Cats are meat-eaters, and what is more carnivorous than a juicy burger made with ground beef, pork, chicken, or other meat? As long as the burger is properly cooked, is not processed, does not contain additional ingredients, like onion or garlic, and is not spoiled, your cat can enjoy a burger as a very occasional treat.
Cats are obligate carnivores. This means that they are not only capable of eating meat, but they also need it in their diet. Most of their daily protein needs should be met through meat-based protein, with minimal plant-based protein being added to their diet. In the wild, the only vegetables, fruits, and greens that they would eat normally would be from the stomachs of their prey.
However, the cats in our homes are not wild, and the domestic cat does get vitamins and minerals from plants included in commercial food. For example, they can get antioxidants from blueberries, which are common additions to dry kibble. Many foods also contain grain because it helps maintain kibble structure and helps your cat digest their food.
For the most part, though, we should ensure that our cats are getting most of their nutrition from meat sources. Meats that are considered healthy for cats include chicken and turkey, rabbit, small amounts of pork, and occasional pieces of fish. They can also eat beef, although beef is fattier than other meats, and it is highly unlikely that a wild cat would have ever taken down a cow, so beef may be considered species inappropriate.
Good Protein Source
Beef is considered a beneficial protein source for cats. It doesn’t contain the mercury levels that fish has, and it is known to be high in protein. It should be cooked, rather than fed raw, though, because cats are susceptible to many of the same meat-based bacteria as humans, such as E. coli.
How to Prepare a Hamburger for Your Cat
So, lean ground beef is safe when fed in moderation and on occasion. It should be cooked before feeding, however, and you should avoid buying processed and packaged burgers because these tend to include additional ingredients, like onion and garlic, both of which are toxic to cats and should be avoided.
Choose a lean ground beef. Fatty beef can be difficult for your cat to digest if they are unaccustomed to this kind of food. It also contains high levels of fat, and too much fatty food leads to obesity.
Since you shouldn’t be feeding your cat bread, cheese, or other burger ingredients, you can just grill the ground beef and use water to bind the meat together. Alternatively, just feed the ground beef as it is. Your cat won’t mind that it isn’t in the shape of a burger patty.
Avoid adding cheese to your cat’s burgers. Many cats are lactose intolerant, and cheese may be too rich even for those cats that can stomach a little dairy. It is also fattening and doesn’t provide much nutritional benefit to your cat.
No Fried Onions
Other ingredients, including onion and garlic, are toxic for cats. Theoretically, any amount of these ingredients could cause poisoning, although if your cat has stolen a small amount of garlic-laden burger from your plate, they should be fine but will require careful monitoring.
Can Cats Eat Hamburgers?
Cats are carnivores. They need animal protein in their diet. Beef, including the ground beef used in burgers, is a good source of protein, though even lean beef may be too rich and fatty for your cat to stomach regularly. Alternative ground meats, like lamb and chicken or turkey, are also healthy. Ensure that the meat is cooked, do not add extra ingredients, and avoid serving with bread or other constituent components of a human-style burger, and your cat can enjoy an occasional burger treat.
Featured Image Credit: moerschy, Pixabay