Can Cats Eat Pork? Is Pork Healthy or Even Safe for Cats?
Modern house cats spend 10-16 hours a day sleeping and with only a few minutes to an hour of running around before they lie down again and sleep.
With their sedentary lifestyle and the high-fat content in pork, it’s therefore clear why pork isn’t the primary ingredient of commercially available cat foods. Nevertheless, is it just fine to feed pork to our cats? Can cats eat pork?
Pork is one of the most versatile and tastiest meats; no wonder it’s included in a lot of recipes, and menus wherever we go. Humans love to eat pork.
And with the widespread presence of pork in human food, it’s just logical to stop and wonder if it’s safe to add this meat to our feline’s diet.
Or are they better off with other meat sources such as chicken, turkey, fish, and rabbit?
Can Cats Eat Pork?
Cats are obligate carnivores, which means that they get most of the nutrients that they need from proteins in meats. Hence, cats can eat pork.
And as cat owners, we also know that cats can be picky with their food, especially if they’ve been eating the same cat food every day for a while. That’s why feeding them with pork sometimes can also encourage them to eat.
Moreover, pork is not toxic or harmful to cats. However, it can’t be described either as a healthy meat option for our feline buddies.
That is why it’s not recommended to feed your cat pork regularly, and that’s also one of the reasons why pork is not a common ingredient in canned pet food or even kibbles.
Pork can also cause some health problems in cats, especially if it’s not cooked and if it’s infected with parasites. And if you are going to feed pork to your cats, make sure to skip the hams and bacons, as well as other salted and smoked meats.
The reasons are obvious – these pork meats are covered with smoke-flavoring chemicals, they have high sodium content, and they contain nitrates and other preservatives that can be harmful to cats.
Why Your Cat Should Only Eat Pork Occasionally
While cats can eat pork, it doesn’t mean that they should eat it as often as other meats. Health-wise, pork is definitely not on the priority list of meat options for cats. And aside from that, pork is also harder to digest for our feline companions compared with other meats.
If you sense that your cats are having a hard time digesting it, immediately stop feeding them pork. Cats with indigestion will show symptoms of an upset stomach which may manifest with a loss of appetite and trouble sleeping.
Also, cats that are struggling to digest pork may be lethargic and they may also regurgitate the meat. And if we are going to look into the nutritional content of pork, we all know that it is high in fat and sodium which is not a healthy combination.
The high percentage of animal fat in pork can cause weight gain, and eventually, obesity in cats. And it can block their arteries if consumed regularly, which can even be fatal.
Another problem with the high-fat content of pork is that it automatically means that there is a lesser protein content in the same serving size of pork than there is in other meats like chicken, for instance.
This is because the protein is replaced with pork fat, which is obviously less helpful in cats and can also cause more health problems.
With the sedentary lifestyle of cats, feeding them with high a fat diet regularly would cause health issues in the long run.
Even if your cats are healthy and active, you still would not want to compromise their health by feeding them an unhealthy diet that is filled mainly with pork meats.
If your cat is a picky eater, he may be attracted to the taste of pork. So, it may do your cat well if you give pork as treats occasionally. However, you should also know that the palatable flavor of pork can be attributed to its high sodium content.
When a cat consumes too much sodium, he may experience sodium poisoning or hypernatremia. This is a serious medical condition that requires professional medical attention.
And that’s not all – the high sodium content in pork may also cause dehydration in cats and it can also cause damage in their organs, especially with their kidneys (potentially leading to kidney failure).
If these health risks of feeding cats pork too often are still not enough, then, you can also add the fact that inappropriately cooked pork meat can also harbor bacteria, which can cause health problems in cats.
Moreover, feeding your feline buddies with raw pork, irrespective of its freshness, can lead to infection with parasites such as Hepatitis E, toxoplasmosis, and food poisoning from bacteria such as Salmonella and Campylobacter.
Finally, if it’s your first time feeding pork to your cats, you should also watch out for signs of an allergic reaction. Well, to be fair with all meat options, whenever you feed your cat a new diet, you should always observe for unusualities.
Signs of food allergy in cats include vomiting and diarrhea, difficulty breathing, coughing and sneezing, a breakout of hives, scratching, and flatulence.
Related article: Can Cats Eat Ham? Is It Toxic Or Safe For Your Kitty?
Health Benefits of Feeding Pork to Your Cat
While pork can bring several health risks for cats, it also has some health benefits. First, pork meat is rich in protein.
However, there are also leaner meat options that contain even higher protein. So, if that’s your primary purpose for feeding pork to your cats, then, go for leaner meats, instead.
Pork is also high in taurine, which is an essential amino acid that is critical for a cat’s normal vision and heart muscle function.
It is also vital for their healthier digestive system, and immune system, and it helps maintain normal pregnancy and fetal development.
Pork meat also contains water, which is good for hydration. And it is packed with B vitamins and minerals, such as B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B6 (pyridoxine), and B12 (cobalamin), phosphorus, niacin, selenium, potassium, and zinc.
Without a doubt, pork is also rich in good nutrition, which can be beneficial for cats. However, more superior and healthier meat options would still be chicken, fish, turkey, and even beef.
