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Can Cats Eat Raw Beef? What You Need to Know

Cats are natural carnivores with unique nutritional needs. One way of meeting these needs is by feeding it raw beef, which also sums up as an affordable meat option for felines. But most cat parents are usually skeptical about feeding beef to cats, especially with all the controversy surrounding this topic.

Well, even though raw beef is safe for a cat to consume, you should introduce beef carefully into your feline’s diet as human processed meat can introduce toxins and harmful bacteria. Here’s what you should know about feeding raw beef to cats

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Should Cats Eat Raw Beef Exclusively?

Most cat parents opt for a raw beef diet because it mimics a cat’s natural diet in the wilderness. However, although felines are obligate carnivores, they shouldn’t eat beef exclusively.

Big cats in the wild eat a wide range of animal meat because their bodies can get all the nutrients they need from the flesh, and their digestive system is used to this diet. While this diet favors these animals, your kitty companion may not do well.

The reason is, domesticated cats do not possess the same kind of gastrointestinal system as big cats-meaning that their bodies cannot process the protein amounts available in raw beef.

Felines require a good supply of meat to stay healthy. You should still limit the amount you give it and balance the diet with water, carrots, peas, oatmeal, and carbohydrates. Beef is a vital source of proteins, but it also contains much more fat than typical meat like white meat.

cat biting meat
Image Credit: DarkBird, Shutterstock

What Is a Raw Meat Diet for Cats?

A raw meat diet involves feeding your feline friend uncooked animal products. These foods include muscle meat, organ meat, and bones.

Most cat owners prepare raw meat diets themselves at home, although commercial meat forms are also available. If you choose to offer raw beef to your feline companion, allow a veterinary nutritionist to determine and recommend if it is safe for your pet.

Supporters of raw food diets for cats believe that cooking meat alters and depletes the food’s vital nutrients. The idea for raw beef is to create a diet similar to what cats would eat in the wild.

Benefits of Raw Meat Diet

  • Less Smelly Excretion – A cat’s digestive system is designed to process proteins more than any other nutrients. This characteristic helps cats process and absorb most ingested food, so less comes back out again. For this reason, a cat that eats raw beef usually excretes small, dry, and less smelly poo.
  • Cats Are Less Hungry and Beg Less – Raw beef is almost wholly protein, which can be very filling. Therefore, feeding your feline companion a raw meat diet means that it gets more protein, increased energy levels, and stays full for longer. Less begging for food means fewer weight-related issues like obesity, which is common in most cats.
  • Better Teeth – The ingredients in raw beef, especially bones, help keep a cat’s teeth healthy. Chomping down on the bones in a beef diet prevents plaque and tartar, allowing cats to have cleaner teeth and less foul-smelling mouths.
  • Water Content – Since cats should get water directly from their diets, raw meat would help hydrate a cat because they have a higher water content than dry cat food.

Types of Beef to Feed Your Cat

1. Beef Organ Meat

Come to think of it, when cats kill and eat their prey, they eat all parts of their bodies, including the internal organs. Most felines show a preference for these parts over skeletal muscle because they are rich in proteins, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.

cow liver
Image Credit: ReinhardThrainer, Pixabay

This means that you can introduce your cat to beef organ meat such as kidneys, liver, and heart, although it should only make a small percentage of its diet. The reason is that the organs contain all kinds of toxins and hormones that can cause diarrhea if eaten in plenty.

You shouldn’t boil the organs as it depletes a lot of nutrients in them.


2. Bones

Your cat shouldn’t have trouble eating raw bones because a hunting cat can eat an entire prey such as a bird or mouse, including the bones. For this reason, you can also offer raw bones to your cat as long as the bones are small enough to prevent choking.

Chewing raw bones strengthens a cat’s teeth and provides vital minerals such as calcium. On the other hand, cooked bones become brittle because of the heat and can splinter when the cats swallow, causing internal damage.


3. Ground Beef

You may be wondering about the consequences of using ground beef to prepare meals for your cat. But in the end, ground beef is still muscle meat, and cats do not have trouble taking it.

Cats can eat ground beef as long as you do not add spices like onion or garlic. It would be best to provide this diet in small amounts because raw and cooked ground beef does not supply all the vital nutrients essential for a cat’s survival.

As always, it is vital to process and prepare the meat thoroughly beforehand. Feeding your cat semi-cooked beef is unsafe and can lead to disease.

Image Credit: PublicDomainPictures, Pixabay

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How to Prepare Ground Beef for Cats

Although cats can safely eat raw beef, you need to thoroughly cook ground beef to prevent potential pathogens like salmonella and toxoplasmosis. First off, ensure that you secure quality meat from reputable sources.

Buy the leanest possible meat and drain the excess fat as much as possible. Excess fat can cause health concerns like diarrhea, indigestion, and obesity.

Next, cook the meat to a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit and avoid seasoning or spicing the beef as these ingredients could intoxicate your cat. Instead, you can consider adding pet-friendly grains and veggies such as brown rice, oatmeal, peas, and carrots-though in small amounts.

It’s also vital to treat ground beef as a snack and not a meal. Most importantly, the portion you serve your cat should depend on your cat’s age and nutritional requirements.

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Summary

If you decide that you want to introduce your cat to raw beef, ensure that you take the necessary precautions to mitigate some raw beef feeding risks.

The basis of your cat’s diet should be well-cleaned, balanced, and proportional beef portions. The good thing is, you can offer both raw and cooked beef for variety, although you must keep in mind that calories count!


Featured Image: PDPhotos, Pixabay