ steak. That’s because raw or improperly cooked meat can be potentially dangerous if it is contaminated with harmful bacteria like E. coli. This bacteria can cause serious illnesses in cats. Some of the symptoms include bloody diarrhea, vomiting, and lack of appetite.
Read this next: Cat Food Ingredients (EXPLAINING a Cat Food Label)
Can Cats Eat Steak? The Verdict
To conclude, feeding steak to your cat is fine. In fact, it is a delicious healthy cat treat that offers a lot of health benefits, especially a generous helping of vitamin B12. If your cat is on a B12 supplement, you can give table scraps or a piece of steak as a treat occasionally to help your kitty flourish.
Make sure you feed your fur baby only cooked plain lean steak without fat and bones. Remember moderation is the key because steak is high in calories. You don’t want your cat to get obese as it can be a huge risk to its health in the long run.
We would suggest keeping your kitty's diet more focused on whole foods, raw chicken, cooked chicken, and turkey. These are far more healthier for a cat's digestive system and, not forgetting a cat's teeth! and gums.
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