You may be curious about the safety of feeding raw meat to your cat, whether as part of a switch to a more natural diet or simply as a treat. Cats, after all, have been observed eating raw mice, birds, and other small animals in their natural habitats.
Cats can benefit from eating raw pork and other raw meats, but there are dangers associated with doing so.
While it’s true that cats can eat raw pork without getting sick, doing so puts your cat at risk of ingesting bacteria or parasites.
Meat that has gone bad or has been improperly stored should never be given to your cat.
In general, raw pork can be a healthy option for cats, but only if the proper food handling procedures are followed. Keep reading to find out more!
Can Cats Eat Raw Pork?
Cats are strict carnivores that thrive on raw, recently killed meat. Your cat’s digestive system won’t react any differently to raw meats.
Raw pork is safe for cats to eat, but like any raw meat, it poses a risk of parasites and other food-borne illnesses.
As the increased surface area of ground meats greatly increases the area for bacterial growth, it is not advised to feed your cat commercially ground raw pork.
If you must feed raw pork, it’s best to buy fresh cuts from a reputable butcher or farm and grind them yourself.
Is It Healthy for Them?
Raw pork, or a raw diet in general, has not been shown to provide any health benefits to cats in scientific studies. The majority of claims are supported by, at best, anecdotal evidence.
When making decisions about something as potentially harmful as a raw diet, you should only rely on evidence-based sources, such as scientific studies and the advice of your vet or a veterinary nutritionist.
Over time, nutritional deficiencies can develop, even with commercial raw diets. Your best bet is to consult a vet who has completed post-graduate work in animal nutrition.
There is no reason to worry about the health of your cat if you feed it raw pork. Pork is an excellent source of many nutrients, including protein, niacin, iron, vitamins B6, B12, and zinc.
However, compared to when they are fed a commercially prepared or cooked diet, your cat is not at risk of contracting any diseases from eating raw pork.
The parasite known as trichinosis can be transmitted from raw or undercooked pork to both you and your cat.
E. coli, salmonella, listeria, staphylococcus, and yersinia are just some of the other dangerous pathogens that could be present in raw pork.
Is It Healthy for You?
Many people who switch their cats diet to raw food don’t realize the dangers it poses to humans.
If you’re not careful, you could end up getting sick from handling your cat’s food, which is bad enough. If your cat eats raw food and contracts an illness, you could potentially contract that illness from your cat.
Trichinosis, for example, may not manifest in your cat but can have devastating effects on humans.
Make sure you follow safe food handling procedures if you decide to feed your cat raw pork or other raw meats.
You should avoid letting your cat lick, bite, or scratch you, especially near your face or open wounds, and you should wash your hands frequently before and after handling raw meat. You should also clean and disinfect your cat’s food bowl.
Why Can Cats Eat Raw Meat?
Because of their dietary requirements, cats are classified as obligate carnivores. Cats, unlike humans, do not require a plant-based diet for good health, though including some plant matter in their food can be beneficial.
Cats are able to derive greater nutritional value from raw meat than we can because their digestive systems have adapted to metabolize it.
Dangers of Raw Pork
In most cases, a cat’s robust immune system will protect it from the parasites and bacteria that might be present in raw meat. Commercial pork rarely has parasites, but wild game, including boar, often does.
You should always follow all recommended guidelines, such as proper freezing and cooking procedures, before feeding your cat wild-caught meat, such as boar meat.
Bacteria tend to be more widespread and troublesome to eliminate. Cats should avoid eating pork because it may contain bacteria that can make them sick. These bacteria include yersinia, salmonella, enterococcus, and listeria.
Finally, there is the risk of choking on the bones of raw meats that have been served without preparation. Any bone fragments that could cause a choking hazard should be removed before feeding them to your cat. It’s fine to eat big bones.
Raw Meat Safety
Always buy from a reputable source if you plan on feeding your cat raw meat. If you won’t be using the meat within three to five days, freeze it and thaw it in the refrigerator, not on the counter.
Take the pork out of the fridge and throw away any leftovers when it’s time to feed the cat.
Too much time spent at room temperature causes bacteria to multiply, leading to foodborne illness.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Eating Pork
While pork isn’t as common as other meats in cat food, it’s a fantastic option. Your cat will benefit greatly from the protein and vitamins found in pork.
Thiamine, a B vitamin necessary for cats’ proper functioning, can be found in pork, and the protein source is also rich in taurine and other essential amino acids.
Because of its mild flavor and high digestibility, pork is a popular alternative for cats that suffer from food allergies.
But not all pork is the same. Cats don’t do well with the high levels of sodium found in commercial pork. There may be additional harmful preservatives in there as well.
In addition, pork is widely considered to be a high-fat food. The truth is that the amount of fat in different cuts of pork, as with all meats, can vary widely.
Pork loin chops, loin roast, and pork tenderloin are all lean cuts that are great for cats to eat because they are high in protein and low in fat. However, cuts like the belly or shoulder are low in nutrition because they contain a lot of fat.
Raw vs Cooked vs Cured Pork
It’s important to know that not all forms of cooked pork are suitable for cats. Pork, both cooked and cured, is widely available in addition to raw meats. Cats can safely and healthily consume cooked pork.
Your cat will be safest if the pork is prepared without any seasonings or spices that could upset its stomach. Stay away from pork that has been deep-fried or prepared in other high-fat ways.
Bacon and other forms of cured pork are generally considered less healthy for cats. Cats shouldn’t consume cured pork because of the high levels of sodium, fats, and preservatives it typically contains.
When prepared correctly, pork can be a healthy addition to your cat’s diet and provide a welcome dose of variety. Caution should be exercised when feeding your cat raw pork because raw meat poses a slightly higher risk than cooked meat.
Avoid giving raw meat to young cats or cats with compromised immune systems, and consult your vet before making the transition. The risks to your cat can be reduced by selecting safe cuts of meat and adhering to safe food handling practices.