No self-respecting cat would turn down the chance to slurp down some cold gravy. Everything your cat could want: broth, fat, and tasty treats made with animal protein. But can cats safely consume gravy? The truth is that the dish is only as good as the chef who prepared it.
Certain ingredients in gravy, especially when consumed in large quantities, can be quite harmful to a cat.
Can Cats Eat Gravy?
Can cats then eat gravy? Depending on what goes into it, the answer is yes. Cats can safely consume gravy, and in fact, a small amount of it can be beneficial to their health. Protein, fat, water, and vitamins are all present, just like in wet cat food. The gravy also has added benefits, like keeping your cat well-hydrated.
What is Gravy and What’s in It?
Exactly what is gravy, then? Gravy is a sauce that is made by thickening the juices rendered from cooking meat with flour or cornstarch. The final product is a flavorful sauce that can transform an average meal into something spectacular. Gravy is typically made with fat, stock, and seasonings in addition to the meat juices.
Different recipes may call for different fats, but butter and bacon grease are two popular options. Gravy gets its signature savory flavor from stock, which can be made from beef, chicken, or vegetable broth.
The sauce is thick and flavorful thanks to the combination of the juices, fat, and flour.
Chicken or beef broth, water, milk, salt, and cornstarch are the standard ingredients in commercially prepared cat gravies.
The Nutritional Value of Gravy
The common perception of gravy is that it is unhealthy and high in fat. However, some gravies contain healthy ingredients. Beef stock, which is used to make gravy, is an excellent source of protein and iron. Vitamin B6 can be found in moderate amounts in gravy made with chicken stock. Additionally, vegetable stock makes a nutritious gravy.
Nutritionally, gravy scores high marks in several categories. Phosphorus and potassium, among other minerals, are present. Most gravies have between two and five calories per teaspoon, but this can vary widely depending on the ingredients used.
Gravy Nutrition Facts
Quantity per 1 can
|Amount of Full-Fat Foods:||16 g|
Gravy Ingredients: A Closer Look
The sauce that forms the basis of gravy is always some sort of protein. Slow cooking the meat of choice in a liquid such as milk, butter, or water is a common technique.
Meat can be used in a wide variety of dishes, such as:
No primary component is likely to cause harm to your cat. The broth and flour are irrelevant, but the seasonings and milk are another story.
Potentially Harmful Gravy Pairings or Seasonings
Cats don’t like gravy because it often contains ingredients that could be harmful to them. Garlic, onions, and chives are all examples of such foods. Alliums, including garlic, onions, and leeks, are extremely poisonous to feline and canine companions.
These procedures generate an oxidant compound called n-propyl sulfate. Red blood cell oxidative damage is especially concerning in cats because cats are so susceptible to it.
Generally speaking, cats have zero tolerance for lactose. As a result, their liver lacks the ability to produce enzymes necessary for digesting dairy products. You might have mixed in some milk and butter to your gravy before serving it over a heaping plate of mashed potatoes.
Is Gravy Healthy for Cats?
Perhaps you’re wondering if gravy is bad for your cat’s health. The quick answer is yes, but there are some caveats.
To begin, not all gravies are the same. Some commercial brands contain excessive amounts of sugar and salt. Making gravy for your cat from scratch with nutritious ingredients is the best option.
Second, gravy is best served in small quantities. Gravy is no different from any other food in that eating too much of it can cause weight gain and other health issues. To that end, if you want to spoil your cat with some tasty gravy, do so in moderation and with a nutritious recipe.
Not all gravies are safe for your cat due to the variety of ingredients used in their preparation. Some of them might have cheese, salt, or onion and garlic in them. The best gravy is homemade, using ingredients that are safe for cats.
How Much Gravy Should Cats Eat?
You can either mix some gravy into your cat’s wet food or give it to them as a separate treat. Cat gravies made by manufacturers are also widely available in pet stores. Make sure there are no potentially harmful ingredients in the gravy by reading the label carefully.
They should be fed, but only in moderation. Cats can get sick from eating too much gravy. Similar to butter, gravy is fatty but hollow. Cats can put on weight quickly if they are only fed gravy and given no other food.
No one can tell you how much gravy to give your cat. A good rule of thumb is to begin with a low dose and gradually increase it as necessary.
Cats Should Stay Away from Gravy
It’s best not to give your cat any gravy unless you can guarantee that it contains nothing harmful. A few harmless licks are fine if you made it yourself and researched that it was safe for cats.
When making it at home, omit the flour and make sure there are no extra seasonings. You are essentially just providing broth, which can be mixed with dry kibble or used to create your own little savory medley.
Cats shouldn’t eat gravy because it’s high in fat and may contain ingredients that are toxic to them. Therefore, your cat should never come near.
Dangers of Premade Gravy
When preparing a large meal, it’s helpful to have access to premade gravy in the form of jars and packets. However, your four-legged feline friends may be harmed by this convenience.
Many of these options feature additives that would be unnecessary in homemade gravy. If your cat has gotten into something, you should definitely check the ingredients label.
The worst that gravy can do is make you sick to your stomach and make you throw up or have to go to the bathroom.
Gravy Alternatives for Cats
There are a few things to remember when searching for a gravy substitute for your cat. To begin, some cats may prefer a different gravy than others. Some people might like their gravy with chicken, while others might prefer fish. Finding out what your cat enjoys is largely a matter of experimentation.
Second, think about whipping up some homemade gravy. In this way, you can ensure the safety and quality of the ingredients for your feline friend.
Third, try to find canned gravies that have been made with feline tastes in mind. Your cat can get all the nutrients it needs from these, and they’re tasty to boot!
Wet cat food can be made into a gravy-like consistency by adding water. If your feline friend doesn’t care for the taste of traditional gravy or can’t handle sudden dietary shifts, this is a good alternative.
Last but not least, keep in mind that cats don’t actually require gravy, so they won’t be missing out on anything if they never have any.
Cats Gravy: Final Thoughts
As long as it doesn’t contain any spices that could make your cat sick, gravy is fine for cats to eat. Even if you used milk and butter to make your gravy, your pet should be fine without medical attention.
However, if you suspect your cat has consumed any potentially dangerous ingredients, you should contact your vet or come in for an examination right away. Always err on the side of caution instead of regret.