The health benefits of pork are also met by these healthier alternatives, and even by high-quality traditional cat foods that are commercially available in stores.
Related article: Which Foods Are Toxic for Cats
How to Safely Feed Pork to Your Cats?
Aside from only feeding your cats pork occasionally, you should also observe several precautions to ensure their health and safety while munching on these tasty treats.
Like what was mentioned earlier, it is very important to cook pork thoroughly before feeding it to your cat. Raw pork meat is a bacterial hazard, which can cause Salmonella and other infections from bacteria such as E. Coli.
When cats eat raw pork, they are also at risk of having trichinellosis, a disease caused by the trichinella spiralis parasite (aka nematode).
Nematodes live in uncooked pork, so when cats consume raw pork infested with these worms, nematodes can set up a home inside their body. From here, cysts can form and can eventually be fatal.
Trichinellosis can also be transmitted to other felines through the infected cat’s feces. Some cats are asymptomatic, while some show symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea, loss of appetite, muscle pain, and unkempt fur.
Moving on, before cooking the pork meat, you should also debone it first regardless of its cut or type. Like all meats, bones can get brittle during the cooking process. And this can endanger your cat from choking on these bones.
What Pork or Parts Can You Feed Your Cat?
Not all pork meats are created equal. As a cat parent, you should know which part or cut would be better for your cats to eat if you intend to feed them with pork.
Generally, you should stay away from processed pork meat, as well as roasted pork since these usually contain added salts and preservatives.
As a rule of thumb, always stay on the side of caution. And that entails feeding your cat with the leanest cuts that you can obtain from trusted meat suppliers.
Examples of lean pork cuts are loin chops, and pork tenderloin. On the other hand, you should avoid feeding your cats with fatter cuts such as bacon, pork belly, and pork shoulder chops.
What Are Healthier Alternatives to Pork?
If you can stay away from pork, then, do so as much as possible since nutrition-wise other meats can give your cats superior nutritional values. These healthier meat options include leaner meats like fish, chicken, turkey, or even beef.
Can You Give Your Kittens Pork?
Yes, you can. However, the same safety measures should be observed as in feeding pork to adult cats. Again, never feed kittens or cats with raw pork.
Below are recipes for your beloved feline that you may want to try out:
Pork & Chicken Liver Pate for Cats
- Meat grinder
- 1/4 lb Pork Liver raw
- 3-4 pcs Chicken Thighs cooked
- 1/4 lb Ground Pork or Chopped Pork Shoulder
- 3 tbsp Sweet Potato cooked and mashed
- 1/4 lb Salmon cooked
- 1 cup Chicken Bone Broth
- 1-2 tbsp Coconut Oil
- Grind the pork: Grind the pork through a meat grinder several times on a fine setting or purchase pork already ground.
- In a skillet add the coconut oil and brown the ground pork for about 5 minutes. Next add the pork liver to the skillet and continue to cook both until tender. About another 5 minutes.
- Let the meat cool a bit then add pork, cooked chicken pieces, mashed sweet potato, salmon and about a 1/4 cup of bone broth to your food processor. Start that baby up and puree until you get to your desired consistency, adding more one broths as you go, when needed.
Chunky Meat and Rice Cat Food
- food processor
- 1/2 lb Ground pork meat (chicken, beef, lamb or turkey are also fine)
- 1/4 cup Rice
- 1 Hard-boiled egg
- 4 tsp Olive oil
- 1 cup Chicken stock
- Mash the boiled egg
- Place all the ingredients into a saucepan and bring to the boil over a medium-low heat.
- When the stock is boiling, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes or until the stock reduces. The rice will expand and swell and absorb much of the liquid.
- Remove your homemade cat food mixture from the heat and allow it to cool completely.
- Blend the mixture in a food processor until all the ingredients are mashed together.
- Place into an air-tight container and store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Homemade Cat Food with Pork and Oatmeal
- 83 g Steam cooked / oven cooked pork avoid fat pork such as neck
- 50 g Steam cooked oatmeal no seasoning or salt
- 30 g Mashed potato no butter or salt
- 4 g Sesame oil
- A dash of supplement/vitamins of your choice optional
- Mix all these ingredients in a bowl thoroughly.
- And then serve them fresh to your cat.
- Left overs can be kept in an ziplock and keep it frozen for a week.
Is it OK for cats to eat pork?
Can cats eat pork? As an alternative to chicken, beef or lamb, cats can eat a small portion of pork or ham as long as it's cooked through and any bones are removed.
Why is pork not used in cat food?
As to why no pork, it is because waste from the pork butchery trade is used to make sausages or fed back to pigs (which are omnivorous) and thus is not available on the meat market. Cats love ham and it seems to do no harm in small quantities.
Can pork make cats sick?
Pork is found in many commercial cat foods. It is also a very common source of cat allergies. Food allergies are the third most common type of allergies in cats. Cats can also have food intolerance toward pork.
What happens if a cat eats pork?
Although pork is safe for cats to eat (non-toxic), the fatty, salty food does nothing for their figure or overall health. Cats sleep an average of 16-20 hours a day, leaving them little time to burn off the excess fat that is found in pork. This fat, if eaten regularly, can clog your pet's arteries over time.