Pork tenderloin, pork rinds, pork chops… You can’t think of a better way to spend your Sunday afternoon, and neither can your four-legged friend. She’s already giving you her “you didn’t even feed me today” look and preparing to meow your ears off. But, can cats eat pork?!
Now that you think about it, you haven’t seen that many cans of cat food with the “pork” label on them, have you? Most cat foods feature chicken, turkey, beef, salmon, and even an occasional tuna.
Pork meat doesn’t seem to make the cut, but have you ever wondered why? Don’t worry, there’s nothing wrong with feeding pork to your furry friend every now and then.
According to our friends over at the ASPCA, cats can eat pork without experiencing any adverse reactions. It’s an excellent choice for most cats because it contains heaps of protein, vitamins, and minerals.
And it’s great for cats with sensitive stomachs because it’s easy to digest. But… There’s always a but when it comes to feeding your cat anything that isn’t supposed to be a regular part of her diet.
While cats can certainly enjoy pork meat more often than some other types of meat, they still shouldn’t enjoy it every single day. Pork meat and other pork products can be pretty salty and fatty, leading to health issues in the long run.
Your feline friend can eat pork as an occasional treat, but you should consult with your vet before making any significant changes to your cat’s diet. What are the benefits of feeding pork to your cat? What are the drawbacks? Here’s what you need to know.
So, can cats eat pork?
Cats are obligate carnivores. They require heaps of meat, animal protein, and animal-sourced nutrients in their diet in order to survive.
They don’t require fruits, veggies, and nuts to keep them happy and healthy. And they typically get their vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants from other animals (and carefully crafted cat food).
So, pork ticks all the boxes which can only mean one thing: cats can eat pork! While that’s a great reason to celebrate with your four-legged friend, you might want to hold on for one moment. Pork can be an excellent occasional treat, but it can’t (and shouldn’t) be a regular part of your cat’s diet.
The main concern with feeding pork to your cat on more than one occasion has to be the fat content. Your cat needs a bit of fat here and there to keep her fur healthy and shiny, but she certainly doesn’t need the amount she would get from an average pork chop.
Let’s just say that the relationship between pork and your cat can only be described as a complicated one. “You can’t have the good without the bad”, as someone once said. But, that’s not a reason for desperation because your cat can still have an occasional meaty morsel.
What’s good about feeding pork to your cat?
Grab your furry friend and start preparing pork chops and pork loins for your Sunday BBQ! While there are a couple of concerns with feeding pork meat to your cat, there’s no reason why she shouldn’t be allowed to attend your brunch.
As mentioned in one of the previous paragraphs, cats are carnivores. While domestic cats might not be able to hunt pigs (your precious purrincess certainly isn’t), they’re very much able to hunt other animals and feast on their meat.
And pork happens to be packed with a bunch of essential nutrients (and especially essential amino acids) that can benefit your cat’s health. We’re talking about protein, taurine, thiamine, vitamin B12, and vitamin B6. And, as pet parents, we all know how vital these nutrients are.
Let’s just say that your furry friend needs all the protein she can get. She turns protein into energy and uses it to build blocks of muscles and fuel her bodily processes. While pork isn’t necessarily the healthiest option, it’s certainly one that brings quite a lot of protein to the table.
And as for the taurine, thiamine, and other vitamins, they play such an important role in the health of her digestive system and digestive tract, her immune system, and her nervous system. Give her a bite out of that paw-licking pork roast and let the vitamins do their thing.
Don’t forget that most commercial cat foods contain everything your furry friend needs to lead a happy and healthy life. But, it doesn’t hurt to throw in a couple of meaty morsels to bring out that smile on her face.
Enough about the benefits of pork, let’s move on to things you need to be careful with when you’re deciding whether you should feed this mouth-watering meat to your cat.
What’s bad about feeding pork to your cat?
