As cat lovers, we all want to spoil and treat our feline friends, but we also want to keep them happy and healthy. While your cat may show interest in some of your human food, not everything on your plate is healthy for them, and you may want to think twice about sharing. We know cats are primarily meat-eaters, so what about the fattier meats that we enjoy, like sausage? Is it safe to give your cat sausage? While the answer is technically yes, the hoops you have to jump through to find the right sausage are many. Read on to hear more about what types of sausage you can get away with offering your cat as a rare treat.
The Issue Is Not the Meat Itself
Some people struggle with the idea that cats are meat-eaters, but really their diets are made up primarily of meat. The pork, chicken, or turkey that your sausage is likely made up of is perfectly safe for your cat to consume according to the ASPCA, and in fact, these meats are beneficial to your cat’s health and wellbeing. It’s critical to make the distinction between sausage being healthy or unhealthy for your cat and meat, in general, being healthy or unhealthy.
Is Sausage Too Fatty For Cats?
It’s no secret that sausage isn’t all that healthy for us, and one of the main reasons is the abundance of trans fat found in most sausage products. Dr. Jennifer Coates with PetMD says that saturated and trans fats are actually good for our cats. However, Dr. Coates also states that these fats are only beneficial to cats in moderation.
While it may be delicious, sausage is not a good example of a food that has a moderate amount of what we typically think of as “unhealthy fats.” Although cats can safely consume some trans and saturated fat in their diet, an abundance of sausage is not a good source of these for your cat.
Is Sausage Too Salty for Cats?
Sausage tastes good because it’s fatty and salty, so now that we know the fats aren’t necessarily healthy for our cats, what about the salt content?
The high salt content in foods can be an issue for cats, but it actually may be less of a problem than you think. One of the main pet food suppliers, Iams, notes in this article that, while high amounts of sodium aren’t necessarily good for your cat, excess salt is normally deposited in cat urine. They also note that it’s healthy enough that veterinarians would likely only suggest limiting salt intake if there is an underlying health issue with your cat.
There is a high concentration of salt in sausage, and although it may not be terribly detrimental for your cat, it’s best to keep their salt intake down to prevent issues.
What About Sausage with Low Fat Content?
So, if fat seems to be the issue, are pork-alternative sausages safe for cats? Turkey and chicken sausage generally have less of the fat we try to avoid ourselves and limit our cats. Therefore, sausage made with less fatty meat is generally healthier for your cat.
However, another health concern with feeding your cat sausage of any kind is the presence of sulfites, nitrates, and other preservatives. Experts maintain that these preservatives (which are particularly abundant in sausage and deli meats) can be detrimental and even fatal if consumed in high quantities by cats and other pets.
The combination of fats, sulfites, and nitrates makes the majority of sausage products unhealthy and unsuitable for cats.
Are Any Sausages Healthy for Cats?
Because the main health concerns when feeding your cat sausage are the high amounts of fat and abundance of preservatives, the only sausage that could be acceptable is one made without any preservatives, and ideally one that is low in fat content. There are many options for sausage made without preservatives, and opting for a base meat lower in fat than pork is a good idea. Still, you’ll want to feed your cat this lower-fat, preservative-free sausage in small quantities to avoid any issues. You should also make sure not to give your cat spicy sausage, as the spices in the meat can lead to stomach issues or discomfort, regardless of the meat used to make the sausage.
If your cat seems to love the smell or taste of sausage, there are plenty of sausage-flavored cat foods and cat treats available, and they’re made specifically for felines! So while some sausages may be safe for your cat, it may be a better idea to leave the diet to the professionals and opt for sausage-based or sausage-flavored cat food.
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How Can I Feed My Cat Sausage?
Like we’ve discussed, too much of a delicious thing can be unhealthy for your kitty, so if you do choose a sausage that is low in fat and salt and is made without preservatives, consider offering your cat a piece here and there as a special treat and not as the main portion of a meal. Ensure that any piece you share with your cat is small enough that they won’t choke or have difficulty chewing.
You should also remember that raw sausage can hold harmful bacteria like Salmonella, so always fully cook any sausage pieces you offer to your cat. A good rule of thumb with feeding your cat sausage: if you wouldn’t eat it, neither should your cat.
Lastly, sausage is made of meat stuffed inside of a casing, and even when cooked the casing can be stringy and difficult to chew. Before giving your cat any sausage, make sure that it’s a piece from the inside of the link and doesn’t contain any of the casing. This will help prevent your cat from choking as well.
What’s The Final Verdict?
Sausage in small quantities is okay for your cat to consume as long as it is made without preservatives. Also, be sure to opt for lower-fat, low-sodium sausage made with chicken or turkey rather than pork. Fat is good for cats, but the high concentration in sausage can be problematic, so moderation is key. Additionally, you should only offer small pieces of fully cooked sausage without any of the casing to your cat, and it should be consumed sparingly as a treat and not a meal.
Featured image credit: mali maeder from Pexels, Ariana Suárez from Unsplash