I love my Spanish food especially when it comes to chorizo. You might be tempted to give some chorizo to your cat since it is meat.
But can you cat eat chorizo safely?
Feeding your cat cooked chorizo is not recommended due to its high salt and fat content. Chorizos are cured and processed meat which contain ingredients that can be harmful to cats. It is always safer to stick to meats that your cat can eat.
You know that the salt, fat, and spices in chorizo are harmful. But do you know the full extent of the health risks they pose to your cat?
Let’s find out.
What Is A Chorizo?
A chorizo is a highly seasoned meat sausage that is widely used in Spanish and Mexican cuisines.
There are also many variations of the chorizo which largely depends on the region where it is made.
The meat is smoked, left to cure and dry. Chorizos also contain spices, paprika and garlic.
Here are reasons why you should not be feeding your cat any chorizo as cat food.
Chorizo Contains Paprika
There is a lot of paprika that goes into the making of chorizos which explains its deep orangey-red color.
Paprika is a ground spice that is made from peppers and there are many varieties of it depending on the types of pepper used.
It can range from non-spicey to really ‘burn your mouth’ level of spiciness.
Cats should not eat eating anything that is spicey. They have a sense of smell that is way more sensitive than humans and will avoid anything with spice in it.
This is why some people sprinkle cayenne pepper in their gardens to prevent stray and feral cats from treating their property as a public toilet.
It acts as a good deterrent.
When cats eat cooked chorizo, the spice can cause irritation and damage to the scent receptors in their noses and upset their digestive system.
Do not feed your spicy snacks like Takis as well as the heat from the spice can irritate your cat’s mouth and digestive system.
Chorizo Is High In Salt
Chorizo is very high in sodium content as do most cured meats.
The curing process requires the use of a lot of salt to remove moisture and dry out the meat.
A 100g serving of chorizo contains 1,235mg of salt. That is a lot of sodium for humans let alone for a cat.
Salt isn’t harmful to cats and some amount of sodium in your cat’s diet is needed for normal bodily functions.
Cats in general do not need much sodium in their diet. If your cat is already on a good diet, that’s all the sodium it needs.
When cats eat chorizo, they are taking in too much salt than required.
As little 0.5g/kg of salt can start to cause health problems in your cat.
Any more than this can result in salt poisoning and cause problems like:
- Excess thirst and urination
- Loss of coordination
- Loss of appetite
Chorizo Is High In Fats
If you are a fan of chorizos like me, you should know that it is a fatty dish.
What makes chorizo so tasty is also what makes it high in fats.
The pork used in chorizo is often a fatty cut and additional fat is sometimes added during the processing.
100g of chorizo contains a whopping 25.1g of fat.
This is too much fat for your cat’s diet and even for humans.
While fats are an essential part of the diet for cats, it is important to moderate the intake.
A diet that is too rich in fats for cats can lead to health problems such as:
- Feline obesity
- Heart disease
- High Cholesterol
Fat and chonky cats appear cute but being overweight is definitely detrimental to their well-being.
Chorizo Contains Garlic And Onions
Garlic and onion are some of the ingredients found in chorizos and they are very toxic to cats.
Any plant from the Allium family is toxic to cats and dogs.
Garlic is found to be five times more toxic than onions for cats and dogs.
Most cats wouldn’t like the smell of garlic due to its pungent odor but curiosity sometimes gets the getter of them.
Garlic and onion toxicity in cats can lead to soft stools, stomach discomfort and facial irritation.
If the amount consumed is large or if your cat has an onion or garlic allergy, it can cause damage to the cat’s red blood cells.
Red blood cells help to transport oxygen throughout the body.
Lesser red blood cells in your cat’s body can lead to anemia, tiredness and in some cases death.
Garlic and onion poisoning might not show up right away and can take a few days for the symptoms to materialize.
If you suspect that your cat has eaten any garlic or onion, please get your cat to the vet right away.
Chorizos Contain Preservatives
It is common for chorizos to contain preservatives such as nitrites and nitrates.
These compounds help to prevent spoilage from bacteria, fungi and other pathogens.
While these preservatives are effective in maintaining the freshness of chorizo, they can be harmful to cats.
A study has shown that frequent consumption of nitrates and nitrites can increase the risk of getting cancer.
Symptoms of nitrate poisoning in cats include:
- Lack of coordination
- Difficulty breathing
- Rapid breathing
- Frequent urination
- Abdominal pain
What Should I Do If My Cat Ate Chorizo?
There have been a couple of heart stopping moments when I realized that my cat has eaten something he really shouldn’t have.
If you cat has has ingested some chorizo, stay calm and assess the situation.
Give your vet a quick call to check if there’s a need to bring your cat in right away.
Let them know how much chorizo your cat has eaten.
If there isn’t an urgent need, monitor your cat closely over the next 1-2 days for any signs of distress or illness.
Look our for the following signs:
- Loose stools
- Loss of appetite
Bring your cat to the vet for treatment if you start to notice the above symptoms in your cat.
What Can Cats Eat?
From what I’ve noticed, many cat owners out there aren’t giving the best diet possible for their cats.
Cats are not built like dogs and need a more specialized diet.
Cats are pure carnivores, which means they need to eat meat and lots of it.
Protein is the most important nutrient for cats compared to fats and carbohydrates.
In fact, there is no need to feed your cats any carbs for that matter as they do not have the required enzymes to break it down.
The most natural cat’s diet is the raw meat diet.
This can be easily prepared at home using different types of raw meat, raw organs and bones.
The next best alternative is good quality canned food but stay away from dry cat food and kibbles.
Dry food for cats lack the proper nutrients and can even harm your cat’s health in the long run.
What Meats Should Cats Not Eat?
As long as you stick to the common types of meat for cats, your cat will be fine.
Raw feeders might want to avoid feeding raw pork to your cat as the risk of contamination is higher compared to other meats such as chicken or beef.
Do not feed your cat meats that are cured, spiced, preserved, pickled, etc.
Humans foods aren’t always the best thing to be feeding your cat even as a treat.
Even something like chorizos or any deli meats might seem safe enough for cats to eat but it is the unknown ingredients that can cause bad side effects.
Foods that are has high salt content, high-fat content, preservatives, spices should not be given to your cat at all, even in small quantities.
You can never know how your cat will react when eating such foods.
Save your processed meats for human consumption instead.
Is Salami Ok For Cats?
Salami, similar to chorizo, is high in fat, sodium and contains harmful ingredients and preservatives. This makes salami unsafe and nutritionally poor for cats
Is Prosciutto OK For Cats?
Prosciutto is a type of deli meat made from a pig’s hind leg. It is cured and dried for an extended period which makes it high in salt which is harmful to cats. Some prosciutto variations include onion and garlic for flavoring, which are both toxic to cats.
Is It OK For Cats To Eat Sausages?
Sausages are not recommended for cats as they are highly processed and contain a range of ingredients that are not suitable for cats. This includes high levels of salt, fat, spices and sometimes garlic and onions.