When it comes to our beloved cats, providing them with a healthy and balanced diet is crucial for their overall well-being.
Many cat owners are starting to switch their cats to a more natural diet. This would mean feeding a diet that is mainly animal protein.
Choosing the best meat for your cat can be tough. There’s a wide range to choose from and you need to make sure it’s nutritious and healthy.
If you are a new cat owner or looking to change up your cat’s current diet, this article will help you choose the right type of meat for your cat.
What Are The Best Meats For Cats?
The next few sections will cover the types of meat that you can and should be feeding your cat.
Here at Pets Beam, we are strong advocates of a raw diet for cats and the benefits that it beings.
It is very important to purchase human-grade meat for your cat. Not meat from animal carcasses or meat that has been unhygienically prepared.
The risk of contamination is very high if the meat hasn’t been properly prepared ad handled.
If you can’t eat the meat that you have bought for your cat, then you shouldn’t be feeding it as cat food.
Chicken is one ingredient that you will find in many cat food and is one type of meat that you can feed your cat on a regular basis.
It is dense in protein and widely available. It’s classified as ‘white meat’ and comes under the poultry category.
Benefits Of Chicken
- Affordable and widely available
- The lean healthy protein in poultry is an outstanding resource of amino acids
- Eating hen can assist to build stronger muscle mass as well as advertise much healthier bones
- Natural chicken stock/broth provides a significant source of gelatin and collagen
- Chicken meat supplies a suitable source of required nutrients
- An outstanding low-calorie and low-fat source of high-grade protein
Turkey is one meat that many cat owners will use as a substitute for chicken.
It’s also known as ‘white meat’ and is derived from the poultry family.
Some cats might actually prefer turkey to chicken as it has a slightly gamier smell than chicken. And the way to a cat’s stomach is through its nose.
One thing about Turkey is that it might be as widely available as compared to chicken unless it’s during Thanksgiving.
Benefits Of Turkey
- Turkey is an outstanding source of healthy protein
- Turkey meat is much lower in fat as well as high in protein
- Turkey is a great source of taurine which is an important part of your cat’s diet
Beef is the second most popular type of meat when it comes to the kind of meat that cats eat.
It is also widely found in wet canned food and is classified as red meat.
As with all red meats, it has a higher fat content than white meat so it should not form the main bulk of your cat’s food.
You can either rotate it with lower-fat meat like chicken or turkey or add some to your cat’s food.
Benefits Of Beef
- Beef is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C and also vitamin B
- Fantastic meat for taurine which cats need
- Bone broth includes amino acids that have anti-inflammatory properties
- Collagen and gelatin in bone broth help to strengthen bones and joints which is good for older cats
When I want to make something special for my cat, I will use beef to make some plain meatballs and just bake them in the oven. My cat just loves the meatball and the juices.
Is Beef Better For Cats Than Chicken?
Beef in general isn’t a better type of meat for cats due to the higher animal fat content that is found in red meat.
The good thing is that cats are able to better utilize and break down saturated food.
This helps to prevent them from getting health problems like high blood pressure and heart disease.
Chicken or poultry meat should still form a large portion of your cat’s diet.
I know many cat owners out there get squirmish when it comes to feeding their cat rabbit meat.
It’s not something one would consider part of a cat’s diet and the thought of feeding ‘bugs bunny’ to their cat is somewhat gross.
Rabbit meat is similar to chicken and turkey which is low in fat and high and protein.
One thing to note is that rabbit meat can be pricey as it’s considered ‘novel’ meat. If budget is an issue, then use it as an occasional treat.
Benefits Of Rabbit As A Raw Meat
- Good for cats with severe dietary allergies or sensitivities
- Low in fat and high in protein
- Contains the full range of amino acids that a cat requires
- Rich in vitamin B12 which is vital for a cat’s nervous system
It is important to note that rabbit meat contains a lot less taurine (both raw or cooked) than the other common meats that our cats eat.
If you do plan to feed your cat rabbit meat, it is highly recommended that you add some powdered taurine supplement to your cat’s food.
Duck is one meat that is starting to get popular with raw feeders and most cats like it.
It’s red meat like beef, making it rich in vitamins, minerals and taurine.
Like most red meat, it is also higher in fat content so make sure to give it sparingly to your cat.
Benefits Of Duck
- Good source of protein
- Contains important minerals and vitamins for cats
- Excellent source of iron for cats
Feeding your cat some duck meat can help add some variety to its diet.
Lamb is another red meat that cats eat. It is also higher in fat as compared to other white meats so feed your cat sparingly or as an occasional treat.
Make sure to trim off the excess fat before feeding your cat.
Benefits Of Lamb
- High in protein
- Contains important vitamins and minerals
- Great source of healthy fats like omega 3
How To Prepare Meat For Your Cat?
You need to ensure that your hands are clean and dry before preparing your cat’s food. It is very easy to contaminate the meat if your hands are dirty or damp.
My method of preparation is to portion out each serving into separate containers and store them in the freezer.
I will take out one serving a few hours before meal time and let it thaw in the fridge.
You can place the container in some water if you are in a rush to thaw it quicker.
How Long To Leave Out My Cat’s Food?
Knowing how long to leave out your cat’s food is very important. You do not want your cat to be eating food that isn’t fresh or has gone bad.
Raw food and canned food can comfortably be left out for 1-2 hours. Dry food or kibbles can last longer due to the lack of moisture in them.
What Types Of Meats Cats Should Not Eat?
Avoid feeding your cat meat that has been cured, smoked or preserved. Feeding your cat chorizo is a very bad idea.
These types of processed meats contain a lot of salt, spices and preservatives that can be toxic for your cat.
Is Fish Good For A Cat’s Diet?
Some fish in your cat’s diet is fine. But don’t just buy any type of fish and give it to your cat.
There are a few things that you need to be aware of when it comes to feeding marine life to your cat.
Raw fish contains an enzyme called Thiaminase that can hinder the absorption of thiamine or vitamin B.
A lack of this vitamin in cats can lead to neurological disorders over time.
The most effective way of eliminating this enzyme is with heat.
Some types of fish such as Tuna, Shark, Barramundi, etc are high in mercury which can cause mercury poisoning if eaten in sufficient amounts.
If your cat really likes fish, cook it first and feed it sparingly and stick to fishes such as Salmon, Sardine and Haddock which are low in mercury.
Is Pork Good As Raw Cat Food?
Pork, even though some might consider it ‘white meat’, is not used in commercial cat foods for a variety of reasons.
Higher Fat Content
It has a higher percentage of fat as compared to chicken or turkey.
And too much fat for cats isn’t a good thing. They should be eating leaner cuts of meat with the occasional fatty meat.
Risk Of Contamination
Pork has a higher risk of contamination which can make your cat ill. Cats can easily eat raw or spoiled meat as their bodies are suited for such a diet.
You don’t have to worry about such foods making your cat sick.
However, the contamination in pork might be too much for their digestive system to handle.
If you wish to incorporate some pork into your cat’s diet as a treat, then ensure it is thoroughly cooked before feeding your cat.
What Is My Cat’s Favorite Meat?
Based on my experience, cats tend to favor poultry meat better. This can range from chicken, turkey, cornish hen, etc.
I think this boils down to being the type of meat that is closest to the type of prey that a cat would catch and eat in the wild.
I highly doubt that our cats are strong enough to take down an entire cow or sheep by themselves.
Many cats love organ meat such as liver or kidney which are nutritious for our feline friends too.
But organ meat should only form 5-10% of your cat’s daily calories as they are high in cholesterol.