Your cat is probably one of the most persnickety eaters that you know of. She will turn up her nose at even the most decadent cat food. This begs the question, “Can I feed my cat steak?”
One of the most savory meals available, a well-prepared steak dinner should be a dish that every carnivore craves. However, recent research has revealed that red meat can increase your risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and other health issues. But is it bad for your feline?
In this article, we’ll explore if steak is safe for your cat to eat, as well as the health benefits and drawbacks of this delicious dinner.
Yes Cats Can Eat Steak!
The simple answer to this question is yes. Your kitty can eat steak in moderation. In fact, red meat is one of the safest meat selections for your furry friend. Flesh from a cow doesn’t have any known poisons to cats, is easily digestible, and does not include the same heavy metal contaminants that many kinds of fish can be afflicted with.
What Are the Health Benefits of Feeding My Cat Steak?
Felines are carnivores, plain and simple. Steak contains many nutrients for a healthy, thriving cat. However, it is critical to ensure that your cat does not have any nutritional imbalances, so never replace their pet food with a steak-only diet. If you are considering changing your cat’s diet to only include whole foods, it’s important to seek the advice of your veterinarian first. Steak, while healthy for cats, will not meet all of their dietary needs as well as pet food that is specifically formulated for felines.
Many folks try to steer clear of eating red meat. However, unlike humans, felines are biologically designed to eat meat every day. Lean, cooked steak contains numerous vitamins and nutrients that can boost a cat’s health, including iron, niacin, protein, selenium, zinc, and Vitamin B12.
Since their ancestors were all meat-munchers, cats will efficiently absorb these nutrients from the steak, far better than they would from a meal which is crafted from plant-based foods, such as kale or spinach. Green veggies may be a great source of nutrients for omnivores like us, but not so much for our feline companions.
Why is Vitamin B12 Important for Cats?
Also known as cobalamin, Vitamin B12 is critical for a cat’s health, including their nervous system, immune system, and their digestive tract. While felines do not produce their own B12, they can absorb this vitamin through their food.
Sick and elderly cats may not be able to absorb enough Vitamin B12 that’s present in their food. The absorption process is a complex one that takes the work of the small intestine, liver, stomach, and pancreas. If one of these organs is not functioning properly, the less Vitamin B12 is absorbed by your cat.
Additionally, the vitamin only exists in your cat’s body for a limited amount of time. In a healthy feline, their tissues will retain B12 for about 13 days. In a sick cat with gastrointestinal or other health complications, the vitamin will only stick around for five days. Reserves of B12 will quickly get depleted.
Some signs of a Vitamin B12 deficiency in cats include vomiting, severe weight loss, lethargy, or diarrhea.
If your cat isn’t absorbing Vitamin B12 properly, one of the best plans of action is to give her B12 supplements, as well as some well-cooked, plain, lean steak every day. Ask your vet before you change her diet or give her supplements.
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Things to Consider When Feeding Your Cat Steak
While there is nothing wrong with giving your cat steak as a treat or in moderation along with their normal feline food, you need to feed them plain steak that contains no fat or bones. Both of these meat products can be rather dangerous to cats. Fat, both raw and uncooked, can cause a myriad of health issues, including diarrhea, vomiting, and other intestinal upsets. Additionally, too much fat (or worse, fat trimmings) can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and high blood pressure. Cats can also choke on bones or splinters can cut them internally or cause obstructions.
Keep in mind, also, that most cats can live on less than 300 calories each day. A single three-ounce serving size of plain steak can be packed with up to 178 calories. If you’re not careful about how much steak your cat is ingesting, they can pack on the pounds quickly. Obesity can lead to diabetes, arthritis, and even cancer.
Another important note is that you should never feed your cat raw meat. Raw meat, no matter how fresh, could be infected with bacteria such as E. coli. Don’t feed anything you wouldn’t eat to your pet.
Overall, plain steak in moderation is fine. It is rich in vitamins and minerals, such as Vitamin B12, that cats need to flourish. However, watch how much steak you’re feeding your animal and never feed them fat, bones, or raw meat.
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Featured image credit: Shubhankar Sharma from Unsplash, mali maeder from Pexels