As cat owners, we want our pets to have a varied and balanced diet. And as we all know, cats are obligate carnivores and must eat meat to stay healthy. Most commercial cat foods use chicken, turkey, or duck as the main ingredient, and contain all the protein your cat needs.
So additional meat in their diet doesn’t add much nutritional value, but it does make a tasty treat once in a while.
You’ve probably noticed that pork doesn’t feature very often on cat food labels and might be wondering if it’s safe for cats to eat. Cats can eat pork, but only in moderation as it does have a few risks, so let’s have a closer look and find out more before you offer your feline friend a meaty treat!
Pork is a meat product from pigs and is very high in protein. It contains varying levels of fat depending on the cut and is also rich in B vitamins and iron.
A 100 gram serving of pork contains:
Pork is high in protein and can form part of a healthy balanced diet. Protein is especially important for the maintenance and repair of muscle and tissue within the body. It helps to build healthy muscle, which can have benefits on physical function and performance.
Other benefits of pork come from taurine, creatine, and beta-alanine, which are important for muscle function, reducing fatigue, and improving physical performance.
Pork is packed full of B vitamins that are important for energy, metabolism, brain function, and DNA synthesis. It also contains iron, which is essential for carrying oxygen within red blood cells.
Benefits Of Pork For Cats
Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they need meat to stay healthy. It is the taurine content in meat that is especially important for cats; taurine is essential for maintaining healthy vision, digestion, heart muscle function, and immunity.
It is also important in maintaining normal pregnancies and in fetal development. Taurine is an essential amino acid (protein building block) that cats must obtain from food, as they cannot make it themselves. They need to eat lots of meat to obtain this vital nutrient, and a deficiency can be very dangerous.
Pork is also a good source of B vitamins and iron to help cats maintain healthy red blood cells, energy levels, and brain function.
How Much Pork Can A Cat Eat?
You should only feed pork to your cat in small portions as an occasional treat, and always remember that treats should only make up 10% of your cat’s daily food intake. A few small pieces of cooked pork chop are OK, but no more than this.
To safely feed your cat pork, it should be deboned, as bones can be a choking hazard. The pork should be thoroughly cooked with no flavorings or seasoning. Never feed your cat raw pork or any raw meat.
How Often Can A Cat Eat Pork?
Pork should not feature too often in your cat’s diet. Pork-flavored cat foods are OK, but cooked pork should only be fed around once a week or as an occasional treat.
Is Pork Used In Commercial Cat Food?
Pork is sometimes used as an ingredient in commercial cat foods, but it is not the most common meat to be used. Most cat foods use chicken, beef, duck, or fish as the meat source rather than pork as it is so high in fat and salt.
The Risks Of Eating Pork For Cats
Meat is an essential part of your cat’s diet, but pork is not the same as chicken or turkey, and should not be a cat’s main source of protein.
Pork has an extremely high-fat content compared to other meats. Excess fat contributes to weight gain and obesity, increasing your cat’s risk of developing diabetes or early-onset joint disease.
Having a higher fat content also means that there is actually less protein in the serving of pork as the protein has been replaced by fat. This means your cat isn’t going to get as much nutritional value from pork as it will from other meats.
Too much fat can also increase the risk of cats developing pancreatitis—an inflammation of the pancreas that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. This condition can be mild and transient or can make cats feel very unwell and mean they need to stay at the vet for treatment.
The other problem with pork is its high salt content. Cats are a bit more sensitive to salt than humans, so too much can cause dehydration, or in extreme cases, it can cause salt poisoning and make them very unwell.
Cats should never be fed raw pork as it can contain parasites. The roundworm Trichinella and the tapeworm Taenia are commonly found in raw pork, but are killed in the cooking process.
If consumed, these worms can reproduce in your cat’s digestive tract and cause them to have an upset tummy, weight loss, and an increased appetite.
Pork bones and ribs are dangerous for cats, as they can be a choking hazard or could get stuck in the digestive tract and cause an obstruction. Avoid other processed pork products, such as pork sausages. Pork rinds are basically just pork fat, so they are definitely not safe for cats.
Do Cats Like The Taste Of Pork?
Cats love the taste of any meat, including pork! They will probably prefer other meats, such as chicken or beef, but most cats will enjoy a small portion of pork or pork-flavored cat food if it’s offered to them.
Cats must eat meat to obtain the essential nutrient taurine, but pork should not be their main source of meat. Although it has a very high protein content, unfortunately, it contains too much fat and salt to be safe for cats to eat regularly.
If you want to treat your feline friend to a small portion of pork every now and then as a treat, it is safe as long as the pork is deboned and cooked thoroughly. Processed pork products are not safe for cats, and you are better to stick to chicken or turkey as your cat’s main source of protein.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it OK for cats to eat pork?
Yes, it is safe for cats to eat pork, but only in moderation as it has high fat and salt content.
Why is pork bad for cats?
Pork is bad for cats in large quantities, so it should not be their main source of meat. Pork has a very high fat content, which can contribute to weight gain and obesity, and increase the risk of diabetes. Pork also has a high salt content, which can cause dehydration.
Can cats get sick from eating pork?
Cats can get sick from eating raw pork as it could contain nasty parasites. They can also get sick from eating too much pork fat as it can trigger pancreatitis, a painful inflammatory condition.
What food is forbidden for cats?
Cats cannot eat onions, garlic, chocolate, grapes, raisins, or caffeine as they are highly toxic and can cause life-threatening illnesses.