For pet owners, feeding their fur babies an appropriate and healthy diet is not only a sign of responsibility, but a great way to enhance the pet-owner bond. A cat’s diet plays a vital role when it comes to their general health and well-being, and sometimes owners can directly influence it on a daily basis.
With the rise in fresh and raw diets, owners all around the world are curious about the safety risks associated with certain types of foods offered in such a diet, as well as the potential benefits. Cats, being obligate carnivores, require a diet high in animal protein. This makes beef a popular choice for them. But is raw beef safe for feline consumption?
When sourced properly, raw beef is safe for cats to consume in most circumstances. In this article, we’ll look at raw beef as a food source for cats in more detail.
Felines – The Ultimate Meat Processors
Cats are the epitome of a perfect predator. They have all the physical attributes and characteristics of a predator and are instinctively proficient in stalking and hunting animals. With this, comes a digestive system that’s highly specialized to process animal meats. Most cat diets are very high in protein, and their status as an obligate carnivore necessitates animal based meat in their diet. Good quality adult cat foods have anywhere from 40-50% protein, and cats have no problem handling higher amounts of protein either. Cats also require good quality animal fats in their diet, and have other micronutrient requirements that are quite unique to them as a species. Not surprisingly, all their nutritional requirements are found in various animal meats.
Many regulatory bodies have emphasized the need for animal meat in a cat’s diet by setting a high protein requirement for their diets. Examples of such regulatory requirements are those set by The Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), which mandate higher protein for cats when compared to dogs 1.
With that in mind, it’s fair to say that animal meats are a safe bet for cats. Beef is no exception to this rule.
Raw Beef – The Pros
At a quick glance, beef has the same inherent qualities as many other animal meats when it comes to justifying its place in a cat’s diet: it’s an animal-based meat which contains the nutrients cats need. Depending on the cut of beef, a 100 gram portion can contain anywhere from 19 to about 30 grams of protein, with the majority of the remaining contents usually being water & fats, and a small portion of other micronutrients.
However, the question that often arises when discussing raw diets is the potential benefits (if any) of including raw meats in a cat’s diet. Though research on the full potential of raw diets is still inconclusive, there are some benefits that have been noted.
In addition to these, raw beef may also offer the same anecdotal benefits that other raw foods offer cats. Though these anecdotal reports haven’t been definitively proven by research, they remain a popular reason for the appeal of raw food. These include:
- An improvement in coat and skin
- Elimination of bad breath
- Improved energy levels
- Improved behavior
- Reduction in certain ailments, such as parasites and obesity
The Beef With Raw
However, there are many people who are opposed to raw meats for cats due to some reasons as well.
Safely Offering Your Cat Beef
The decision to place your cat on a raw diet, which may incorporate raw beef, is ultimately one that each owner has to make after careful consideration and a consultation with their veterinarian. However, that’s not to say that cat’s can’t be fed raw beef. Even cats on a commercial non raw diet can be offered raw beef as a treat on occasion. To minimize the risk to your cat, it’s advised to take note of the following precautions:
- Source your ingredients from facilities, shops, and suppliers that have the appropriate health and safety certifications and clearances to operate where you live.
- Keep an eye on the news for the recall of any raw ingredients by your local authorities. If ingredients you have purchased have been recalled, do not feed them to your cat and discard them as advised by the authorities making the announcement.
- Closely monitor your cat for any adverse reactions when you feed them raw beef. Often, these include signs of gastrointestinal distress, such as diarrhea, vomiting, or inappetence. It’s best to start small, with just a tiny beef cut as a one time treat to see how your cat handles it. If your cat seems fine, their next beef treat can be a slightly larger portion.
Learning about what your cat can and cannot eat is a crucial part of keeping them happy and healthy! Choosing a bowl to serve cat-friendly foods in is another important decision pet owners face. Satisfy the specific needs of your cat with the innovative design of the Hepper NomNom Cat Bowl. Learn why it’s our (and our cats!) favorite food and water dish here. At Excited Cats, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!
Learning about what your cat can and cannot eat is a crucial part of keeping them happy and healthy! Choosing a bowl to serve cat-friendly foods in is another important decision pet owners face. Satisfy the specific needs of your cat with the innovative design of the Hepper NomNom Cat Bowl. Learn why it’s our (and our cats!) favorite food and water dish here.
At Excited Cats, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!
Other Beef Parts & Their Safety
In addition to raw beef, you might be curious about the safety of other parts of raw beef as well.
Raw foods are surging in popularity among pet cat owners, and raw beef is an interesting ingredient which is usually safe for most cats to consume when sourced and prepared properly. That being said, as research about the potential benefits of raw diets is still inconclusive, but the research about the risks is fairly well documented, opting to add raw meats into a cat’s diet (either as occasional treats or as part of a transition to such a dietary style) is a decision that requires serious consideration and veterinary approval prior to its implementation.