While cats may be a bit more subtle than dogs when it comes to begging for your food, we still get the urge to share what’s on our plates with them from time to time. It’s important to know what’s safe for your pet to consume, especially since your cat may welcome foods that aren’t necessarily healthy for them. So, before you offer your feline friend a meaty morsel from your dinner plate you should ask, “Is beef safe for cats?” Yes, depending on how it’s prepared.
Cats Are Meat Eaters
By nature, cats are meat-eaters. Take a quick look at the diet of a house cat’s larger ancestors and you won’t see many fruits, vegetables, or grains. Meat is an essential part of a cat’s diet, and experts at the ASPCA maintain that cats can’t digest plant matter and instead get much of their dietary needs from meat.
Beef, chicken, turkey, and even pork are all safe for cats to consume and should make up a major part of a cat’s diet.
In fact, many popular cat food brands have beef flavors that include real beef, so even if you don’t share with your cat from your plate, it’s likely that they’re already eating beef.
Is Raw Beef Safe For My Cat?
While beef is healthy for cats to consume, raw beef can lead to the same health complications in cats that it can in humans. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has published several journal articles on the topic, and they’ve concluded that cats can be infected with food-borne illnesses like Salmonella from eating products like raw beef just like we can. We’re not that different from our furry, four-legged friends after all!
If you’re feeding your cat meat from your plate, make sure that it’s fully and properly cooked before doing so. A good rule of thumb when it comes to beef is, if you wouldn’t eat it, don’t feed it to your cat.
Is Too Much Beef Bad For My Cat?
The short answer is yes. Too much of anything can be detrimental to your kitty’s wellbeing. Your cat’s diet should be varied and include a variety of protein sources. Again, we can draw the parallel between us and our cats: pet experts confirm that too much beef can lead to issues with indigestion, diarrhea, upset stomach, and even obesity in cats just like in humans.
How Should I Feed My Cat Beef?
The easiest way to get a balanced amount of beef into your cat’s diet is simply to choose the beef options that your preferred cat food provider already offers. Whether you feed your cat wet food, dry food, or a combination, chances are the brand you use already has beef options.
If you do want to make your kitty a treat above and beyond the balanced diet you provide for them with cat food, prepare beef like you would for yourself. Like we discussed already, the most important part of feeding your cat beef is to cook it thoroughly.
If you’re making ground beef, ensure that it’s properly browned and cooked through. You can simply put some ground beef in your cat’s bowl or on top of their normal cat food; just make sure there are no large pieces of meat. If you’re offering a piece of a cut of beef to your cat, pay special attention to the center to ensure it has cooked through. Rip or cut small pieces from the cut of beef to add to your cat’s bowl.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to your cat’s nutrition you should know that meat, including beef, is not only safe but also beneficial and recommended in moderation. Your cat should be eating a balanced diet that includes multiple protein sources, so be mindful of this if you find yourself preparing your cat’s food rather than serving meals from your cat food provider. Always ensure that the beef you serve to your cat is fully and properly cooked, as raw meat can cause the same health issues for cats that it can for humans.
If in doubt, and especially if your cat seems to react poorly to eating cooked beef, consult your veterinarian to help create a diet designed specifically for your cat’s needs.