Right off the bat, don’t be alarmed when you read about the potential risks of feeding pork to your four-legged friend. You can always consult with your vet before making any significant changes to your cat’s diet, and you can always go for an occasional treat rather than an entire meal.
So, what’s so bad about feeding pork to your cat? Can cats even eat pork with no repercussions? Most healthy, adult cats can eat pork without experiencing any adverse reactions. But, that doesn’t mean that you should go ahead and feed your cat pork every single day.
First things first, pork meat contains high levels of fat. That’s one of the reasons why you won’t find it in most commercially available cat food that often. Consuming too much fat can leave your cat with digestive issues, weight gain, obesity, and diabetes.
Not to mention that too much fat can block your cat’s arteries and cause serious health problems!
On the other hand, pork meat also contains high levels of sodium. Your cat does need some sodium in her system, but too much sodium can lead to something called sodium toxicity (or sodium poisoning).
Vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, lethargy, incoordination, excessive thirst or urination… Trust me, you don’t want your feline friend expiring any of those symptoms. And she might even end up needing an emergency vet visit.
Last but not least, commercially available pork meat can contain a bunch of seasoning, artificial sweeteners, and preservatives that don’t belong in the feline diet. And don’t even get me started on the pork allergy.
Sure, cats can eat pork, but you need to make sure you’re taking the necessary precautions before adding these meaty morsels into your cat’s diet.
What to consider when you’re feeding pork to your cat?
Before you go ahead and set up a plate for your four-legged friend, you might want to take a look at a couple of things you can do to ensure your cat’s safety. While there’s nothing wrong with giving her a bite or two straight off the BBQ, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
So, before you feed pork to your cat make sure you remove the bones. We’re aware that your cat might want to munch on them throughout the day, push them around, and play with them. But, pork bones (and other bones) can become a choking hazard and we’re trying to avoid putting your cat in danger.
On the other hand, you should also make sure you cook the pork properly before feeding it to your cat. There’s quite a debate between cat owners on whether or not cats should eat raw meat, but there’s no denying that raw pork doesn’t come without a set of risks.
Salmonella, trichinella, e.coli… Those are only some of the things that properly cooked pork doesn’t contain. Even more so, when you cook your cat’s meat properly you can make sure you don’t add any harmful seasonings.
Let’s not forget about the main rule of feeding human foods to your cat. “Everything in moderation”, even when we’re talking about foods that are generally safe for feline consumption.
Your feline is much better off with a couple of bites of pork, rather than an overload that might hurt her tummy. And, you can always consult with your vet and follow his advice to a tee to ensure your cat’s safety.
Can kittens eat pork?
Yes, but also no. Kittens shouldn’t eat anything other than their mother’s milk. Their digestive system isn’t equipped to break down and process pretty much anything else, and it certainly isn’t equipped to process fatty meats.
So, you shouldn’t feed your kitten pork unless it’s already grown enough to have a bite or two with no repercussions. Even then, you shouldn’t feed your kitten anything before consulting with your vet and getting a green light.
Can cats eat raw pork?
And this is the debate we mentioned a couple of paragraphs ago. As a pet parent, you’re probably aware that cats are carnivores. They have a history of hunting down other animals, devouring them raw, and thriving on animal protein and animal-sourced nutrients.
It’s only natural to assume nothing bad could happen from a couple of bites of raw pork. But… That’s not entirely true. Raw pork meat contains a bunch of bacteria and parasites that can cause harm to your cat’s health. Raw bones can become a choking hazard and even cause an internal injury.
While cats can technically eat raw pork, that doesn’t mean that they should. They’re much better off eating a couple of properly cooked pork meat morsels every now and then. Once again, you can always consult with your vet regarding this matter.
Cats can eat pork, but…
That doesn’t mean that you should let your four-legged friend go ham on pork bacon. Make sure to take the necessary precautions beforehand and enjoy seeing a smile on your cat’s face the moment she realizes she’s allowed to take a bite. Good luck!