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Can Cats Eat Liverwurst? Is It Healthy for Them?

Feeding human cuisine to your cat is not always a wise decision, but how safe is liverwurst? Cats can eat liverwurst as a treat, but it should not be a regular part of your cat’s diet. Liverwurst is a protein-rich sausage that contains essential vitamins and minerals like vitamins A, B12, zinc, iron, potassium, and phosphorus.

While it may benefit a carnivorous feline, liverwurst can also contain high fat levels, seasonings, and additives that are not beneficial to cats. A small piece of the sausage served as a treat will make your pet happy, but we’ll examine why it should not be substituted for high-quality cat food.

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Benefits of Serving Liverwurst

Liverwurst is served in the United States, but it’s more popular in South America and Europe. How is liverwurst made? Making liverwurst is similar to other sausage recipes, and it involves grinding fat, organ meat, and meat and adding seasoning. After the components are mixed, they’re piped into a sausage casing and smoked.

Liverwurst comes in two textures. One is sliceable meat that you can cook or add to sandwiches, and the other is a spreadable paste-like pâté. Liverwurst manufacturers use different seasonings and fillers in their recipes, but generally, the products contain these components.

Cat eating cat food from a bowl
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Protein

Unlike canines, cats are carnivorous animals that depend on protein-rich meals to keep them healthy and active. Liverwurst is an excellent source of complete protein because it has essential amino acids. For every 100-gram portion, liverwurst contains 15 grams of protein. Although it may be higher in protein than some cat treats, liverwurst is not as protein-rich as plain animal meat.

The sausage has organs and meat, but it also has fillers, additives, and sometimes additional flavoring. It is not as lean as low-fat cuts of chicken, beef, or pork, but cats can convert fat and protein into energy. Since liverwurst contains 28.5 grams of fat for every 100-gram portion, your cat should not regularly consume the sausage, especially if it’s overweight.

Calories

Although it’s high in fat, liverwurst is relatively low in calories. It contains 325 calories/kilocalories per 100 grams of liverwurst. If you compare the nutritional value of liverwurst to a popular dry cat food like Purine One, you’ll notice that the cat food is much higher in protein than fat. The number of calories is similar, but more calories come from fat in liverwurst than protein.

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Vitamins

Pet food manufacturers often add vitamin supplements to their recipes when the cooking process decreases the vitamin levels. However, several meat products like liverwurst retain essential vitamins even after being cured. Thiamine, or vitamin B1, is a water-soluble vitamin that helps cats metabolize carbohydrates. When cats are thiamine deficient, they can experience troubling neurological symptoms that include:

  • Falling
  • Head tilt
  • Abnormal gait
  • Circling
  • Dilated pupils
  • Ventriflexion
  • Opisthotonos

Niacin is another B vitamin present in liverwurst and essential for healthy felines. Unlike dogs, cats cannot convert the amino acid tryptophan into niacin. Cats must eat preformed niacin. In other words, they must consume the vitamin in its most active form to reap the benefits. Liverwurst is loaded with niacin, and it contains 52% of the daily value of a human diet.

fresh liverwurst
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Retinol (Vitamin A)

The intestinal lining of a dog’s body contains enzymes that can process carotenoids from plants to convert them to retinol. Cats cannot break down the carotenoids, and they must consume preformed retinol that has already been converted from another animal. Vitamin A is beneficial for a cat’s skin, immune system, and night vision. Liver and liverwurst are high in vitamin A but serving your cat too much can lead to retinol toxicity. Overserving liverwurst or feeding your pet an excessive amount of vitamin A supplements can cause:

  • Constipation
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Skin allergies
  • Abnormal posture
  • Appetite loss

Veterinarians treat retinol poisoning by removing the food from the diet that causes the reaction and suggesting other meals that do not have excessive levels of vitamin A.

Hazards of Serving Liverwurst

In addition to the higher retinol levels in liverwurst, the sausage may contain other ingredients that are not healthy for your pet. Garlic and onion seasoning are often added to the meat to improve the taste, but you should avoid any brands that contain those flavorings. Any food in the Allium family, including garlic, onions, and leeks, is toxic to cats and dogs. Poisoning from garlic or onions can cause abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and red blood cell damage. Before serving liverwurst to your furball, check the ingredients carefully to ensure no Allium foods are listed.

Although cats benefit from the fatty acids in liverwurst, too much fat in the diet can lead to weight problems and obesity. Liverwurst is higher in fat than protein, and most nutritionally balanced cat food meals are much higher in protein than fat.

fat cat siiting on the grass
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Foods to Avoid Serving Your Cat

When you’re enjoying a meal, your pet may cry out or give you the adorable “cat eyes” to convince you to share. The feline body and digestive system are much different than a human’s, and these foods should be avoided to prevent an adverse reaction.

  • Onions and garlic
  • Xylitol
  • Chocolate
  • Alcohol
  • Raw meat
  • Fat trimmings
  • Dairy products
  • Caffeine
  • Canned tuna
  • Baby food

If your feline has an adverse reaction to human cuisine, contact your vet immediately for an emergency visit and call the animal poison control hotline at (888) 426-4435.

The Ideal Feline Diet

Although liverwurst contains essential vitamins, minerals, and protein, it’s not as nutritious as most premium cat food meals. Nutritionally balanced dry food, like the Purina One mentioned earlier, is higher in protein than liverwurst.

cat eating food at home
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Animal Protein

Why is protein so crucial to the feline diet? Animal protein contains taurine, an essential amino acid that must be consumed by cats regularly to stay healthy. If a cat eats a taurine deficient diet, the animal will be more susceptible to retinal disease and cardiomyopathy. According to PetMD, adult cats should eat 140 grams of protein/kilogram every day and consume meals with moderate fat levels and low carbohydrates.

Dry Food and Canned Food

Most premium dry meals are rich in protein, fat, and vitamins, but they’re much lower in moisture than wet food. Since cats have a lower thirst drive than dogs, wet meals can help them stay hydrated. The texture and crunch of dry food are better at keeping teeth clean than wet meals but using a combination of wet and dry can provide the appropriate level of nutrition and moisture. However, every cat has different tastes, and some are notoriously picky. If you’re having trouble finding the right food for your cat, your veterinarian can help you create a meal plan that’s nutritious and appealing to your pet.

cat eating dry and wet cat food
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Are Raw Meals a Healthy Option?

Several pet food manufacturers make raw meals for cats and dogs, and some offer subscription services so you can get premium meals delivered to your door. If you examine the websites of raw food producers, you may think that you have been serving the wrong food to your cat all along. Some companies claim that raw meals simulate a true carnivorous diet that is not present in dry and canned meals. They insist that your cat’s coat, temperament, and bowel movements will improve if you switch to their raw products.

Although your cat’s ancestors consumed a raw diet, raw meals are not always healthier or more digestible than cooked ones. Compared to cooked cat food, raw meals are likely to contain harmful bacteria like E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria. Raw food may be contaminated with those pathogens, but the high temperatures used in cooking commercial brands kill the harmful bacteria. Serving your cat a raw diet may be preferable to discount cat food, but no current studies have proved that raw cat food is more nutritious or beneficial to felines than premium cat food.

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Final Thoughts

Liverwurst is a nutritious alternative to low-protein cat treats, but it should not be served as a substitute for high-quality cat food. The sausage is high in protein and fat and loaded with essential minerals and vitamins. However, too much can lead to vitamin A toxicity, obesity, and other medical issues if toxic additives like onion or garlic are included in the recipe. Your pet may beg you for a slice of liverwurst but serving nutritionally balanced treats, and meals is a healthier option.

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Featured Image: HandmadePictures, Shutterstock

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